As a multispecies angler and avid outdoorsman, I have gear in my boat, garage, and basement to match just about any condition you come across. My walls are lined with rod and reel combos that are matched to any species or presentation that you can imagine.
The one item that I have always had a difficult time figuring out was the proper polarized sunglasses to wear under different conditions. You would think that this would not be a hard choice, but I was sadly mistaken the more I looked into the different options out there when it came to lens tints and overall fit.
I recently had a conversation with Dr. Gary Nesty the owner of Solar Bat sunglasses about the importance of proper eye wear while fishing. Dr. Nesty is also a practicing Optometrist as well as a tournament fisherman. I knew that I needed some first-hand knowledge to help me determine what to look for in proper eyewear for the water.
You have to think of sunglasses like you would any other part of your equipment. If you take a peak in my boat you will find a huge variety of rods. Each one has a specific purpose. There will be rods for crankbaits, swim jigs, spinnerbaits, and heavy cover. This doesn’t meant that I can’t cast a crankbait with a spinnerbait rod, but it does mean that if I am throwing a crankbait with the right rod I will get more hookups and have better control of my bait as it was designed to give me the best feel for that style of bait.
This same holds true for sunglasses. The variety of tints on the market all have their specific use and it is very beneficial to have glasses that you can use in any situation you may face. Each tint has a particular use and you can find good fishing glasses in the market that will match your situation.
I have always found that if there is something that I am unsure of the best way to learn about it is to go to the experts. This was no exception when it came to determining what tint of lens that should be used for different fishing situations. During my conversation and research, I had a chance to learn about the uses and benefits of all the different tints of the polarized glasses from Dr. Nesty.
Here is a little rundown of each tint and how it relates to fishing situations as well as techniques:
Grey: This is a neutral tint that filters all wavelengths of light equally. It has a light transmission of 14% and keeps all the colors looking like they should. The greens look green and reds look red. The grey tint does not highlight any particular color as they just tone the colors down and filter the light equally. This is a good “all purpose” tint to use for most fishing situations.
Grey Ice Blue with mirror. This is a great tint for open water as they block the most amount of light. Their light transmission is 8% and if you were to go any lower than 8% you would not be able to use them for driving. This tint is perfect for ice fishing or for open water trolling on bigger water. It will not inhibit your ability to see your colors but filter the most amount of light to protect your eyes while on big bodies of water where the sun can reflect a great amount off the water.
Amber: This tint highlights the browns in the water. The brown works great for clearwater shallows when fishing for smallmouth bass. The brown of the fish is really highlighted and can make it easier to pick out fish in the shallow clear water. This tint is not good for muddy water as it will make the water look dirtier. This tint is a great for those anglers that may be color blind.
Amber with green mirror: This has the same properties as the standard amber, however it has 5% less light transmission with the green mirror.
High Contrast Yellow: This tint is superior for cloudy days as it will really brighten everything up. This is not a tint you would use on a sunny day, however if you are fishing a Tannic water it can make the difference in finding fish and being able to present a bait properly. The tint works well for finding bedding bass in Tannic stained water. It also will really help when fishing in the shallows in shady areas.
Mossback Green: The green tint is excellent for highlighting the color green. It tends to bleach out the color brown and can help greatly in stained or muddy water. This tint will make the browns muted and allow green items to be highlighted. This is excellent when looking for weed lines as the green weeds really show up brightly. It is also great for fishing bedded Largemouth bass as it will lighten the brown bed color up and darken the green of the fish so you can properly present your bait to the fish.
Mossback Gradient: This color combines the best of two tints in one lens. This allows the angler to look forward and have the Mossback tint and then look down and have a High Contrast yellow tint. This is a very versatile tint that is very effective to the anglers that are moving in and out of sunny and shaded areas. Many bass angler that are fishing shorelines would benefit from this tint as allows the angler to use one pair of glasses for fishing shaded shorelines.
Mossback Gradient Inverted: This is the same as Mossback Gradient, however the high contrast yellow is on the top and mossback is on the bottom. This was created for the angler that likes to pitch and flip in heavy overhanging cover like boat docks or deep brush. When fishing these areas the angler is typically looking through the top of the glasses when pitching a bait to these areas. The tint will allow for better visibility up under the cover so you can properly place your bait where it needs to be.
These tints were all developed by Mr. Gary Nesty after several years of fishing as a Co-Angler in the FLW tournament trail. Mr. Nesty used his time in the back of the boat to fine tune the different offerings to best suit the needs of the angler for any type of fishing situation. The Pro-edition line of glasses were made by fishermen for fishermen. Countless hours of on-the-water testing was done to make sure that the proper tints were developed to help the fishermen out in any conditions that they may face.
It was certainly and eye-opening experience to learn about all the different tints and what advantages they have over other tints in differing situations. I learned that there really should be multiple pairs of sunglasses in the boat with me to match each fishing condition.
As an angler it is important that we use every advantage we can to put more fish in the boat. We must also remember that there are other pieces of equipment that should be a part of our arsenal. Sunglasses not only allow us to see better into the water, but they also protect our eyes from damaging UV rays or even stray hooks that may come flying our way.
The next time you are looking to purchase a pair of glasses for fishing make sure you do your research and think about the type of fishing you do. Use this little list to determine the best tint for your needs and I am sure you will have a better day on the water.