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Sight Fishing: How Much Does Lens Color Matter in Polarized Glasses?

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January 04, 2013

Sight Fishing: How Much Does Lens Color Matter in Polarized Glasses?

By Kirk Deeter

Sight fishing is top of the game for me. And I'm a big believer of using polarized glasses for this type of fishing.

I think being able to see what you're after is the key to catching. Even when you don't see the actual fish, polarized glasses cut the surface glare in ways that allow you to see your flies or strike indicator better. This ultimately leads to great drifts, good presentations, and improved odds of detecting strikes.

For those of you who use polarized glasses, do you buy into the notion that different lens tints are necessary for different conditions?

Sure, I see the value of yellow lenses on a heavy overcast day, and mirrored lenses are great on bright sunny days. But you could go broke buying different glasses for every situation. I think it's better to wear one tint consistently to train your vision to adapt in various conditions.

Copper or amber is my go anywhere, fish anything tint—from trout rivers to bonefish flats. But everyone sees differently. So if you had to pick one shade and fish that everywhere you go for a year, what would it be?

Comments (20)

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from Creek Chub wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

I'm with you KD. Copper is my go to. I tried several of the blues and greens offered by Smith, but copper seems to work best for me. Coppers work for everyday use, fishing, and can even make clay pigeons stand out when shooting.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

I fish the Smith Mavericks with amber glass lenses. Expensive but worth every penny.

Not to sound like a wimp but my eyes tire easily in the sun causing fatigue and sometimes headaches, so any help is much needed. I have not noticed this since I purchased the amber glass lenses.

My previous pair of glasses were smoke, which just didn't do the trick.

I still have to carry a set of bi-focals in my pack which can be cumbersome at times but I guess that comes with age.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

I agree on amber lenses!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ron Nelson wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

Anyone have suggestions for good lenses that go over Rx glasses? I haven't been able to find any good, comfortable, polarized glasses that can either clip on or fit over my regular glasses.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from treelimit wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

buckhunter, do you carry separate bi-focal glasses for rigging, etc? I have entered that magical early forties age range where everything seems to be going out of warranty and am confronting this problem myself. Have you tried those flip-down readers? Or those sunglasses with the bi-focals built in? I'd be grateful for any advice. I haven't figured out which route to go, but it sure is a hell of a thing for a baseball player to confront failing eyesight!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Micropterus24 wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

I have to agree amber is great especially when you get into the shade on small heavily wooded streams.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from chuckles wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

I agree on the amber lenses. I don't have different color lenses but I do carry a pair for really low light and one that is darker for the rest of the day.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from themadflyfisher wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

I current glasses are copper and I've been happy with them. Never really experimented with different colors but my last pair was yellow and I didn't mind when I lost them. Maybe I'll try amber next and see if they work better for me.
Also do you guys really "see" a difference in high end glasses as apposed to the lower end brands? not talking weight or construction material just sight. I have a pair of Berkley glasses that cost me $30 and I swear I can see better out of those then my buddy's who spent like $150(don't remember the brand) (both are copper toned)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from chuckles wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

I don't notice the difference in lenses so much as the quality of the hardware and frame. The cheaper hinges and frames break a lot easier in my experience.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from El Fuego Juan wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

Is this one of those fifty shades of grey cinversations? Last I paid to hve aset of reverse bi-focal lenses made in dark amber. best investment of 2012 . Am able to use lower portion of glasses for distance and top for up close work worth every penny!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

treelimit, I have tried bifocal's but they distort the lower half of your vision making it difficult to walk on rocks. You just can't see where you will plant your foot next.

I have tried the flip down lenses with a light which attach to the bill of your cap. They are okay but I do not always wear ball caps.

The best I have found are the $1.99 pair of reading glasses tucked into an easy to reach pocket.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from orangeeagle wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

Has anybody tried the new green mirrored lens costa is offering, supposed to be a combo of the amber and copper.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ejunk wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

I had gray lenses in my first pair of prescription sunglasses (nice, face hugging serengeti frames - still using them several years on), but when I got new lenses I switched to brown. Gray is definitely superior in the bright, bright part of the day, but brown has made my sunglasses useful early and late in the day, when they are the most important for fishing.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from NHshtr wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

Like some of the above anglers.I have found that more than one type is best to have.I have a mirrored pair of polarized glasses for bright, mostly saltwater and lake fishing and a pair of amber glasses for stream fishing (bright or dull). I think the mirrored ones deflect the surface reflection well, while on the stream, the amber brings out the bottom sand and gravel better.

