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Why you need polarised lenses for fishing
Polarised lenses are different to standard sunglass lenses; they have a special film either sandwiched between two other layers of the lens or applied to the front of a lens. What this special film does is eliminate glare that reflects off a surface like water. Light waves from the sun travel in all directions but when sunlight strikes a surface like water it becomes concentrated – this polarised light, as it is called, causes glare. Non-polarized sunglasses only reduce the amount of light entering the eye; they don’t block glare. Polarised lenses block glare and allow only useful vertical light to enter so you can see much more clearly.
Glare makes it difficult and uncomfortable to see and can cause eye strain. Glare also distorts the true colour of objects and makes them harder to distinguish. With polarised sunglasses you get glare-free vision, clear contrasts and more natural colours. Cutting glare is not only good for spotting fish, but also reduces squinting and eye fatigue. When you’re spending a full day on or by the water, being able to reduce squinting and eye fatigue is clearly beneficial: prolonged exposure to glare on the water causes eye strain and can in turn lead to headaches.
Most anglers now appreciate the benefits of using polarised sunglasses. Polarised sunglasses cut through the surface glare on the water allowing you to see what lies beneath more clearly.
Being able to see below the surface not only helps you spot fish, but also allows you to see reed and weed beds and any subtle signs of where fish might be resting. It will also help you judge the depth of a stream when fly fishing. Surface glare just puts a barrier between you and the fish.
Anglers do worry about losing their sunglasses – which can prove costly if you have opted for a premium quality pair. So it makes sense to always use a lanyard (also called cords and retainers). A simple, inexpensive way of ensuring your sunglasses don’t disappear into the water. And top tip – never perch your sunglasses on your cap!
Are all polarised sunglasses the same?
The short answer is no. Almost all polarised sunglasses under £50 use a lens material called TAC and the thin polarised film is usually on the front of the lens. This means over time it can scratch and eventually lose some of its polarising properties. On higher priced polarised sunglasses (typically above £50) the lens material is likely to be polycarbonate or Trivex. Here the polarised film is sandwiched between two layers of polycarbonate meaning the polarised film can never wear out.
What lens colours are best for fishing?
The popular polarised lens colours for fishing are:
Grey – Good for bright / strong sun conditions.
Brown – Another good colour for bright sunny weather but adds contrast and helps sharpen the field of vision.
Amber & Copper – Also add contrast and ideal for overcast conditions.
Rose – Increasingly popular colour for fishing: a high definition, high contrast colour that sharpens the vison field – good for tired eyes.
Yellow & Yellow-Amber – Ideal for dull conditions and low or poor light.