10 Best Polarized Sunglasses for Sight Fishing in 2020

We went out and tested different polarized sunglasses for sight fishing. We then categorized them to help you choose the best for your needs. Here is a roundup of some of the best polarized sunglasses for fishing.

Best Overall
Costa Del Mar Blackfin
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Best value
Oakley OO9096
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Best Premium
Costa Del Mar Rincon
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Dale Shetler
By Dale Shetler
Updated September 4, 2020
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Introduction

Not shockingly, you’ll need to be able to see when you’re sight fishing. Whether you’re on a tiny lake or the open ocean, the fish are under the water and you want to see their movements. Glare, which happens when light hits the water and shines in your eyes, makes this challenging. Polarized sunglasses filter out this glare, allowing you to spot your prey. Everyone who goes sight fishing considers shades a must-have piece of equipment.

You can know everything there is to know about fish, but if you can’t see them, your trip will be very frustrating. In this guide, we’ll present ten of the best polarized fishing sunglasses, as well as how polarization works, what lens colors work best, and buying considerations.

Top 10 Best Polarized Sunglasses For Sight Fishing

1. Costa Del Mar Men’s Blackfin 580P 

Best Overall
Costa Del Mar Men's Blackfin 580p Round Sunglasses

We picked this pair as the best sunglasses for fishing because they’re lightweight and comfortable, offer great protection, and come in many lens colors. Costa says these sunglasses are designed for anglers, so these make great bass fishing sunglasses or shades for saltwater sight fishing. The 580P refers to the polarization technology and the material. 580 lenses are designed to reduce yellow light, so you can see more reds, blues, and greens. UV protection is 100%, which is ideal for sight fishing and eye protection.

The “P” stands for polycarbonate. This lens material is lightweight but very durable and resistant to impact. These lenses are also scratch-resistant and high clarity. For comfort, there’s a Hydrolite co-injected lining in the nylon frame. If something happens to your lenses, Costa offers a limited lifetime warranty. Fit options are Narrow, Regular, and Wide. According to Costa, most people choose Regular. Colors include blue mirror, silver, copper, yellow, gray, and more.

2. Oakley Men’s Oo9096 Fuel Cell Rectangular Sunglasses 

Best budget
Oakley Men’s Oo9096 Fuel Cell Rectangular Sunglasses

These shades offer great value to anyone interested in sight fishing. They have comfortable injection molded O-Matter frames made from polycarbonate. This material is also very durable while maintaining a lightweight quality. The flexibility means the shades hold up over time. This is ideal if you go fishing a lot and wear your sunglasses often. The other cool design feature is the wraparound style and extended lens width. This provides great eye coverage

The lenses, which are Oakley Plutonite lenses, filter out 100% of UV light, including UVA, UVB, UVC, and blue light up to 400mm. You can be sure your eyes are protected. For amazing clarity, you can thank the patented High Definitions Optics (HDO). When buying these, be sure to get a polarized lens option. They are also available with Oakley Authentic prescription lenses, though the price will go up. Color options include different shades of gray, rose, blue, and a yellow-red called “ruby.”

3. Costa Del Mar Men’s Rincon 

Best premium
Costa Del Mar Men's Rincon Polarized Rectangular Sunglasses

These premium shades aren’t cheap, but they have the features to support the price. They’re made from castor plant bio-based resin and lightwave glass. Glass is a bit heavier than polycarbonate, but offers the best clarity. The glass in these shades is also 20% thinner and 22% lighter than the average polarized glass. The lenses are scratch-resistant, too. For fit, these are made for people with larger heads, so you don’t need to worry about tightness. The Rincon has spring hinges.

For sight fishing, copper is a good lens color. You have six other options, including a blue mirror, which is great for fishing the open ocean. On the Costa website, you can also mix and match frame and lens colors. The lenses are a rectangular shape, offering a distinct West Coast look that lives up to the Rincon name. Rincon, which means "corner," is a California point break.

4. Smith Caper Chromapop

Smith Caper Chromapop Polarized Sunglasses

With a wide range of frame and lens colors, these sunglasses from Smith Optics are a good choice for women who like classic, simple shades. The Chromapops are made from a special Evolve material blend, which uses 53% bio-based material in the injected-polymer. The Megol nose pads are designed for comfort and stability, so they aren’t slipping off your face. The auto-lock hinges are integrated, so they look seamless.

