Wearing sunglasses is important, by now we should all know that. While as a kid growing up, I thought wearing sunglasses was more about fashion than being smart. Nowadays, I don’t go anywhere without them. While I’m writing this about the best polarized sunglasses for fishing, this can also translate to other outdoor sports as well. Having a solid pair is also nice for driving and just being outside period. I spend countless hours relaxing while trolling for walleyes, giving me a permanent coon-eye look…whatever, I just roll with it.
People are so hung up on brands these days, it’s hard to know which sunglasses are really the “best”. Try to think outside the brands and look more for UV protection and polarization if you’re on the water a lot. Every pair I’m reviewing has those 2 things in common.
What Makes a Good Pair of Fishing Sunglasses?
A good pair of sunglasses should not only fit well but should have the optimal amount of protection for your eyes as well. The 2 things you’ll read about a lot are UV protection and whether or not the sunglasses are polarized.
Having solid ultraviolet ( UV ) Protection in your sunglasses is just so important. The sun causes UV radiation that can cause serious damage to your eyes. It can particularly cause damage to the eyelids, cornea, and lens on top of other things. I asked an old friend, Dan Levin, a specialist in Optometry & Ophthalmology, about the importance of protecting UV rays.
UV protection is an important issue…UV light that gets to the back of the eye, the macula, is thought to be one of the factors in early macular degeneration. This is a disease that can rob you of your central vision.
So now we know it’s importance, the following should be present in EVERY pair of fishing sunglasses:
- Sunglasses should block 99 or 100% of UVA & UVB rays
- At a minimum, should screen out 75% of all visible light
- Sunglass lenses should be literally “perfect” in terms of being free from imperfections
- The lens should be wide to protect all angles coming at your
The most common misconception is that certain color lenses make a difference, but that’s false. The color in itself has nothing to do in its ability to block UV rays.
I simply cannot step into my boat without a good pair of polarized sunglasses. I can’t stand glare, and squinting all day can give me a headache. When I asked Dan Levin about polarization, this is what he stated.
Polarization in sunglasses is necessary when on snow or water. It cuts all the glare in one orientation. That greatly reduces glare and thus being able to see more bumps when skiing or snowmobiling or seeing under the water. If you hold two polarized sunglasses lenses perpendicular to each other, you will see nothing because that cuts out virtually all light.
This tip about checking polarization in sunglasses holds absolutely true. I tried this test while at a sporting goods store and sure enough, you could easily tell the difference. What’s even more disturbing is that some sunglasses claim to be polarized, when really, they’re not.
What is the Best Color Lens for Fishing?
The colors of a lens are more about performance than anything. Everyone sees colors a bit differently. Remember the stuff on the internet where people would argue about what the color of a dress is? Exactly.
Dark lenses tend to work better in medium to very bright days. Not only will they work a bit better on cutting glare, but they will also reduce eyestrain.
Light colored lenses will excel in darker to medium conditions, as they tend to make everything a bit brighter. This will also help cut distortion and improve visibility.
What are the best polarized sunglasses for fishing for me? Well, I always tend to use amber lenses. The biggest reason is I can spot sandbars when river fishing much easier when driving around. When it comes to spotting any signs of danger, this is why I choose Amber lenses. This is totally a personal preference, however, as you may find another lens that works better for you.
Sight Fishing Sunglasses
As stated earlier, the fact that everyone sees colors differently makes it very difficult when explaining what is the best polarized sunglasses for sight fishing. Some of the most knowledgeable guys in the industry are saltwater fishing guides in the flats.
For example, I tried my hand at sight fishing for Snook down in Cancun, Mexico. My guide that day was wearing gray sunglasses, as he claimed it helped cut the backdrop of the sand making spotting fish easier. He was seeing fish when I was struggling, simply because he was better prepared for the situation.
So this leads into the meat and potatoes, actually choosing the best fishing sunglasses on the market today.
Best Fishing Sunglasses under $50
The biggest question is can you get the same UV protection and polarization out of a cheaper pair of sunglasses? After all, you need to spend hundreds on a quality pair of performance and protection right? I have found a lot of options that not only have solid reviews but refund policies worth the risk. I will share what I feel are the best sunglasses under $50. Enjoy. 🙂
RIVBOS Polarized Sunglasses
I know what you’re thinking, Rivwho? But seriously, this is a newer brand but it’s hard to find bad reviews on them. Let’s get into the important stuff first.
- They claim to offer 100% UVA & UVB protection. This filters all sunlight of all UVA, UVB and UVC rays.
