How to Choose Good Polarized Sunglasses for Fishing

Fishing sunglasses are an essential tool for any fisherman. Regardless of where you fish, be it offshore or in shallow waters, polarized lenses are immensely helpful to cut out glare and spot fish easily.

With polarized sunglasses you’ll be able to read the water and catch fish you might otherwise never see. However, choosing a pair of sunglasses for fishing can be a daunting task. They range from 20$ to hundreds of dollars and there are so many brands and options out there that you may not even know where to start.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know before buying a pair of polarized sunglasses. Keep reading to find out what are the essential features you should look for.

What are polarized Sunglasses?

Polarized sunglasses are treated with a special chemical that blocks harmful light from passing through the lens.

They will block out all the horizontal light waves bouncing off a smooth surface like water. When sunlight hits water, it bounces off in many directions creating the so-called glare. This phenomenon prevents anglers from seeing clearly and will force them to squint.

With a polarized filter, those reflected rays will be blocked and, as a result, you’ll see better and your eyes will feel more comfortable. Images will be a little darker and more contrasted than usual and details will be easier to see.

Polarized sunglasses are essential for sight fishing, as they’ll help you see fish into the water instead than just looking at a shiny surface.

Lens materials

When it comes to lens materials, you have two choices: polycarbonate or glass lenses. Which one is best? There’s no easy answer, as both have strengths and weaknesses.

Glass lenses tend to be more durable: this material is highly resistant to scratches; however, it will break easily if you accidentally drop your sunglasses. Glass is also considered the most optically clear material, and experts believe that you’ll have a better vision, compared to polycarbonate lenses. The downside is that they’re quite heavy.

Polycarbonate lenses tend to be lighter and more comfortable to wear for long hours. If you drop them, they’ll resist the impact better than glass and that’s why they are the best option for kids or extreme sports.

This material also blocks 100% of UV rays naturally, so the lenses won’t need an additional coating like glass does. Some people argue that some visual clarity is lost with polycarbonate lenses, however, the difference often goes unnoticed for most users.

Lens frame

Choosing the best frame is not just a matter of aesthetic. Polarized fishing sunglasses should protect your eyes and improve your vision, and to do so, you need to look for the right fit and coverage.

Choose a wrap-around design with thicker temples which will keep sunlight, wind and dust away from your eyes at any time. The more your sunglasses will wrap around your face, the more comfortable they’ll be, and you’ll get the feeling that they aren’t there at all.

How to choose the lens shade

Polarized sunglasses come in many shades and each will favor visual clarity in different lighting conditions.Grey, green or blue lenses are the best choice for bright environments: they will enhance details and colors where light is particularly intense. They are perfect for all fishing environments, especially for offshore fishing.

Brown and yellow lenses are ideal for foggy environments or low-light conditions where you have poor visibility. Pink lenses serve the same purpose as brown and yellow shades; however, they tend to alter the color perception more.

Red lenses are great to prevent eye tiredness and improve the perception of depth. Finally, copper can be used in many conditions and is the best choice for sight fishing, both on and off the water.

There are some additional coatings that you can choose to add to your sunglasses:

  • Hydrophobic lens coating: this is particularly useful for those who do saltwater fishing. Salt can create a film and scratch the lenses, but a hydrophobic coating will cause drops of water to bead up, reducing the chances of damage and making the lenses easier to clean.
  • UV filter: not all polarized sunglasses automatically include a UV filter. Unless you’re buying polycarbonate lenses, which naturally include a UV coating, you need to look for an extra UV protection label. Choose a pair that can block 99 to 100% of harmful ultraviolet rays. The best sunglasses are those with a UV400 label, meaning they can filter out 100% of UVA and UVB light.
  •  Mirrored lenses: There’s a debate about whether a mirror coating can help you see better while fishing, with some people arguing that it is useful to block glare, and others saying it does absolutely nothing for your vision. So why choose to add it, considered that you need to pay extra money? A mirror coating will surely make you look cool and add a stylish touch. Afterall, you’re going to wear your sunglasses on a regular basis, so the extra price can be worth it, for some people.

How to understand if your sunglasses are polarized?

There’s a little test you can do to understand whether the sunglasses you own are polarized or not. Put them on and look at a reflective light source (such as metal, water, glass). Tilt your head sideways and see what happens: if the light increases in intensity, the lenses are polarized.

If you have two pairs of sunglasses and one is polarized, you can check the other one by just holding one pair in front of the other. Rotate one pair to a right angle and if the lenses blend to black, both sunglasses are polarized.


Polarized sunglasses are a necessity for all anglers, no matter what environment they fish in. They offer a high level of protection and help you become a better fisherman by improving your vision.

Finding the perfect pair of fishing sunglasses is not easy, but now you know everything to make sure your next pair will be the perfect companion during your fishing trips.

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About the Author

I'm Rodney Heaton and I love hunting in the wild. In the past, I was in the military for over 5 years. After that I became a licensed hunter and a mountain guide.