What about the lenses? They provide 100% UV protection as well as polarization. The ChromaPop lenses are special, filtering two wavelengths of light that affect how you see color. With this technology, you get better definition, clarity, and natural color. This is perfect for sight fishing. The lenses also utilize Tapered Lens Technology, which straightens out light rays, preventing eye fatigue. For cleaning, the water and oil proof coating make it easy to avoid grime. There’s also an anti-reflective coating on the backside of the lens.

5. Ray-Ban Junior New Wayfarer

Ray-Ban Rj9052s New Wayfarer Kids Sunglasses

As part of the Junior Collection, these shades are designed specifically for young people. They match the appearance of the popular New Wayfarer Classic, but they’re kid-sized. Kids will love how the slightly-square shape looks. The shades are available in a size for kids 8-12 and another size for 12-15. The sunglasses are comfortable, offer 100% UV protection, and are under $100.

Ray-Ban polarized lenses have been around for a long time, so you can be confident they’re good. They block more than 99% of reflected light. Visual clarity and color contrast are increased, which is a must for sight fishing. There’s a wide variety of lenses including classic lenses, mirror lenses, and gradient. There are just as many colors, too, so consider fishing conditions. There are solid and transparent frame colors available as well, like violet, pink, blue, and so on.

6. Strike King Polarized Okeechobee

Strike King Polarized Okeechobee Sunglasses

If you’re on a tight budget or don’t go fishing enough to justify a pricier buy, consider these fishing sunglasses under $50. The Strike King Polarized Okeechobee boasts 11 layers of polarized lens technology. There’s also a bi-gradient mirror treatment on the lens, which provides added protection from glare. Some cheap sunglasses don’t have much UV protection, but these have 100% UVA and UVB protection. The hydrophobic coating helps prevent buildup of dust, water, and oil.

The lens colors are scientifically-engineered so you can clearly see fish beneath the water’s surface. The anti-reflective coating also gives you a clearer view. Color choices include amber, gray, and amber and gray bases with white-blue mirroring on top. There are a few frame color options, too. If you’re looking for cheap polarized sunglasses, these still offer all the features you need to protect your eyes and see well.

7. Oakley Men's Sliver XL Aero Grid Sunglasses

Oakley Men's Sliver XL Aero Grid Sunglasses

The Silver sunglasses from Oakley, a well-known name in the sunglasses game, come in both polarized and Iridium lens options. What’s Iridium? Unique to Oakley, Iridium is a tint and molecular anti-glare coating applied to lenses. The tint comes in a variety of colors, so you chose based on the environment you’re in. Oakley recommends 24K, a yellowish tint on a brown base, for fishing. You can get Iridium in polarized or non-polarized options, so make sure you're getting the polarized version.

Durable, lightweight, and resistant to impact, the O-matter material frames are sturdy and comfortable. The XL size is great for those with larger heads. Thanks to the 6 base lens curvature, you’ll also get better peripheral vision. The Prizm lenses enhance color, detail, and contrast, which are all important in sight fishing. UV protection is 100%. If you wear prescription glasses, Oakley will help you out.

8. Native Eyewear Eddyline

Native Eyewear Eddyline Sunglasses

There’s a lot to love about these sunglasses. The first thing we want to talk about is the feature that makes these the most versatile: they have interchangeable lenses. This technology lets you change your lenses depending on the light conditions, so you don’t need to carry around multiple pairs of shades. Colors include brown, green, silver, and gray. You will have to buy any additional lenses separately. All lenses for these sunglasses are N3 Polarized, which means they block 40% of infrared light and filter blue light. They also have 100% UV protection.

Built to last, these sunglasses frames are made from lightweight thermoplastic. They keep their flexibility even in hot temperatures. The lenses themselves are impact-resistant with a scratch-resistant coating. The hydrophobic coating also helps repel sweat, water, oil, and more. For comfort, Native uses Cushinol, a blend that creates a nonslip grip on the nose pads, arms, and temple tips.