I have my ball cap fishing hat with the flip down lens that I take every time I fish. They're much more convenient than trying to pull a pair of glasses from a pocket, and much cheaper than prescription sunglasses. If I have to change to a hat that won't take the flip down, I'll use a $3 pair of readers. But they aren't half as convenient as the flip down, so I like my ball cap best.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Larsen wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

Smith Polarchromic polarized copper lenses are what I would use if I had to have one pair for a year. They adjust to light conditions well and work the best for overcast and bright days. The Amber i feel are too bright for me on the really sunny days. With a hat and copper lenses on sunny days and same for cloudy it works the best. Hands down.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from fliphuntr14 wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

I have a pair of the costa's in green lenses love them so far, i deal with gin clear water to dark brown tannic water and it cuts glare and background wonderfully. I wear them quite a bit driving also and i was amazed with the clarity especially on trips where im not driving for spotting deer. Haven't been able to use them in a trout steam yet so that should be the ultimate test. Was looking at another pair of amber possibly the new tuna alley's

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from James Merrill wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

fishing in Wisconsin you can only see down 3 1/2 feet in the water because it's so dirty so these glasses are pointless, if the water was clearer then i would buy them

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from coosabass2012 wrote 1 year 8 weeks ago

I have the Berkley bi-focals in both dark amber (maybe copper?) and dark grey. I prefer the grey for eye comfort, which is most important to me. I do, however, usually have trouble in low light and end up taking them off. Guess I'll have to find a pair of amber to try out. Thanks!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from badsmerf wrote 1 year 4 weeks ago

Ahh, I missed this one! I have vermillion lenses on my Costa del Mar Swordfish (absolutely love them). My daughter broke one of the sides off so now I have an elastic band that keeps them on my head lol. I need a new pair. I like the vermillion color (almost brown) for high sunny days, but cloudy days or under foliage it is tough to see and I might go for a lighter color lens. I think 2 would be better than 1 because of the drastic change in light between mid-day bass fishing and early morning small stream trout fishing.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from widgeon2 wrote 36 weeks 5 days ago

I have come to believe that the amount of light transmission is more important than the color. (this is not to say the color does not matter, it does, copper/amber lenses provide more contrast, which is important for shallow water fishing.) however, many sunglasses have too little light transmission--the Costas mentioned above transmit 11-12% of available light; most sunglasses transmit about that amount (i think the smith polarchromatic transmit 21-20%.) but here is the question: would you want your neurosurgeon operating on you using dark glasses? No, of course not, because reducing the amount of light available to the eye invariably reduces the ability to see detail. having a higher % of light actually reach the eye is more important than color, short of letting so much light in that you squint painfully. try oakley shallow blue, or kaenon with the c28 lens.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from El Fuego Juan wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

Is this one of those fifty shades of grey cinversations? Last I paid to hve aset of reverse bi-focal lenses made in dark amber. best investment of 2012 . Am able to use lower portion of glasses for distance and top for up close work worth every penny!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Creek Chub wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

I'm with you KD. Copper is my go to. I tried several of the blues and greens offered by Smith, but copper seems to work best for me. Coppers work for everyday use, fishing, and can even make clay pigeons stand out when shooting.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

I fish the Smith Mavericks with amber glass lenses. Expensive but worth every penny.

Not to sound like a wimp but my eyes tire easily in the sun causing fatigue and sometimes headaches, so any help is much needed. I have not noticed this since I purchased the amber glass lenses.

My previous pair of glasses were smoke, which just didn't do the trick.

I still have to carry a set of bi-focals in my pack which can be cumbersome at times but I guess that comes with age.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

I agree on amber lenses!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ron Nelson wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

Anyone have suggestions for good lenses that go over Rx glasses? I haven't been able to find any good, comfortable, polarized glasses that can either clip on or fit over my regular glasses.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from treelimit wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

buckhunter, do you carry separate bi-focal glasses for rigging, etc? I have entered that magical early forties age range where everything seems to be going out of warranty and am confronting this problem myself. Have you tried those flip-down readers? Or those sunglasses with the bi-focals built in? I'd be grateful for any advice. I haven't figured out which route to go, but it sure is a hell of a thing for a baseball player to confront failing eyesight!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Micropterus24 wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

I have to agree amber is great especially when you get into the shade on small heavily wooded streams.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from chuckles wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

I agree on the amber lenses. I don't have different color lenses but I do carry a pair for really low light and one that is darker for the rest of the day.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from themadflyfisher wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

