9 Best Polarized Fishing Sunglasses: Reviewed & Compared

by Andrew

9 Best Polarized Fishing Sunglasses: Reviewed & Compared

by Andrew

by Andrew

Fishing requires lots of gear, from the boat itself to smaller items like bait and lures. Every tool used for catching fish has to be high-quality if they’re going to work. Safety gear like eyewear to keep bright glare and harmful UV rays at bay is no exception. Read on for the full rundown.

Preview

Product

Lens Size

Light Transmission

Check Price

Oakley Men's OO9096 Fuel Cell Rectangular...

Oakley Men’s OO9096 Fuel

Medium/Large  60 x 19mm

12%

Costa Del Mar Men's Fantail 580P Polarized...

Costa Del Mar

Fantail

Medium

59 x 38mm

10%

KastKing Skidaway Polarized Sport Sunglasses...

KastKing

Skidaway

Medium

58 x 38mm

Unspecified

Wiley X P-17 Sunglasses, Polarized Smoke...

Wiley-X P-17

Medium

61mm

13%

Native Eyewear Kodiak Polarized Sunglasses,...

Native Kodiak

Medium

60 x 37mm

12%

Flying Fisherman 7812BS Sunglass

Flying Fisherman Maverick

Large

58 x 42mm

Unspecified

Strike King Optics Polarized SG Okeechobee...

Strike King Okeechobee

Medium

Unspecified

Polarized Clip-on Sunglasses Anti-Glare for...

Fish Man Clip-On Sunglasses

Medium

59 x 39mm

Unspecified

Mens Polarized fly fishing sunglasses with...

V.W.E.

Small

41mm

Unspecified


How Do Polarized Sunglasses Work?

Although the human eye cannot distinguish the difference, light can reflect off objects in unorganized rays that scatter in many different directions, or they can bounce away uniformly, mostly in one direction, which is called polarizing.

When light scatters off horizontal surfaces like water, it polarizes, bouncing off the surface entirely horizontally, which creates glare. Polarized lenses have a chemical applied to them that’s laminated vertically to counteract glare from horizontal surfaces by blocking it.


Benefits of Polarized Fishing Sunglasses

Not only do polarized sunglasses help anglers avoid eye strain and damaging eye conditions like UV keratitis, but they also help see fish underneath the surface of the water. Sight fishing for bass or other fish in beds during the spawn is much easier with a pair of polarized sunglasses that offer a view fairly deep into the water.


Polarized Sunglasses Buying Guide

Fishing Environment

  • Deep-Sea
    Glimpse exotic targets and reduce glare off the top of the waves. Using a gaff will be much easier!
  • Rivers & Lakes
    Seeking out beds of bass during spawn or targets like sunfish in murky water is much, much easier when you can see what you’re doing.
  • Ice Fishing
    They won’t let you see through the ice, but polarized sunglasses will still reduce eye strain from glare off the top of the ice and snow.

Lens Features

  • Material
    Polycarbonate is a lightweight, thin, durable plastic. Lenses made with an advanced polymer called NXT have injected polarization and are even more durable.
  • Coating
    Lenses can be coated for polarization and water- or scratch-resistance. Coatings can wear away and create spots on cheaper lenses.
  • Color
    Different colors have different advantages, but it's more complicated than just matching the color to the water—more on this below.
  • Curvature
    Curved glasses fit more snugly but sometimes cause problems with breathability.

Frame Shape & Style

Different frame shapes suit different head types. Square frames may bother some folks because the sharp corners can contact the cheekbone. Larger lenses give a wider field of vision but may not let air through as well. Some frame styles have rimless or semi-rimless lenses, which lets more air through and may suit personal preference but can also make them more brittle and vulnerable to damage if they’re dropped.

Sunglass Size

Folks with larger heads sometimes require a pair of sunglasses either specifically sized for wider circumferences or flexible enough to fit without falling off. On the opposite end of the spectrum, smaller noggins often have trouble with larger lenses and frames resting on their face too much or falling off completely. The wrongs sized sunglasses might lead the wearer to leave lots of annoying fingerprints on the lens during adjustment and cause general discomfort.

