Fishin' and Vision
to look for. When shopping for sunglasses
for fishing, you are primarily looking for complete immunity from
the sun’s radiation. Maximum protection from UVA, UVB and UVC light
is highly desirable. Additionally, sunglasses should be polarized to block glare and see through water.You
will be right on the water, so you will be fielding rays not only
coming down from the sun, but also bouncing right back up at you
off the water's surface. In such an intense light environment, your eyes need to feel relaxed and free from
eyestrain because you will be wearing your sunglasses for
long periods of time. Those are the "must haves" that
you should not compromise. Beyond that, there are many hundreds
of pairs of sunglasses. All provide different options for the
angler. Use the information here to help you compare features and
prices, and to find a pair that will look just marvelous on you!
Frontal Vision. Primarily, a
close-fitting, wide-angled lens is best for frontal vision. Some
serious fishing shades come with a form-fitting rim on top. The
rim angles back towards your forehead, to shade your eyes from
light pouring in over the top of the glasses. Even still, you
should always wear a wide-brimmed hat like
a baseball cap to shade your eyes and face from overhead
light. On the hat, look for a non-reflective flat black color
underneath the brim. In this way, the hat's brim will absorb
light bouncing up off the water rather than reflect it down into
your eyes. Likewise, a matte-black sunglass
frame is highly desirable for its non-reflective properties.
Side Vision. In sight fishing, you
are a hunter first, and an angler second. You see best when your
eyes are fully-shaded from any and all reflective light. Along
these lines, I look for special frames for outdoorsmen that have side shield lenses on the arms of the glasses.
With the side shield lenses, it is desirable that the hinged
sections of solid plastic are as thin and unobtrusive as
possible. Psychologically, it is important for a hunter to feel
confident having a full range of peripheral vision. So make sure
the hinged sections of solid plastic are not always blocking your
view. Instinctively, you won't like it that way.You need to feel
as if you have a free field of vision, especially the peripheral
vision to the sides.
Back Light. We've talked about
overhead light, side light, and light bouncing up off the water.
What else? Light from behind you can also reflect off of the
inside surface of your lenses and impact your underwater vision.
Ideally, an anti-reflective coating on the
inside of the lenses will help to prevent this.
Last but not least. Look for a shatter-proof lens material. Most
sunglasses today use a variety of space age polycarbonate-like
resin similar to the material in NASA astronauts' space shields. Polycarbonate is ultra-lightweight material and
tough. I suggest you avoid glass lenses if you can because
I feel they are too heavy to wear all day, more uncomfortable,
and more prone to slippage and breakage than some other
materials. Along these lines, a light,
resilient frame made of plastic, nylon, graphite or
similar material is desirable to me, and they don't absorb as
much heat as a metal frame absorbs from sunlight.
A Word about Color. The orangish amber lenses are not the
most stylish color, but they are the optimum lenses for fishing
in broad daylight - at least for my eyes. This color cuts the
sunlight's glare, and gives you the ability to see under the
cover of the water's reflective surface. They offer high contrast
and improved depth perception. You can see clearer and with less
distortion. Glare and haze that normally blur our field of
underwater view are neutralized. Most importantly, anything
green, including old moss back, will stick out like a sore thumb
against a non-green background.
For general boating, fishing muddy water or deep water,
a neutral gray lens
is more attractive and more functional than amber. Optically, a
gray lens provides uniform absorption of most colors in the
spectrum. Grey creates neither color distortion nor enhancement.
Gray provides an accurate, precise shading for your eyes on the
most brilliant of sunny days.
Do you see what I see? If you want
to spot shallow or surface-oriented fish underwater, the
amber-colored lenses we describe here will help you big time with
bigmouth bass. Being green, the amber filter will contrast and
enhance the bass against any non-green backdrop. So you can start
out with a pair of shades to give yourself an advantage, but it
is still not that easy yet. You see, bass survive in part by
blending into their backgrounds. They use light diffusion and
irregular body patterns to break up their forms, and physical
cover to hide themselves from sight. If you want to spot fish,
you cannot look for them outright. You will rarely just see a
fish out in the open. You must train your eyes to look for
movement in the water, any movement at all, even something that
at first does not resemble or that seems unlikely to be a bass.
So, you are not looking for fish, you are looking for movement.
This is exactly what scientists say bass do. They do not look for
bait to eat, they look for movement. In fact, one scientific
study claimed that certain predator fish cannot help but look at
movement. Once their eye spots movement, the eye physically
becomes fixated upon it, and cannot turn itself away even if it
wanted to! Some prey species instinctively realize this, and
their bodies lock up like rigor mortis has set in. They cannot
swim to escape even if they wanted to! This is a survival
instinct, and they will not be eaten if they don't move, because
the fish won't even look at them if they stay perfectly still!
And neither will you see a bass that stays perfectly still. Oh,
you may think you saw it, but what you really saw first was its
gills breathing or fins moving. In current areas, there is a
reverse effect, an optical illusion, whereby a motionless fish
will catch your eye because it is just sitting there while the
rest of the water moves past it.
