The Best Polarized Sunglasses for Fishing

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Finding the Best Polarized Sunglasses for Fishing

It’s a familiar scene: you are fishing from the shore, a lake, a kayak, or a boat. The sun is shining brightly. You reach for a pair of sunglasses, but realize you left them in the car.

Or at home.

Or, even worse, they slipped off your face and fell in the water.

For tens-of-thousands of anglers, this is merely a mild (and somewhat uncomfortable) setback as they only own a cheap pair of sunglasses they picked up at Wal-Mart or the local gas station for about ten dollars.

When it comes to certain investments, however, cheaper isn’t always better.

Yes, those $8.99 sunglasses might help keep the sun out of your eyes. They might help reduce the glare. You might even find that they are fairly stylish and comfortable.

That said, there are countless benefits for investing in a quality pair of polarized sunglasses for fishing.

The Best Polarized Sunglasses for Fishing

Best Polarized Sunglasses for Fishing
If you want an excellent pair of polarized sunglasses, expect to spend a little money. Fortunately, there are plenty of options for budget-conscious (Photo via Christian Schultz/Premier Angler)

With any popular product on the market, the reality is that there are hundreds (if not thousands) of potential options.

To make your efforts easier, we have broken down some excellent polarized fishing sunglasses into three categories:

  • Economy Polarized Sunglasses for Fishing: Great polarized sunglasses for under $100 — still much nicer than the average, run-of-the-mill sunglasses you’ll get from your local gas station or big-box retailer but within a reasonable price point
  • Mid-Range Polarized Sunglasses for Fishing: Some excellent fishing sunglasses that are versatile enough to handle any conditions without breaking the bank
  • High-End Polarized Sunglasses for Fishing: These are top-of-the-line sunglasses that offer the best materials, fit, protection, and style.

Any of these models will offer you improved vision, color balancing, glare resistance, and UV protection. Whether you are hitting the water every weekend or a few times a year, it doesn’t hurt to invest in a solid pair.

Economy Polarized Sunglasses for Fishing: Quality, Style, and Protection on a Budget

Native Eyewear Raghorn

Native Eyewear has numerous styles of polarized sunglasses available that are absolutely perfect for avid anglers looking to combine style, protection, and practicality.

The reality is that when you add in all your gear, tackle, and miscellaneous supplies, fishing can be an expensive endeavor.

To combat high-costs and dangerous UV rays, the Native Eyewear Raghorn Polarized Sunglasses offer ophthalmic-grade polycarbonate lenses, which carry 100% UV protection. They also block out harmful blue light.

Moreso, the Raghorn comes in a variety of lens and frame colors that appeal to a variety of tastes:

Native Eyewear Raghorn Lens Colors Available:

  • Brown
  • Gray

Native Eyewear Raghorn Frame Colors Available:

  • Matte Tortoise
  • Matte Black
  • Desert Sand

Check Native Eyewear Raghorn Polarized Sunglasses Price

Native Eyewear Freerider

Another offering from Native Eyewear, the Freerider offers light-weight, eco-friendly frames with a masculine design and Rhyno-Tuff® Air Frame technology.

The N3 lenses on the Freerider also provide 99% UV protection. Oleophobic and hydrophobic coating helps resist oil, dirt, fingerprints, dust, and water.

If comfort and stability are priorities, then the Freerider is also a great option. The Mastoid Temple Grip design is equipped to hug the area behind your ears to keep the glasses in place.

Like the Raghorn, the Freerider comes in a variety of color options.

Native Eyewear Freerider Lens Colors Available:

  • Brown
  • Gray

Native Eyewear Freerider Frame Colors Available:

  • Matte Dark Tortoise
  • Matte Black
  • Blue Agave

Check Native Eyewear Freerider Polarized Sunglasses Price

Native Eyewear Ashdown

Best Polarized Sunglasses for Fishing: Native Eyewear Ashdown

As a third option from Native Eyewear, this particular brand is named for the Ashdown Gorge Wilderness in southwestern Utah. The Ashdown is designed for the wayfarer who is looking for adventure in the great outdoors.

If you’re looking to fish the great lakes, a river in Colorado, or even a remote creek in Mississippi, the Ashdown provides a cool, classic look that is stylish and versatile. If you want to throw in some recreational kayaking or even white water rafting, these polarized sunglasses could be a great option.

