Fishing Sunglasses Buying Guide

  • 30 Jul 2022 10:35
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Fishing Sunglasses Buying Guide

Anglers understand the importance of good eyewear. The sun not only has an effect on our skin, but also on our eyes. Fishing all day in the sun and the wind can put a big strain on an angler’s eyes. Not only that, but over the years, it can cause major damage to the lenses and corneas in the eyes.

A good pair of sunglasses is key in helping keep this damage to a minimum. Not only will a good pair of sunglasses keep the UV rays from damaging an angler’s eyes, but they are also good protection from the wind. Wind can damage an angler’s eyes as well, and that damage can be irreversible. Safety should be at the top of the list for an angler who is selecting fishing sunglasses.

Another great reason to wear sunglasses when fishing is that sharp hooks can do a great deal of damage if they hit an angler in the eye. Most anglers know someone who has hooked themselves with a treble hook from top water or crankbait or someone who has set the hook hard on a jig or soft plastic and had it come flying back at them.

Getting impaled by a hook is not a great way to start a day, but getting hooked in the eye is even worse. A bait is apt to bounce off of a good pair of sunglasses rather than hooking the angler in the face. Anglers cannot afford to be without that kind of protection. Wearing a good pair of sunglasses can be almost as important as wearing a life jacket. But, what makes for the best sunglasses for fishing?

Polarization and UV Protection

The absolute best sunglasses for fishing have polarized lenses. Polarized lenses contain a filter that blocks the glare from the water and from the sun. This allows the angler to see into the water much better. Anglers can see structure, cover, and even fish, in the water with polarized sunglasses. Polarized sunglasses are really a must-have for anglers of all ages and skill levels.

Not only do they offer all of the protection one needs from their sunglasses, but they allow the angler to see so much better. This can be the difference between loading the live well and going home empty-handed. Most seasoned anglers will not hit the water without a good pair of polarized sunglasses.

UV Protection is also important. Just as sunscreen with UV protection keeps skin from burning, the UV protection in the best-polarized fishing sunglasses will filter out the sun’s harmful rays and not let them damage the angler’s eyes. UV protection in sunglasses is important for anyone who spends a good deal of time outside, and anglers are no exception.

Not all sunglasses offer polarized lenses or the same amount of UV protection. It is important for anglers to do some research and, at the very least, read the labels on the sunglasses they choose. Staying with a company known to make some of the best sunglasses for fishing is a good idea. Strike King, Wiley-X, Amphibia, Oakley, Ray Ban, and many others are all well-known companies and make great polarized sunglasses.

Anglers should keep in mind, though, that not all sunglasses made by these companies are polarized. Anglers still need to check the labels to make sure. Simply putting glasses on in the store can show an angler the difference between sunglasses with polarized lenses and regular lenses.


The fit of the sunglasses is important. Each angler is different, however. The best glasses for one person will not be the best for another because everyone’s face is shaped differently. The best-polarized lenses in the world will not do an angler any good if the shape of the glasses lets sunlight in on all sides. The good news is that every manufacturer has many different lines of fishing sunglasses, so an angler should be able to find a particular model that fits very well and blocks all of the sunlight.

Proper fit is important in allowing the angler to see into the water, but it’s also important for safety. Anglers want sunglasses that will stay in place if they should get hit by a flying lure. Poorly fitting sunglasses can do damage to an angler’s eyes should they be hit by a lure, a tree branch, or even a large bug when they are headed across the lake at high speed.

Finding the perfect fitting sunglasses can take some time and effort. Anglers should not be discouraged by this, though. It will be more than worth it once the proper fitting glasses are found.

Brand Specific Features

Some manufacturers of sunglasses have built-in features from years of experience that make their glasses even better. Wiley X, for instance, has a foam insert in some of their glasses. This foam fits securely around the angler’s face. It keeps out almost all of the sunlight. This means it’s much easier to see into the water, and it offers protection from all sides.

Many manufacturers also offer fishing sunglasses in bi-focal and progressive lenses. These are great for anglers who need them. There is no need to carry reading glasses as well as sunglasses, changing them out to retie a bait or work the electronics in the boat. Not only can that be a pain, but an angler can lose valuable time on the water waiting for his eyes to adjust after taking off his sunglasses and then again when putting them back on.

Some of the best sunglasses for fishing are prescription glasses. They can be found with all of the great features of off-the-shelf sunglasses today. More and more people are starting to understand the importance of good eye protection, and most eye care centers are offering some type of fishing glasses with prescription lenses.