I current glasses are copper and I've been happy with them. Never really experimented with different colors but my last pair was yellow and I didn't mind when I lost them. Maybe I'll try amber next and see if they work better for me.
Also do you guys really "see" a difference in high end glasses as apposed to the lower end brands? not talking weight or construction material just sight. I have a pair of Berkley glasses that cost me $30 and I swear I can see better out of those then my buddy's who spent like $150(don't remember the brand) (both are copper toned)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from chuckles wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

I don't notice the difference in lenses so much as the quality of the hardware and frame. The cheaper hinges and frames break a lot easier in my experience.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

treelimit, I have tried bifocal's but they distort the lower half of your vision making it difficult to walk on rocks. You just can't see where you will plant your foot next.

I have tried the flip down lenses with a light which attach to the bill of your cap. They are okay but I do not always wear ball caps.

The best I have found are the $1.99 pair of reading glasses tucked into an easy to reach pocket.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from orangeeagle wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

Has anybody tried the new green mirrored lens costa is offering, supposed to be a combo of the amber and copper.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ejunk wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

I had gray lenses in my first pair of prescription sunglasses (nice, face hugging serengeti frames - still using them several years on), but when I got new lenses I switched to brown. Gray is definitely superior in the bright, bright part of the day, but brown has made my sunglasses useful early and late in the day, when they are the most important for fishing.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from NHshtr wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

Like some of the above anglers.I have found that more than one type is best to have.I have a mirrored pair of polarized glasses for bright, mostly saltwater and lake fishing and a pair of amber glasses for stream fishing (bright or dull). I think the mirrored ones deflect the surface reflection well, while on the stream, the amber brings out the bottom sand and gravel better.

I have my ball cap fishing hat with the flip down lens that I take every time I fish. They're much more convenient than trying to pull a pair of glasses from a pocket, and much cheaper than prescription sunglasses. If I have to change to a hat that won't take the flip down, I'll use a $3 pair of readers. But they aren't half as convenient as the flip down, so I like my ball cap best.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Larsen wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

Smith Polarchromic polarized copper lenses are what I would use if I had to have one pair for a year. They adjust to light conditions well and work the best for overcast and bright days. The Amber i feel are too bright for me on the really sunny days. With a hat and copper lenses on sunny days and same for cloudy it works the best. Hands down.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from fliphuntr14 wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

I have a pair of the costa's in green lenses love them so far, i deal with gin clear water to dark brown tannic water and it cuts glare and background wonderfully. I wear them quite a bit driving also and i was amazed with the clarity especially on trips where im not driving for spotting deer. Haven't been able to use them in a trout steam yet so that should be the ultimate test. Was looking at another pair of amber possibly the new tuna alley's

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from James Merrill wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

fishing in Wisconsin you can only see down 3 1/2 feet in the water because it's so dirty so these glasses are pointless, if the water was clearer then i would buy them

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from coosabass2012 wrote 1 year 8 weeks ago

I have the Berkley bi-focals in both dark amber (maybe copper?) and dark grey. I prefer the grey for eye comfort, which is most important to me. I do, however, usually have trouble in low light and end up taking them off. Guess I'll have to find a pair of amber to try out. Thanks!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from badsmerf wrote 1 year 4 weeks ago

Ahh, I missed this one! I have vermillion lenses on my Costa del Mar Swordfish (absolutely love them). My daughter broke one of the sides off so now I have an elastic band that keeps them on my head lol. I need a new pair. I like the vermillion color (almost brown) for high sunny days, but cloudy days or under foliage it is tough to see and I might go for a lighter color lens. I think 2 would be better than 1 because of the drastic change in light between mid-day bass fishing and early morning small stream trout fishing.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from widgeon2 wrote 36 weeks 5 days ago

I have come to believe that the amount of light transmission is more important than the color. (this is not to say the color does not matter, it does, copper/amber lenses provide more contrast, which is important for shallow water fishing.) however, many sunglasses have too little light transmission--the Costas mentioned above transmit 11-12% of available light; most sunglasses transmit about that amount (i think the smith polarchromatic transmit 21-20%.) but here is the question: would you want your neurosurgeon operating on you using dark glasses? No, of course not, because reducing the amount of light available to the eye invariably reduces the ability to see detail. having a higher % of light actually reach the eye is more important than color, short of letting so much light in that you squint painfully. try oakley shallow blue, or kaenon with the c28 lens.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

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