The Cushinol nose pads and temple tips also offer considerable comfort and stability so you don’t have to worry about these sunglasses flying off your face.

Native Eyewear’s Ashdown polarized sunglasses offer some basic, earthy color schemes available:

Native Eyewear Ashdown Lens Colors Available:

  • Brown
  • Gray

Native Eyewear Ashdown Frame Colors Available:

  • Wood
  • Desert Tan

Check Native Eyewear Ashwood Polarized Sunglasses Price

Arnette Fastball

Best Polarized Sunglasses for Fishing: Arnette Fastball

Don’t let the name fool you — these stylish, smooth, and durable polarized shades aren’t just meant for the diamond.

Made with a Grilamid nylon frame, the Arnette Fastball is designed to stay in place. Even in the fastest action, these glasses offer superior peripheral visions, comfort, and a progressive design.

If you like high-speed waters and a fashion-forward aesthetic, the Fastball by Arnette might be the right choice for you.

This particular model comes in a couple color options:

Arnette Fastball Lens Colors Available:

  • Gray
  • Blue

Arnette Fastball Frame Colors Available:

  • Black Matte (w/ Blue)
  • Black

Check Arnette Fastball Polarized Sunglasses Price

Oakley Flak Draft

Best Polarized Sunglasses for Fishing: Oakley Flak Draft

A bit of a late-90s/early 2000s throwback from one of the most popular and trusted names in eyewear, Oakley’s Flak Draft provide performance-minded polarized sunglasses that are excellent for fishing, water sports, or general recreation.

Oakley’s HDPolarized lenses filter out 99% of glare while the Performance Plutonite filter 100% of UV rays and harmful blue light.

The Flak Draft also comes with the ability to quickly and easily change lenses (with a click of a button).

If you plan on fishing hot summer days, this is also a great pair of glasses to consider. The Unobtainium nose pads and temple grip are constructed for comfort while making sure the glasses stick even when you’re sweating.

Currently, the Oakley Flak Draft comes in just one color combination:

Oakley Flak Draft Lens Colors Available:

  • Prizm Daily

Oakley Flak Draft Frame Colors Available:

  • Matte Black

Check Oakley Flak Draft Polarized Sunglasses Price

Ray-Ban RB3606

If you prefer the cool and classic look of aviator shades, then the Ray-Ban RB3606 might be your choice.

While a combination of letters and numbers don’t have the same effect as trendy names like “Turbine” or “Fastball,” don’t underestimate this solid option from the popular brand.

While not necessarily as performance-engineered as other sunglasses on this list, the RB3606 still makes for a fine option is your are going to be spending time on the water.

Roughly 85% of glare will be reduced, with between 99 and 100% UV protection.

Color options for the Ray-Ban RB3606 include:

  • Gray & Gunmetal (frames) with gray gradient mirror (lenses)
  • Shiny black on top matte black (frames) with dark green (lenses)

Check Ray-Ban Polarized Sunglasses Price

Mid-Range Polarized Sunglasses for Fishing: High Quality Protection and Performance

Oakley Turbine

If you’re looking for a strong, durable, lightweight pair of polarized sunglasses, Oakley’s Turbine might be what you’re looking for.

With an athletic and edgy vibe, the Turbine is yet another example of Oakley’s commitment to combining comfortable sunglasses with performance and athleticism.

That said, the Turbine is also a great option for those who are simply looking for everyday use.

If your fishing involves lots of risk and movement, however, the Oakley Turbine has you covered. These glasses are constructed with visual fidelity, optical clarity, and impact resistance in mind.

If you’re the type who likes color and style options, the Turbine also comes in a variety of styles:

Oakley Turbine Draft Lens Colors Available:

  • Prizm Black Iridium Mirror
  • Grey Polarized
  • Prizm Jade Iridium Mirror
  • Prizm Deep H2O Iridium Mirror

Oakley Turbine Draft Frame Colors Available:

  • Polished Black
  • Matte Black

Check Oakley Turbine Polarized Sunglasses Price

Arnette Dashanzi

Best Polarized Sunglasses for Fishing: Arnette Dashanzi

A mid-range option for Arnette, the Dashanzi offers a cool, stylish, action-oriented pair of polarized sunglasses.

Specifically designed for men with larger round or oval faces, the Dashanzi offers durable injected-nylon frames with squared-off lenses made from lightweight polycarbonate.

This particular model offers 100% protection from both UV-A and UV-B damage.