- LIFETIME warranty on the frame & lenses. Solid.
- These polarized sunglasses have a variety of lens colors to choose from for fishing. And yes, they have amber for those like me.
They come with a case, cloth, etc. but at the end of the day, they’re a solid pair of sunglasses for the money. I personally like this style myself over many others.
Fishoholic Polarized Fishing Sunglasses
These are another pair of fairly unknown sunglasses. They are newer to the market but have the right price point for its features.
- UV400 – 100% protection from UV rays.
- Polarized with 4 color options
- Good 30-day money back guarantee.
Like the RIVBOS sunglasses, it comes with a case and some cleaning accessories. It’s another solid pair of polarized sunglasses for fishing at the right price.
Strike King Polarized Sunglasses
I can remember when Strike King first started making sunglasses. I think the first pair I saw was at Walmart and later a buddy had them. While the originals weren’t the most stylish sunglasses you’ve ever seen, they weren’t bad as a polarized pair. Fast forward to today and Strike King has a wide line of fishing sunglasses. Out of all of them, my favorite model is the Okeechobee sunglasses. While it doesn’t come with a case unless you pay for it (and without accessories), it’s still a really solid pair of polarized sunglasses for fishing.
- Like the others, it offers 100% UV protection
- They claim they have “better technology” to their polarization (whatever 11 layers mean), but they are polarized!
- A wide variety of frame and lens colors
- More trusted name in fishing sunglasses
There are a lot of models and styles in the same price range that is offered by Strike King. They’re worth a look.
Best Fishing Sunglasses under $100
When you spend a bit more you’re essentially paying for the brand in a lot of cases. Some guys care of that, others don’t…too each their own. But when you get more trusted brands you know you’re getting quality. While I keep stressing protection, you’ll also want a frame that’ll stand the test of time (a.k.a. not cheap). So with that being said, here are some great options for polarized sunglasses for fishing under $100.
Under Armour Igniter Sunglasses
So what doesn’t Under Armour make these days? All joking aside, they now make a serious pair of polarized sunglasses that are great for fishing. The first thing I notice is the wide frames, which again, are important for protection. The only downside is they only have 3 lens color options currently, but I expect that to expand in the near future. Here are the consistently important features.
- 100% UV Protection
- Polarized polycarbonate lens
- Solid frame and a trusted name
- The reviews are SOLID
So if you’re looking for a “designer” pair of polarized fishing sunglasses…you’ve now got the Under Armour option.
Wiley X Fishing Polarized Sunglasses
I really like this pair, a lot. It feels a bit cheap but that’s mostly because they’re light. Wiley X has been putting out some sweet sunglasses in recent years, and this shatterproof pair has everything the others have as well. They do block 100% of UV rays like the rest, and it’s more trusted as a brand name in fishing. Just like the others I’ve chosen, which generally have decent or better reviews; this pair is no different. These polarized sunglasses are great for fishing, and I have a few buddies who wear them all the time. The P-17 model I chose is just one of the many models they offer. But let’s be honest, who doesn’t have a deep line nowadays?
Oakley Valve Polarized Fishing Sunglasses
Okay, what can I say about Oakley sunglasses that haven’t already been said? I bought my first pair of Oakleys at the age of 16 (old school Frogskins). Fast forward to today and they’re still a household name, and for good reason. Oakley puts out some of the best polarized sunglasses PERIOD…and to get a solid pair under $100 isn’t a bad deal.
- 100% UV Protection
- MADE IN THE USA
- Lenses are prescription ready, just bring them in when you get them
- Solid frames as always by Oakley
Normally I would throw pretty much any pair of Oakley polarized sunglasses in the mix but I just can’t stress a good price point on a good pair.
WHAT DO I WEAR???
Well, I honestly feel I could wear any one of the pairs listed…assuming they fit well. Historically, I hated spending a lot of money on a good pair of fishing sunglasses simply because I either:
- Lose them
- Break them
- Drop them down an ice hole
- Did I say lose them???
But in all seriousness, I spent some money on my personal everyday pair…and I chose Costas. In particular, I have the Costa Corbina pair (with plastic Amber lens). It had all the protection and performance I needed, plus they just fit well. The frame is solid and I’ve had them for years. ANYONE that knows me knows I’m hard on my stuff. While it’s a curse, I also make for a heck of a reviewer for that reason.
So basically, if you’re not afraid to spend a little coin I would go with Costas. That’s MY personal preference. But whatever you choose, just take what you know and always play it safe.