By Louie Stout
Every serious angler knows the importance of sunglasses. The lenses not only protect your eyes, but allow you to see beneath the surface of the water.
But not all sunglasses offer the same level of protection - or the quality of vision - you need. They may look cool and inexpensive, but are you getting the benefits you need?
Clear H2o Tackle Shop owner Darrin Schaap knows this all too well. When he’s not fishing for bass and bluegills on Michiana lakes, he’s on Lake Michigan trolling for trout and salmon or in Florida chasing saltwater fish.
“Quality sunglasses are more expensive but if you spend as much time outdoors and on the water as I do, you realize they are worth every penny,” said Schaap, a Costa Del Mar dealer.
The benefits may not be noticeable as you try them on or compare with other brands, but there are discernable differences once you get on the water, he added.
“The components in premium glasses are better made, the lenses are clearer and they are more abrasion resistant,” he said. “Quality glasses have more options to enhance your vision experience; you get more frame options and can find a pair to fit your head and nose perfectly.”
The polarization also is far better than bargain store glasses. Costa, Schaap said, touts 99.9 percent polarized efficiency, among the very best in the market.
“As most anglers know, polarization is critical for seeing subtle bottom changes, cover, structure and even fish,” he said.
Sunglasses with polycarbonate lenses are lighter weight and less pricey than those with glass. Polycarbonate Costas are shatterproof and strong. They will run you $160-$240, depending upon the style you choose.
Glass lenses are built with encapsulated mirror between layers of glass that make them even more scratchproof. Costa glass also is 20% thinner and 22% lighter than traditional polarized glass lens. They are priced from $200-$300.
If you’re only looking for a do-everything pair of sunglasses, Schaap recommends copper-based colored lenses. In the Costas, his favorite is the Green Mirror Copper.
“It’s the most user-friendly in all light conditions,” he said.
But some discriminating anglers carry multiple pairs containing different colored lenses to make seeing even better under various light conditions.
“Blue Mirror that is best for very bright sun,” he said. “It’s darker and filters out the brighter light better.”
For those overcast days and early morning hours, he recommends Sunrise Silver that brightens the limited light and makes it easier to see beneath the surface.
“There are a lot of good quality sunglasses on the market and I’ve worn lots of different ones, but it’s tough to find better frames and lenses than what Costa offers,” Schaap said.