Color options are limited with the Dashanzi, however. Fortunately, the black-and-yellow frames offer a distinct style that is sure to stand out.

Check Arnette Dashanzi Polarized Sunglasses Price

Costa Caballito

Best Polarized Sunglasses for Fishing: Costa Caballito

The first entry from the popular Costa brand, the Caballito is a bold, edgy model that is sure to make a statement.

If you are trying to look like a professional angler without breaking the bank, the Caballito certainly ticks both boxes. Not only are the glasses stylish, however — they’re also comfortable.

The C-Wall proprietary coating is designed to repel everything from oil and dust to water and sand. With advanced scratch resistance, these polarized fishing sunglasses are an excellent choice whether you’re on the water, in the woods, or working on any number of side projects.

The Caballito offers a few different lens and frame color options:

Costa Cabllito Lens Colors Available:

  • Green Mirror Polar
  • Gray

Costa Cabllito Frame Colors Available:

  • Coconut Fade
  • Black

Check Costa Caballito Polarized Sunglasses Price

Oakley Gascan

Best Polarized Sunglasses for Fishing: Oakley Gascan

With a name like Gascan, you can already make some assumptions about this particular model from Oakley.

With a smooth, continuous look, Oakley’s Gascan polarized sunglasses are engineered for a variety of high-octane, high-intensity endeavors. From dirt racing to combat missions to even the brightest days on the water, the model is meant for performance and comfort.

The Gascan offers ultra-precise color tuning that is effective in any lighting or environment. It is also engineered to offer 100% UV protection and eliminate damage from blue light.

The Oakley Gascan comes in a couple standard-but-impressive colors:

Oakley Gascan Lens Colors Available:

  • Prizm Black Iridium Mirror
  • Prizm Sapphire

Oakley Gascan Frame Colors Available:

  • Steel
  • Matte Black

Check Oakley Gascan Polarized Sunglasses Price

High-End Polarized Sunglasses for Fishing: An Investment in Performance, Comfort, and Safety

Maui Jim Lava Tube

Best Polarized Sunglasses for Fishing: Maui Jim Lava Tube

When we mentioned the cheap, $8 gas station sunglasses earlier, many of those pairs are aviators.

Plastic, frail, and flimsy.

Sure, they might look decent on the right face at the right angle, but rarely will they ever make a statement.

Equipped with a thin titanium frame, these lightweight sunglasses eliminate 99.9% of glare, 95% of HEV, and 100% of UV rays. They are also designed for those looking to spend significant time on the water.

Whether you are fishing a lake, pond, creek, river, stream, bay, or ocean, the Lava Tube might be worth the investment.

For those who enjoy some diversity in styles, Maui Jim’s product offers a pretty wide variety of options:

Maui Jim Lava Tube Lens Colors Available:

  • Blue Hawaii Mirror
  • HCL Bronze
  • Maui Sunrise Mirror
  • Neutral Grey

Maui Jim Lava Tube Frame Colors Available:

  • Satin Dark Gunmetal
  • Matte Gold
  • Satin Sepia
  • Matte Black

Check Maui Jim Lava Tube Polarized Sunglasses Price

Costa Del Mar Harpoon

Best Polarized Sunglasses for Fishing: Costa Del Mar Harpoon

When you name your product Harpoon, you’ll be expected to back that name up!

Fortunately for Costa, they have produced some of the most durable, performance-oriented polarized sunglasses on the market.

Touting the Harpoon as “virtually indestructible,” Costa markets this product to angler who are looking for adventure in the “most hardcore” of environments.

With a large frame size, the Harpoon is a great option for anglers with wider faces.

Costa’s Harpoon also comes in a variety of colors and lens options:

Costa Del Mar Harpoon Lens Colors Available:

  • Blue Lightwave (Glass)
  • Green Lightwave (Glass)
  • Blue (Polycarbonate)
  • Red (Polycarbonate)
  • Green (Polycarbonate)
  • Gray (Polycarbonate)

Costa Del Mar Harpoon Frame Colors Available:

  • Tortoise
  • Shiny Black

Check Costa Del Mar Harpoon Polarized Sunglasses Price

Maui Jim Big Wave

Best Polarized Sunglasses for Fishing: Maui Jim Big Wave

If you like Maui Jim’s quality but aren’t a fan of aviators, then the Big Wave might be for you.