9. Smith Survey

Smith Survey Sunglasses

These unisex sunglasses from Smith Optics are comfortable and designed for outdoor activities like sight fishing. The lenses are impact, water, and oil resistant. That makes them durable and easy to clean. With the polarization and 100% UV protection, you don’t have to worry about glare or harmful light rays. Because the lenses are a little bit taller and the temples are thicker, you’re given added protection against the sun. The glasses also deal with sidelight reflections thanks to the anti-reflective coating on the backside of the lenses.

For comfort, there’s Hydrophilic Megol on the temples and nosepads. These provide grip and security. When you sweat, the shades actually grip more. You can wear these all day with no problems. The special Evolve frame material uses 53% of a bio-based material. The lenses are polycarbonate. If you need prescription sunglasses, the Smith Survey is prescription compatible, so let them know if that’s something you want. You have three color options: gray, brown, and blue mirror. For frames, there’s black, matte black, or tortoise.

10. Under Armour Assist Sunglasses (Square)

Under Armour Assist Sunglasses Square

Under Armour makes lots of sports gear, so it makes sense they have sunglasses. The polarized lenses (ArmourSight) provide great clarity and impact resistance. You’ll be protected from bright glare bouncing off water without losing color. The lenses also have 100% UV protection. On the water, you might get sprayed a lot, so you’ll appreciate the hydrophobic/oleophobic coating on the lens. It repels water, dirt, sweat, and oil.

For comfort and durability, these sunglasses have an ArmourFushion frame. Made from titanium Grilamid, these are built for strength, but they’re still lightweight. The cam-lock hinges don’t have screws, so they’re comfortable and secure. You can wear them all day. For the lenses, there’s a gray base with different mirror options in blue, orange, green, and more.

How do polarized sunglasses work?

To protect your eyes and get the best visibility, polarized lenses are a must-have. How does polarization work? In the past, when sunglasses mostly used glass, a polarizing film was stuck between two glass sheets. These are on the heavy side, however, so the glass is less popular these days. For polycarbonate lenses, the polarized film is applied to the front of the lens, then covered with a scratch-resistant coating. The polarized film is put on in a vertical pattern. This pattern reorganizes the light that hits the lens.

Why does it need to be vertical? Glare occurs when waves of light bounce off surfaces like a lake, ocean, stream, and so on. The surface is horizontal, so the light reflects horizontally, as well. A French physicist from 1808 was the one to discover this. It took well over 100 years for someone to invent polarization. We can thank Edwin H. Land for that. The vertical pattern of polarized sunglasses blocks glare’s horizontal light!

What lens color is best for fishing?

There are tons of sunglasses lens color options out there. Any polarized lens will most likely work for fishing, but some are better than others. Let’s take a look at two of our favorite colors: copper and blue mirror. Copper lenses (also called amber or brown) block out blue light. This makes it easier to see color contrasts, which is ideal for sight fishing.

You’ll see fish moving underneath the water. Copper lenses also improve your depth perception and give clarity in low-light fishing conditions. Many people like to fish when it’s overcast, but darker lens colors (like gray) can make it harder to see. Copper is lighter, so it works on cloudy days. It also works for sight fishing on bright days. Yellow and gold lenses have similar benefits.

For especially bright and sunny days, especially if you’re saltwater fishing on open water, blue mirror lenses are a great option. Deep-sea fishing sunglasses need to block glare really well because you’re surrounded by water. That’s a lot of surface area for glare to bounce off of. Blue mirror lenses provide superior eye protection. They’re very popular with anglers. Even if you aren’t sight fishing, blue mirrors are great for bright days at the beach or boating.

best polarized lens color for fishing infographic

What are the benefits?

Why should you bother learning about the best polarized sunglasses for sight fishing? What are the benefits? There are many. First, polarized sunglasses help you see better. When you’re sight fishing, whether you catch anything depends on how your ability to make out shapes beneath the water’s surface. With bright glare bouncing off, this is very difficult without shades. You’ll be distracted and annoyed.

Besides reducing glare, polarized lenses also enhance an image’s sharpness and clarity by offering better depth perception and color contrast. The lenses also address reflections from clouds, so the water has a deeper contrast and appears clearer. You won’t have supervision, but the lenses will make it easier to sight fish. Good sunglasses = a great fishing day.