So remember, look for movement, and forget about shape. You
will rarely be able to see an entire body outline, due to cover,
camouflage, light diffusion, angle, etc. Once you see something
moving, lock onto it and try to determine if what you see may fit
into the approximate length or width expected of a bass. Even if
you can only make out a part of the body, there are not that many
other species with the robust length and width proportions of
bass. Also learn to recognize the tail pattern of a bass as
opposed to a carp or other wide-bodied species.
Name Some Names. In the remainder
of this article, we will continue to provide important facts
about fishing and vision, and we will also showcase some great
pairs of bass fishing shades that are both stylish and
America's # 1
Polarized Sunglasses: Costa Del Mar is
known for the highest quality sun lens in the world. In addition
to high quality and fashion, they use ophthalmic-grade materials
and follow professional standards of old world eyeglass
craftsmanship. Their polarization process provide 100% UV protection and filters blue light
thereby eliminating glare. Glare is high intensity light 7 to 10
times brighter than normal light. Glare can cause temporary
blindness, eyestrain leading to headaches, and it impairs your
vision for several hours thereafter. Glare is particularly
harmful to fishermen because water, even fog or rain, has natural
reflective properties that enhance reflected glare. All Costa Del Mar sunglasses
are polarized to eliminate glare. The remaining
light falls in a narrow range of intensity allowing fishermen to
enjoy viewing comfort, greater depth perception and true color
Frames are nylon, graphite, or nylon-composite.
Prices range from $72 and above.
The Hammerheads are a newer style of wrap-arounds
that fit closely. The frame and side arms are designed to help
prevent side and back light from leaking in and impacting your
underwater vision. The lightweight graphite frame Pro Sport has
also been recently redesigned. It now comes with an even wider
lens than you see above, wrapping around the sides of the frame
to provide a wider field of vision and to limit side light.
Designed for high performance water
sports, the H2Optix Marine Vision System is a series of
sunglasses by world famous SERENGETI EYEWEAR. Polarized space-age
polycarbonate lenses provide virtually 100%
UV protection and water
sheeting action. Extra-rugged
frames have a soft FLEX-GRIP
system on the temples and nosepad to stay in place no matter what
extremes you go to. And they’re so ultra-lightweight
(less than 1 ounce) that you won’t even know
Retail Price: $99 Your Price: $69 --
The Laguna and Atlantic are
the most stylish best sellers. They both feature a wider-angled
lens that partially reduces ambient side light. The St.
Croix and Tahiti both have side shields
to block light from the side. The Tahiti
has the desirable thin side post so as not to block your side
vision. Gulfstream and Seminole aviator styles are also available
with the Marine Vision System lenses.
MOAB II Many high
performance boaters prefer sports goggles. It's the best
choice for fishing huge impoundments and rivers where you often
have to travel many miles at high speed between hotspots
harboring fish. The Smith Moab II sport shield includes three
lenses, easily interchangeable to give you tremendous
versatility. Most importantly, a clear lens provides eye
protection from wind and weather while travelling under low light
conditions. The lenses are hardcoated polycarbonate for
optical quality and high impact resistance. And the aerodynamic
wrap lens minimizes the adverse effects of sunlight and wind. The
frame is lightweight and designed for a secure fit. The nosepiece
becomes tacky when wet, keeping the sportshield firmly in place
during a bouncy ride. A browbar air dam forces air down the
inside surface of the lens to help reduce fogging. You can't beat
these babes for what they do for under $50 dollars.
Some years ago, I
stayed at a Red Lion hotel in Seattle, Washington on business. It
was right on the banks of the mighty Columbia River. You could
walk out the back door of the hotel and start casting, and that's
exactly what I did the first night right after dinner. Well the
river was up, pulling hard and red with mud, but the night was
not a total loss. You see, I caught a late night infomercial for
Eagle Eyes on TV. The infomercial claimed that the lenses in
Eagle Eyes glasses provide you with the synthetic equivalent of
an eagle’s vision. Eagles are sight feeders and see best in
broad daylight - much better than we do. In fact, they have the
best vision of any animal on the planet. And do you know what
eagles spend a lot of their time doing? Looking under the cover
of the water's reflective surface for fish to catch, just like
you and I do! The price was right, they came in a protective
aluminum case with a lifetime guarantee against normal breakage.
I bought two pairs then, another pair a few years ago at K-Mart,
but have lost them all.
Of course, you cannot honestly compare Eagle Eyes to other
higher-priced eyewear. But in my book, they are the best pair out
there for under $20 dollars and then some! The lenses are
polycarbonate and, like all eyewear at any price, you can expect
them to scratch if you don't take care of them. But a real bonus
here is that your Eagle Eyes come in a crush-proof aluminum case
and with a lifetime replacement guaranty, even for scratches.
Other manufacturers. There are
many other fine brands and styles of sunglasses that bass
fishermen can benefit from wearing on the water. We only wanted
to mention just a few of them here to illustrate fishin' with
vision. See you out on the water!