Extra Accessories

  • Neck Straps & Flotation Devices
    Sunglasses can be lost forever if they fall into the water. A neck strap secures them close at hand. Attach a float to them, so if they do wind up in the water, you can scoop them up off the top.
  • Cloth & Cleaner
    Cleaning lenses with a shirttail or other fabric can cause scratches, as can washing them off in the ocean. Dedicated cleaning solution and microfiber cloths will keep them clean and clear.

9 Best Polarized Fishing Sunglasses Reviewed

1. Oakley Men’s OO9096 Fuel

Our Top Pick

Lens Material

Plutonite (polycarbonate)

Lens Color

Blue

Lens Size

Medium/Large -

60 x 19mm

UV Protection Filtering

100%

Light Transmission

12%

Warranty

 2-year Limited

Built to give a clear view without magnifying, refracting, or otherwise distorting wearers’ field of vision, these Oakley polarized fishing sunglasses offer clarity and comfort while providing top-rated UV ray protection.

While the majority of fishing sunglasses are made from acetate, these Oakley frames are made from a nylon material they call O Matter. It’s 25% lighter and twice as strong as materials common in other frames. These frames are also really flexible, able to accommodate repeated donning and removal as well as a fair amount of strain.

Oakley’s Fuel sunglasses boast a perfect 100% UV blockage rate, including UVA, UVB, and UVC. The 60mm by 19mm lenses ensure that UV rays are blocked from harming your eyes and the skin around your eyes. A 130mm temple length, which is the length of the arms that rest on the side of the head, guarantee a snug fit.

The lenses are made out of tough Plutonite, Oakley's proprietary polycarbonate material, and both lenses are manufactured together to create a flush, stylish curve across the whole pair of glasses. A case and microbag for protecting and cleaning the lenses are included.

Prescription lenses can be inserted into these frames with the same polarized protection and Plutonite strength. These Oakleys are the best rated polarized sunglasses for fishing and our top pick, specifically designed to reduce glare off the water and ideal for sight fishing or a long day on the water.

Pros
  • Snug fit
  • 100% UV protection
  • Tough frames
  • Bag and case included
  • Prescription-compatible
Cons
  • Potentially long shipping time

2. Costa Del Mar Fantail

Runner Up

Lens Material

Polycarbonate

Lens Color

Blue

Lens Size

Medium 59 x 38mm

UV Protection Filtering

100%

Light Transmission

10%

Warranty

Limited Lifetime

Wider lenses give these glasses a wraparound feeling and help them block light leaks and give sharpness to objects in the periphery. Three different fittings are an option to suit different head sizes. Fantails are constructed to suit long days in direct sunlight hitting off the water, offering clarity and glare reduction thanks to the scratch-proof mirrors encapsulated between the external layers of glass in the lenses.

The polycarbonate lenses are also impact-resistant and covered with a special scratch-proof coating. There are a variety of lens colors available, but the blue lenses are the best-suited for use on open, reflective water. They're handmade and comfortable to wear. They can still be worn in slightly more overcast conditions without a sharp change in visibility. 

Nylon frames keep these glasses lightweight and strong enough to handle getting dropped onto the deck. For transportation, these sunglasses come with a carrying case to make sure they aren’t smashed up by all of your other gear. A cleaning cloth to keep the lenses nice and clean is also included.

The only drawback is a possibility of limited breathability that can lead to fogging if the sunglasses aren’t purchased in a suitable fit. Make sure to research sizes and buy the best fit. Besides this minor possible disadvantage, these Costa Del Mar polarized fishing sunglasses have everything an angler will need to fish in bright sunlight safely.

Pros
  • Scratch-proof & impact-resistant
  • Sharp field of vision
  • Carry case and cleaning cloth included
  • Comes in three sizes
  • Wider lenses for a more comprehensive view
Cons
  • May fog occasionally

3. KastKing Skidaway

Best Rated Budget Pair

Lens Material

Triacetate

Lens Color

Brown

Lens Size

Medium 58 x 38mm

UV Protection Filtering

100%

Light Transmission

Unspecified

Warranty

One-year Limited

Just like their reels, these KastKing Skidaway sunglasses offer all the benefits of costlier models without a huge price tag. The frames are heat-resistant and flexible enough to bend rather than break. They are surprisingly robust, considering their lightness, and stand up well to rough conditions on the boat or on the shore.