Polarized lenses also protect the health of your eyes. Your eyes are very sensitive. If you’re squinting in the bright sun all day long, there are health consequences. Headaches and eye strain are common. Some people get really bad headaches because they are light sensitive. Exposure to powerful UV rays also leads to cataracts, macular degeneration, and more. Water can reflect as much as 85% of UV rays, so even if you aren’t looking up into the sun, you’re being exposed. Be sure your polarized lenses offer good UV protection, too! Lenses can also protect you from lures and lines.

Best Polarized Sunglasses for Sight Fishing 1

Things to Consider When Buying Polarized sunglasses

We listed ten options for fishing sunglasses, but if you want to keep looking, here are the buying considerations to keep in mind:

Polarization quality

You know that you should get lenses with polarization, but not all lenses are created equal. Cheap polarized sunglasses don’t offer as much protection, but they’re better than nothing. These cheap ones may use just a thin laminate on one side of the lens. Over time, this coating comes off. The more expensive, higher-quality lenses have higher-quality polarization. It's better protected from scratching. The thicker the film, the more durable the sunglasses.

Not sure if your sunglasses are actually polarized? Many will come with a test tag, so manufacturers can prove to consumers that the sunglasses are polarized. Look at the test tag through the lenses. Rotate the lenses 90-degrees. There should be a noticeable darkening. For most brands, you can assume they’re telling the truth when they say their lenses are polarized.

UV protection

You want sunglasses that protect your eyes from UV rays. While any polarized sunglasses will deflect some rays, polarization itself doesn’t shield you. Most decent polarized sunglasses will also have UV protection, but you should double-check. Very cheap ones may not have this feature. For your safety, look for lenses that have 100% protection against UV rays.

Lens color

We talked about lens color earlier, but those aren’t your only options. You might want another color if you plan on using your sunglasses during other activities. Gray is considered a good “general use” color. Because it’s darker, it reduces light more than other tints. It doesn’t affect the way your eyes see color. The downside of that is they don’t offer much contrast.

Green lenses are good for fog or low light conditions. Like gray, green doesn’t change how you see color, so there’s less contrast. Because of the lighter color, they also don’t block as much light. Yellow lenses are great for overcast days, as well, because they’re even lighter than green. They are most popular among people suffering from eye strain due to long hours in front of a computer screen. You can even find lenses with multiple colors. This is often achieved by adding a mirror finish. For sight fishing, a mirrored lens with a copper base would work well.

Durability and fit

Unless you’re getting the cheapest shades possible, most sunglasses will be fairly durable. Look for keywords like “impact-resistant” and “anti-scratch” if you anticipate dropping your sunglasses. If the sunglasses don’t come with a case, be sure to get one.

Consider getting a lanyard as well. As for fit, you can measure your face with a line ruler. Using the millimeter side, hold it in front of your face where your temple is, then measure across to the other temple. Sunglasses should be snug, but not tight. If you get marks on your face after wearing them for a few hours or they pinch your nose, they’re too tight.

Price

Price is the last - but not least - buying consideration. There are some pretty pricey sunglasses out there and if you have the money and want the best, it’s probably worth it. Sunglasses protect your eye health; they’re not just a fashion accessory. They also help your fishing game. You can find many affordable fishing sunglasses with all the necessary features. If you have less than $100 to spend, you can definitely find polarized sunglasses that do a good job.

Conclusion

man wearing polarized sunglasses for fishing

Sunglasses are essentially a medical device. When you’re going out for a day of fishing, you would wear sunscreen to protect your skin, right? (If you don’t, please do). You also need to protect your eyes, which are even more sensitive than your skin. Polarized sunglasses with UV protection (most of them have this feature) keep your eyes healthy and make it easier to see fish beneath the water. Glare can ruin any fishing day, while a good pair of sunglasses can make it great.

We went through ten of the best polarized sight fishing sunglasses in this guide, which include a pick for best overall, best premium, two budget picks, and more. Fishing sunglasses brands included Costa Del Mar, Oakley, Strike King, Native Eyewear, and more. Not sure what features to consider when you’re shopping for shades? We recommend looking at things like the quality of the polarization, UV protection, lens color, durability, and price. If you love sight fishing, sunglasses are one of the best pieces of gear you can get!

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