November 13, 2010 By Neil Taylor

Fishing without polarized sunglasses is “Blind Casting.”

One of the most neglected choices in fishing equipment is sunglasses.  To be clear from the very start, because this is a common misconception: There are sunglasses and then there are “fishing sunglasses”.   The former will block out damaging UV rays and protect your eyes.   The latter will do that plus the polarization cuts out the glare from the surface of the water, allowing an angler to see what is beneath the surface.   Polarization also reduces overall eye fatigue.    If you don’t believe me, try your regular sunglasses then switch to a set of polarized sunglasses and note the difference in glare reduction, making your eyes strain much less.

Over time, I’ve tried just about every kind of sunglasses out there. I’ve used the really low-end variety.  I’ve tried the mid-grade polarized sunglasses and of course, I’ve had many selections of really good sunglasses.  Like anything else, “you get what you pay for”.     Losing a pair of fifteen-dollar sunglasses wasn’t a tragedy but those choices in eyewear simply didn’t perform well enough for “sight-fishing”.  Those who are truly serious about their fishing will see the benefits of a truly superior choice in eyewear.

Smith Optics is a leader in the eyewear industry.  Outdoors enthusiasts in non-fishing activities such as skiing, boating, diving and sledding are probably already aware of the quality of the products this company produces.   What has been “under the radar” is their achievement in their polarized technology and their product line of fishing sunglasses.

The Technology
“Polarchromic lenses respond to various light conditions, getting lighter or darker for best glare reduction.  A combination of techlite glass and carbonic lens materials leads to the glare reduction but also a realistic image and color of what you’re viewing.” (*From Smith Optics web site.)  For multiple situations in the past, different lenses were used.  For me, I preferred an amber lens on overcast days.   For bright days, the mirrored lenses helped my eyes be more relaxed and cut out a great deal more glare.  Smith’s polarchromic technology automatically adjusts to the conditions eliminating the need for multiple pairs of sunglasses.

For fishing, these sunglasses pass the test.    I put their sunglasses up against anyone else’s polarizing fishing sunglasses that are out there.  As a fishing guide, I have to be able to tell the clients exactly where to place a cast.   Their product makes that easy for me.   The ability to cut the glare to see down into the water means being able to see where the gamefish are and to “read” the water to see other bottom features that are critical to locating fish.   That information leads to more productivity catching the fish.

I have put two pair of their sunglasses through extremely heavy use and experienced no problems with deterioration of the product or breakage.   The lenses have undergone daily cleanings and have no scratches.  The frames have never broken or strayed from their original form in any way.   Smith’s is a company that stands behind their product. Their customer service is a department that, in the unusual chance you would have to use it, would be an expedient experience. What I can expand on is from my personal contact with the company.    From my initial discussion with Peter Crow at an industry trade show to my lengthy discussions with Peter Clifford (a longtime regional sales distributor of Smith products): These are people, and a company, devoted to the items they manufacture and sell.

Finding the right pair of Smith Optics:
Sunglasses are somewhat similar to footwear.   Different sizes and styles will work best for different people.   Smith has covered them all.  For a lot of the people who are searching for a dealer, find one that carries a lot of the Smith styles and get in and try on the different styles.    For most anglers, they are most interested in styles that hug tight to the face allowing little to no light (or wind) to enter around the edges of the frame.   The frame designs and their overall light weight translates to comfort over long times of use.

Review the styles available in the Smith Optics line:

Prescription polarized fishing sunglasses:

Styles to review in the Techlite fishing sunglasses category:
Backdrop –
And in the Carbonic category:

Step up your game out there: See the fish: Catch the fish!

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