The square shape of the lenses is both aesthetically pleasing and ideal for covering an entire field of vision. Rather than sitting close to the cheekbone, the lower outer corner of these glasses rests away from the skin for most users, allowing airflow to cycle through and prevent fogging.

Skidaway sunglasses should block all harmful UV rays and prevent eye strain in bright and semi-bright conditions. To prevent loss of focus toward the edges of the lens, each one has gone through a decentering process. The view is sharp all the way across and free of common distortions like refraction and magnification.

KastKing sells these sunglasses in three colors to suit personal taste and provide certain advantages in different situations. The brown lenses offer improved contrast and depth perception, making them a good fit for sight fishing and following the arc of your cast a long distance. They also make a copper-colored version for low light and a grey, smoke color for really bright sunlight.

To sell these lenses at such an affordable price, they had to be made of triacetate. That being said, they are still plenty comfortable and tough, and we've labeled them the best rated cheap polarized fishing sunglasses.

Pros
  • Carry case & cloth included
  • Wide range of view
  • Breathable
  • Lightweight
  • Three colors available
Cons
  • Plastic frames

4. Wiley-X P-17

Best Polycarbonate Lenses for Fishing

Lens Material

Polycarbonate

Lens Color

Smoke Green

Lens Size

Medium 61mm

UV Protection Filtering

100%

Light Transmission

13%

Warranty

Limited Lifetime

These sunglasses from Wiley-X are most well-known for their Z87+ rating, a high-velocity impact standard required in many occupational safety regulations for use on and around worksites. That means these polycarbonate lenses are durable, and it also means these sunglasses can most likely double as work safety equipment for anyone in industries requiring such.

Besides the safety rating, these glasses are really comfortable and allow enough air in to prevent fogging and remain comfortable for longer periods. An eight-layer polarization makes the lens great for eye and vision protection in bright conditions out on the water. Unfortunately, the outer layer of the coating used to give these glasses this protection does occasionally begin to wear off after a few months. 

There are also rubber pieces in the bridge to help keep the frames comfortable on the nose, but these can begin to wear out or fall off after some time. That being said, Wiley-X has a customer support team that will help get everything sorted out according to their warranty against defects.

The fit of these glasses is snug enough that they won’t bounce or slide off even if you hit choppy water. They’re light enough that you won’t mind carrying them when not in use and won’t be uncomfortable wearing them all day. In addition to a cloth and carrying case, these sunglasses also come with an elastic strap and leash cord so they won’t fall off and can be hung up for quick storage.

Pros
  • Elastic strap included
  • 8-layer UV protection
  • Flexible frames
  • Z87+ occupational safety rating
  • Breathable
Cons
  • Nose pieces can fall out
  • Coating wears off

5. Native Kodiak

Best Polarized Sunglasses for Sight Fishing

Lens Material

Polycarbonate

Lens Color

Gray

Lens Size

Medium 60 x 37mm

UV Protection Filtering

100%

Light Transmission

12%

Warranty

Limited Lifetime

A lot of design tech has been included in these sunglasses. From the injected polarization film to the vent system, many signs of wear and tear from regular use have been delayed or prevented. The injected polarization prevents spots forming from coating wearing away or washing off, as happens with some down-market models.

Vents placed on the nose allow more air to flow through and prevent fog forming on the lenses. The lightweight and flexible frames stay comfortable for the duration of a fishing trip. The lenses are impact-resistant and hydrophobic (water-resistant) to make sure these glasses can last through rough conditions for many seasons.

The lenses also filter out superfluous light frequencies that can cause vision distortion, allowing the wearer to see their surroundings in much better detail. This makes them ideal for sight fishing, where being able to see a bed can make all the difference. In addition to protecting the eye from harmful UV rays, these sunglasses also protect against infrared rays. Specially designed cushioning on the arms and nose of these frames make them comfortable and also makes the fit more snug.

