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DkinvaSeptember 17th, 2015, 5:25 am
Posts: 9I realize a topic about sunglasses perhaps fits better in the gear area, but being a newbie I erred on the side of caution. So, polycarbonate or glass? Cheap, midrange, or expensive? Grey, blue, or, copper colored lenses? I understand the concept and importance of using polarized sunglasses while fishing, but what kind do I really need and how much should I spend is the dilemma. I can afford a $300 pair with glass lenses, but is there really that much difference between those and a $90 pair with plastic lenses? I plan to fish larger streams and rivers in the northeast during all four seasons.

WbranchSeptember 17th, 2015, 12:59 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2733
I buy my prescription sunglasses from a local Sam's Club for $100. I have read that the bronze color lens is best for fishing so that is what I buy. Why spend more for a pair of Maui Jims, Orvis, or some other brand as the quality of the lens is the same all you are paying for is someone's name.

I chose the polycarbonate lens material because it is lighter than glass and in more scratch resistant than just plain plastic. Also I believe it is shatterproof.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Kschaefer3September 17th, 2015, 2:44 pm
St. Paul, MN

Posts: 376
I recently bought a pair of Suncloud sunglasses. The pair I got is $60, and they are made by Smith Optics, if I am not mistaken. I think they are great and will almost certainly get another pair if something happens to my currents pair. I don't notice the difference in optical quality between them and the $200+ pair of Costas my friend wears.
DkinvaSeptember 17th, 2015, 6:43 pm
Posts: 9Well, thanks guys. Those look like pretty nice fish in your pictures and I'm hoping you were wearing reasonably priced glasses when you caught them :) Jokes aside, I appreciate your input. I've looked at the Costas and just have a hard time bringing myself to shell out that kind of money. I've also read that bronze is a good all around color for what I plan to fish. Good to hear polycarbonate doesn't take to scratches since every pair of decent glasses I get ends up with a scratch right in front of my eye.

WbranchSeptember 17th, 2015, 9:13 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2733
Good to hear polycarbonate doesn't take to scratches

Be careful - they are just more scratch resistant than plain plastic but likely far less resistant to scratches than glass lens. If you are careless about where you store your sunglasses and how you clean them then no matter what material you choose they will get scratched. Before cleaning mine I try always to rinse them under a faucet, or dip them into the river, to remove the dust and grit. Then dry them with a soft cloth.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
CatskilljonSeptember 17th, 2015, 10:51 pm
Upstate NY

Posts: 160
I respectfully disagree in regards to the cheap verses expensive theory. I am fairly frugal with stuff like eyewear, wading boots, waders because to me they are like consumables. The boots and waders wear out, and the glasses...I loose them.

I did some research online on "good" inexpensive sunglasses, and finally settled on a pair that was tested against 3 or 4 other brands in the general price range. Having never worn glasses before for fishing, I was perfectly happy with them, though I still take them off constantly when fishing shaded areas.

Then a customer at work gave me a pair of big money glasses, he said he had 3 pairs of them. I put those on and it was like I had super hero vision. The way they remove glare and make everything so was amazing.

I still would never buy a $300.00 pair of glasses, but I firmly believe there is more to it than just the name on the product. CJ
WbranchSeptember 18th, 2015, 1:51 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2733
I neglected to mention my sunglasses are poloroids and ground to my distance prescription.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
DkinvaSeptember 18th, 2015, 6:33 pm
Posts: 9Catskill thanks for your post as it gives pause for thought. I have seen noticeable difference between $15 pairs. It sounds like the glass lens versions are at least worth investigating.

So now on to color. I've read that for stream and river fishing copper or bronze is a good all around choice, especially during lower light like overcast or early morning/late afternoon.

PlecopteraSeptember 30th, 2015, 10:12 pm
Parker, Colorado

Posts: 3
I just bought a pair of prescription sunglasses from Costco. Ground to my distance vision, copper tint, photo-chromic, polarized, high-index glass, coated with scratch resistant, and anti-scatter for driving. $150. They are amazing. I've fished with a pair of Serengetti's from Costco for the last couple of years, but I got frustrated with trying to work with contacts and reading glasses. I wear mine on a croakie, and just let them hang when I'm working close. I now can see perfectly at distance and close in, the transition from dark tint to light as I move from sun to shadow is less than two minutes, the polarization is nearly perfect, and the copper tint filters out amazing amounts of red silt. Tailor made, for pretty close to a commodity price. Custom made sports glasses have been hideously expensive in the past. Costco can make you a custom pair for less than half of the usual price. I decided to do it all, and bought their high-end glass lense, going plastic would probably knock off +$20. I literally never believed my vision could be this good.
BlindreefOctober 13th, 2015, 12:41 am

Posts: 2
Stumbled upon this thread while searching for tips on fly fishing in New Mexico and thought I might have some valid input, which is really very unusual! I've been in the optical industry for the better part of a decade now. I have no intention of selling anybody here anything so please view this as a semi-enlightened opinion only. Costa has access to a pretty nice lens, just as Oakley and Ray-Ban do. The expense for sunglasses is a mixture of lens quality, frame quality, marketing, and brand licensing. If I were to walk into a store today to pick up some non-prescription sun glasses, I'd be getting 'Smith Optics' suns for my self. IMO it's the best blend of a quality lens and frame without the added cost of RD and brand license. (plus the frames hold up really well) As for lens materials, glass has the best optics, followed by good old plastic. Poly-carbonate is terrible (lowest in the industry terrible) for optics and it scratches incredibly easy. It is great for impact resistance but there are way better impact resistance lenses on the market. It's just so stinking cheap to manufacture that it gets marketed a lot as a premium material for lenses. The tint you choose really depends on the predominant lighting situation. Semi cloudy to average conditions favor a brown-rose tint. Heavy light can be managed best by gray tints. Always use polarized, but there is a significant difference between low end and mid/high end polarized lenses. I take two pair of (prescription lens) sun glasses when I go out. One is a polarized Digital single vision lens with a backside Anti-glare coat in good old plastic, tinted gray. The other is an "ambermatic" polarized single vision lens in glass; no coatings. The ambermatic is amazing, but if you are in direct sunlight for more than a few minutes, you are going to want the gray tint, and the anti glare / polarized combination does make you feel like a super hero! It lets me look into the water and realize I've whipped my line out with a terrible presentation and spooked the fish :/
MartinlfOctober 13th, 2015, 9:55 pm
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3233
Thanks for this information!
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
DkinvaOctober 14th, 2015, 11:09 am
Posts: 9Thanks Blindreef. Good to know and only regret is hearing about Smith optics. I put a set of Costas on my Christmas list and the wife has had it long enough to buy the Ones I picked out. Bronze colored glass lenses after much research and the opinions here. Now I'm wondering if she will maybe spring for a new set of waders :)
BlindreefOctober 14th, 2015, 2:51 pm

Posts: 2
Hehe, good to hear! And don't "regret" it. Those Costas are going to be a great pair of fishing glasses. Can't remember which ones come with a temple strap, but if they don't have one, it's definately worth the $10 investment. Academys Sports is the place to find them, at least around here.
DkinvaOctober 14th, 2015, 9:45 pm
Posts: 9Ah yes. A strap does sound like a wonderful idea. I move glasses a lot when I fish as I often need magnifiers. A hat just doesn't seem like a safe place to perch anything so expensive.
DzumwaltMay 25th, 2016, 10:42 am

Posts: 4
These are the ones that I use.

I don't like to spend a lot on something that I could possibly lose and end up spending my fishing time worry about losing them.


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