Offering a comfortable and stylish wrap-around style, the Big Wave is a versatile, unisex product that is especially beneficial for anglers who have wide and extra-wide faces.

The MauiPure lenses are constructed using light-weight plastic that is effective during any time of the day in any conditions. They are also engineered for highly active lifestyles.

The lenses are also effective at eliminating 99.9% of glare, 95% of HEV, and 100% of harmful UV rays.

Maui Jim’s Big Wave sunglasses come in three distinct styles:

Costa Del Mar Harpoon Styles Available:

  • Matte Black
  • Translucent Matte Gray
  • Olive Tortoise

Check Maui Jim Big Wave Polarized Sunglasses Price

Buying Polarized vs. Non-Polarized Sunglasses: What’s the Difference

Without going into a lengthy explanation about how light works, it is important to understand how polarized vs. non-polarized sunglasses work. Keeping in mind that light travels in waves, consider the following:

  • Polarized Light: Waves of light that vibrate across a single plane
  • Non-Polarized Light: Waves of light that vibrate across more than one plane
Field of Light_Wikimedia
Plane of Polarization (photo via Wikimedia Commons – public domain)

While this might not seem like it has anything to do with fishing, it does.

Non-polarized sunglasses — yes, often those $8 gas stations sunglasses you’re buying — accept the light as it comes to them. This means that even though it may be blocking some of the sun’s brightness and offering a layer of protection, you are still going to get have a noticeable and potentially dangerous (and uncomfortable) degree of glare.

Polarized fishing sunglasses, however, convert these waves so that they all becomes polarized. This reduces both danger and discomfort while largely eliminating glare.

In the two photos above, you will notice a clear distinction between the view through polarized sunglasses (left) vs. the view through non-polarized sunglasses (right).

The polarized image (on the right) is clean, crisp, and far more pronounced. The non-polarized image (on the left) clearly still shows a considerable amount of glare. The colors are not as evenly distributed. Details are also a bit blurred.

So, what does this have to do with fishing?

Polarized Sunglasses for Fishing: Why it Matters

Let’s revisit our scenario of being on your local lake or river without a pair of sunglasses.

Have you ever been casting and found the reflection of sunlight on the water almost unbearable?

Polarized Sunglasses_Sunlight Reflects off Water
Polarized sunglasses can help reduce reflections on the water (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

If you wouldn’t want to be staring at these reflections all day, you aren’t alone.

An intense reflection on the water becomes increasingly troublesome, especially if you’re casting directly into the sun. For anglers who use traditional bobber setups, this is also one of the most frustrating occurrences you can encounter.

By wearing polarized sunglasses while fishing — especially from a boat — you can drastically cut down the intensity of reflections you’ll see on the water.

As you can see above, even slight reflections can be reduced when wearing polarized sunglasses while fishing.

If you are planning on spending a significant amount of time on the water, this can make a considerable difference.

Health and Other Benefits of Polarized Sunglasses (While Fishing): Avoid Harmful UV Ray Damage

Choosing the Best Polarized Sunglasses for Fishing
Even on cooler, cloudy days, having a quality pair of polarized sunglasses can make a huge difference (Photo via Christian Schultz/Premier Angler)

Perhaps the main reason people invest in polarized sunglasses for fishing is the fact that it balances color and reduces glare.

One major benefit of choosing a quality pair of polarized sunglasses, however, is that they are made to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays. For the same reason we lather up our skin with sunscreen, we also wear sunglasses to protect our eyes.

Now, it goes without saying, that you should never look directly into the sun — even if you are wearing polarized sunglasses.

That said, having that additional layer of protection on your eyes can be incredibly helpful in the long-term. This is especially true if you are on the water regularly.

UV rays can be particularly harmful to the eyes. Even children are susceptible to this damage as well.

Some of the issues that can arise from prolonged UV exposure include pterygium, irritation, corneal sunburns, skin cancer, cataracts, and even macular degeneration.

UV rays can actually be classified into two categories: UV-A and UV-B

  • UV-A Rays: These rays are particularly damaging to your central vision
  • UV-B Rays: These rays can be damaging to the lens on the fronts of your eyes. They are also dangerous for your corneas.

Fortunately, most higher-end polarized sunglasses offer between 98-100% UV protection. When investing in a great pair of fishing sunglasses, being protected from the sun’s potentially harmful rays should not be something you have to worry about.

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