While having the proper fishing gear and knowing the behavior of the fish species you’re after will help catch more fish, having a good pair of fishing sunglasses makes a huge difference.
It does more than that, though.
Not only does it reduce glare for spotting fish, but it also protects your eyes from harmful UV rays.
See where the fish are, where we’re going, and what we’re doing.
In fact, you’d be doing yourself a disservice to own a pair of polarized glasses if you’re an angler.
The intense glare from the sun and the surface, especially in open waters, can reduce the efficiency of your eyesight and, with enough exposure, even damage it.
Just as bright sunlight and fishing go hand in hand, so should polarized glasses and fishing.
With all the available colors and types of lenses out there, though, what color polarized lens is best when you’re out on the water?
Here’s a handy guide to help you understand the different colors and identify which one works best for your fishing trips.
Why Use Polarized Lens for Fishing?
Polarized fishing glasses can provide the following benefits while fishing:
Better Contrast: Polarized sunglasses are made with specifically colored lenses, the main purpose of these being to improve visual contrast. Each lens color provides a different degree and type of contrast, which helps you see better into the water and around, even with days of harsh sunlight.
Better Sight in Low Light: Some fish species are active before dawn or after dusk, so if you’re fishing for these, you need to be able to see and operate well in low-light conditions. They help you see better even when there’s hardly any ambient light and helps reduce eye fatigue.
Better Overall Vision: Not only do anglers have to contend with the bright sunlight from above but also the glare of the rays reflected on the water’s surface. The latter is more powerful and, therefore, more dangerous. They are engineered to block reflected light and can help you see better.
This is especially helpful in fly-fishing, where you need to see the fish striking the bait.
Additionally, if you’re wading through the water for fishing, you’ll need to spot better any hazards or objects lying beneath the water’s surface, such as sharp rocks or dangerous creatures. In addition, they provide excellent clarity of vision.
Protect Your Eyes: By protecting your eyes from the reflected light, glares, bright sunlight, and the UV rays in it, polarized glasses help you keep your eyes healthy and damage-free. They also reduce any fatigue or stress that long hours of fishing and sun exposure can bring.
Polarized vs Mirrored
Before we talk about the different types of lens color for fishing, it’s important to understand the difference between polarized and mirrored lenses.
Polarized lenses allow light to enter your eyes in one direction alone—the lens absorbs all the horizontal light rays while letting vertical light rays enter your eyes. This effectively blocks glare and radiation while allowing the eye to see clearly and providing a better field of vision.
They also provide UV protection and are ideal for harshly lit outdoor conditions.
Mirrored lenses are also polarized but have an extra mirror coating, making them more durable and resistant to scratches. These lenses, as the name suggests, look like mirrors, reflecting back anything in the field of vision.
Mirrored lenses are great for blocking glare and UV light.
Simply put, polarized lenses help you see better, providing more depth perception and enhanced overall vision, while mirrored polarized lenses inhibit light transmission and mainly exist for the protection of your eyes.
However, the color of the mirror on your polarized lenses will affect how you see the world.
You can always add a suitable mirror coating to your polarized lenses.
Different Lens Color And When to Use Them
There are many colored, polarized sunglasses available. The main types are explained below.
Blue Mirrored Lens
These are ideal for bright days when the sun is out in all its glory, especially when you’re deep-sea fishing/boating or in open waters. Since the tint of the mirror matches the color of the water, light is cut, and glare is reduced.
These lenses make it easier to spot fish by providing improved peripheral vision in bright light conditions, and they prevent eye strain by blocking the glare from the water and the sun.
A blue mirror coating on a brown or gray polarized lens works best for deep-sea fishing.
Orange Mirrored Lens
Orange mirrored polarized lenses are helpful if you’re fishing during dawn, dusk, or other low-light conditions (such as cloudy days or dimly lit days). They cut out the orange light of sunset and sunrise hours, take all the available light, and use it to maximize contrast and clarity of vision.
Their mirror coating aids in providing protection from glares, and though they can work in bright conditions, they’re not as effective as green or blue mirrored polarized lenses.
Plain amber lenses without a mirror coating are also available; they will be discussed later.
Green Mirrored Lens
If you’re fishing in flats or inshore, where the water is in shades of green, green mirrored polarized lenses are your best bet, especially while sight fishing. They provide the least color distortion of all lenses while increasing contrast for better sight. This means that shadows are thrown into sharper relief while glare is minimized.
These lenses are also great for all weather conditions, working just as effectively on sunny days as on cloudy days. They also let you see green objects underwater efficiently by bleaching out the brown shades and making the green a friend to the eye.
Quick note—green mirrored polarized sunglasses are also sometimes called just green lenses, though they are mistakenly referred to as this. Green lenses do not exist; green mirrored polarized sunglasses get their green color from the mirror coating.
Amber polarized lenses, used interchangeably with copper and rose lenses, are more commonly identified as brown lenses.
These lenses are great for sight fishing in shallow waters and low light, blocking out all blue and increasing depth, color perception, and contrast. These features let you spot fish more easily, especially in brown, muddied waters.
Though they can function in bright light, too, amber/brown lenses are best for cloudy and dim conditions.
Also called neutral or natural lenses, gray lenses are highly favored for their versatility—whether you’re fishing inshore, offshore, in flats, in the deep sea, or even enjoying a round of golf, you can use them anywhere!
Gray lenses uniformly filter light, so with gray lenses, you see all the colors as they are, minus bright glares and reflections. They offer your eyes the most protection, due to which many anglers use them in open water conditions, where the sun is extremely harsh.
We get it—colors can be quite confusing.
Here’s a breakdown of which lenses to use in different fishing situations:
Best Lens Color For Saltwater Fishing: If you’re fishing inshore, use green polarized mirrored lenses or brown lenses to let you see better and further while enhancing colors and protecting your eyes.
If saltwater fishing offshore, use a gray or brown polarized lens with a blue mirror coating, letting you see true-to-life colors with enhanced vision.
Best Lens Color For Freshwater Fishing: Amber lenses with green mirrors are great for fishing inshore and in flats, enhancing colors and protecting your eyes. They’re also ideal for fishing in rivers and lakes.
Remember—you don’t have to be confused by mirrored or polarized sunglasses for fishing. All lenses designed for fishing are polarized; adding a mirror coating helps cut off glare while providing better protection.
Fishing is as much about observing fish and understanding their patterns and behavior as it is about catching them skillfully, and for the former, the right glasses are essential.
Pick the right pair of lenses for your fishing adventures, and you’ll immediately see a marked improvement in your fishing trips. Tight lines!