There are also good polarized sunglasses that will fit over prescription glasses. Some of these do tend to let light in around the sides, however, so anglers should check them for proper fit over their regular glasses. These are best to try on in a store rather than order them online and hope they work out.

Neck Straps

No conversation about finding the best sunglasses for fishing is complete without talking about neck straps. These fit onto the ear pieces of the sunglasses and are worn around the neck. The idea is to keep the sunglasses on the angler. When an angler is headed across the lake to the next fishing hole, the last thing they want to do is turn their head to check for traffic behind them and have their glasses fly off. Odds are good that those glasses will never be recovered.

Anglers would do well to purchase a strap at the same time they purchase new fishing sunglasses. There are many different types of straps on the market, and all are good. Many anglers prefer one style over another, however. Anglers should try on the strap they intend to buy. It should fit over the ear pieces of the glasses tightly. If the strap slides off too easily, it will not keep the sunglasses secure.

The strap should also be comfortable. An angler should keep in mind that he or she will be wearing this strap all day with sunglasses. Again, this is a personal preference. Some anglers like a thicker, flat strap whereas others prefer a more rope-like strap. Straps are usually fairly inexpensive, so experimenting with them until the perfect one is found is not too costly, and anglers will definitely be happy they took the time to try them all out.


Not all lenses are the same, and the best sunglasses for fishing on a cloudy day are different than on a sunny day. Lenses should be shatterproof, first and foremost. Things can happen out on the water, and proper eye protection can go a long way toward keeping an angler’s eyes safe. Shatterproof lenses will absorb the impact of a lure that may fly out of the water during a hook-set, for instance. Many anglers have had their site saved by wearing fishing sunglasses with shatterproof lenses.

Lenses also come in a variety of colors. Each color has a specific application. Early in the morning, late in the evening, and on very cloudy days, amber lenses are key. They help to brighten everything up. The polarization still makes everything clear, and the amber color brightens things to help the angler see even better in low light conditions.

For sunny days, most anglers prefer a gray lens. Gray lenses are darker, and they help to eliminate more of the brighter glares that cause eye strain over the course of the day. They also bring out the colors underwater in the bright sunlight. Gray lenses are perfect for most sunny days or any time there is a brighter light.

For the highest sun conditions, when there is a great deal of glare such as during midday, metallic coated lenses often provide the best vision. The metallic coating will get rid of the most glare but it will still allow the angler to see into the water very well. These glasses are not good for cloudy days or low light conditions, though, because they simply block too much light.

Most pro anglers and guides carry several different pairs of sunglasses because one color lens simply isn’t the best in all situations. They might carry an amber lens for early morning fishing, and a gray or metallic coated lens for late in the day when the sun is shining brightly. So, the best sunglasses for fishing can differ throughout the day and anglers may do well to have several options available each time they go out.


Fishing sunglasses come in a wide range of costs. They can be bought for as little as $10, and the most expensive ones can run into the hundreds of dollars. With that being said, anglers should opt for the best sunglasses within their budget. Obviously, owning three or four $200 pairs of glasses is out of the price range of many anglers. But, the better the sunglasses, the happier an angler will be with them. So anglers sometimes make decisions based on what type of lens they use most, spending more on that pair of glasses than on others, or sticking to just one lens type.

When buying polarized fishing sunglasses, it is true that you get what you pay for. The best ones may be somewhat expensive, but if they are affordable for an angler, they are a great investment.


There are many styles on the market today. Style, though, is really one of the least of consideration. But many anglers are concerned with how their glasses look, and why not? They wear them for long days all fishing season long. They should look good and feel good, too.

When looking at various styles of sunglasses, anglers should keep the other factors in mind, too. They should not forget about fit, lens color, polarization, and cost. They should also keep in mind other features they may want such as bi-focal lenses. With literally hundreds of glasses on the market today, every angler should be able to find the best sunglasses for fishing that look good, too.

Choosing The Best Sunglasses For Fishing

Overall, anglers should keep safety in mind when purchasing sunglasses. These glasses will protect your eyes from the UV rays of the sun as well as any objects that may fly at the angler over the course of a fishing season. Polarized glasses are really the only way to go in fishing glasses because they allow the angler to see into the water.

When choosing the best fishing sunglasses, anglers should keep in mind the tips in this article. Every edge an angler can get over their quarry is sure to help. A good fit and the proper lenses can help make a fishing day more successful.

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Helen Macdonald By, Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald is an outdoor gear editor for GoHunter, based in California. She spends her days running or biking on singletrack and loves nothing more than getting lost in the wilderness. Helen has a deep understanding of the gear needed for any activity in the great outdoors and is always happy to share her knowledge with others.
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