What’s certainly the most original thing about these sunglasses is the interchangeable lens system. Since Native sells blue, brown, grey, and green lenses as well, and each color suits a unique environment or situation, it’s neat to be able to have multiple lenses that pop in and out to suit lighting and water conditions.

Pros
  • Air vents built-in
  • Case & cloth included
  • Color filtration lenses
  • Injected polarization
  • Interchangeable lenses
Cons
  • Tailored for small to medium heads

6. Flying Fisherman Maverick

Cheapest Polarized Sunglasses for Fishing

Lens Material

Triacetate

Lens Color

Gray

Lens Size

Large 58 x 42mm

UV Protection Filtering

100%

Light Transmission

Unspecified

Warranty

1-year Limited

Besides their more unique look, there are lots these sunglasses have that competing models don't, which is a bit surprising considering their low cost. Semi-rimless lenses make them more breathable than sunglasses with price tags five times the size. The lightweight frame has a cushion with a good grip at the end of both arms and relatively strong joints. They're super comfortable, and the nose pads are single-piece rather than being flimsy inserts like you might find on some other models.

The lenses in these sunglasses are scratch- and impact-resistant. They’re also easy to clean and, most importantly of all, have robust visibility-boosting polarization built right in. They eliminate glare off the water and add extra sharpness to detail, but they have also been designed to boost the colors that are already there.

The gray lenses are great for fishing in bright light and distort actual colors the least. There are also amber lenses that provide additional depth perception and make great sunglasses for shallow-water fishing.

A special treatment called AcuTint enhances the color and crispness of the natural world with a particular blend of pigments in the lenses. While they aren't entirely shatterproof and aren't likely to be the most long-lasting pair of sunglasses you've ever had, these sunglasses have a great polarization treatment that makes them great for fishing, and they are the cheapest sunglasses for fishing.

Pros
  • Semi-rimless
  • Enhance natural colors
  • Comfortable nose and arms grips
  • Scratch- and impact-resistant
  • Great for bright light
Cons
  • Not as long-lasting

7. Strike King Polarized Okeechobee

Best Polarized Sunglasses for Fishing Under $50

Lens Material

Triacetate

Lens Color

Amber

Lens Size

Medium

UV Protection Filtering

100%

Light Transmission

Unspecified

Warranty

None

These sunglasses have been treated to handle all kinds of light well. They have been built to enhance the entire visual field and boost color in any condition. Optimal for clear or muddy water, these sunglasses are comfortable and lightweight enough, even if they lack some of the cushioning that some competing models have.

They have a rim all the way around and don’t have any design features that give them additional breathability besides the relaxed way they sit on the wearer’s head. That being said, they really don’t fog up very much.

Strike King has also built these sunglasses with a superhydrophobic coating that keeps out oil, dust, and water. This also helps prevent pesky water spots from building up on the lenses, leaving them clear and usable for a longer time.

The anti-reflective coating on the lenses is also convenient. Not only does it block bright light from the water, but it also prevents light from bouncing off the backside of the lens and into the wearer's eye, where it could cause damage, discomfort, or eye strain over a long period.

The polarization in these sunglasses is constructed in eleven layers and is really effective in shallows and makes spying beds really easy in water up to about twenty feet. Overall, these sunglasses are one of the most versatile you can find and the best polarized sunglasses for fishing under $50.

Pros
  • 11-layer polarization
  • Anti-reflective coating
  • Color-boosting
  • Hydrophobic coating
  • Great in any conditions
Cons
  • No cushioning
  • Less breathable

8. Fish Man Clip-On Sunglasses

Best Polarized Clip-On Sunglasses for Fishing

Lens Material

Triacetate Cellulose (TAC)

Lens Color

Black & green

Lens Size

Medium 59 x 39mm

UV Protection Filtering

99.6%

Light Transmission

Unspecified

Warranty

None

Constructed with a metal frame and four screws that are guaranteed to stay tight, these lenses are durable for a pair of clip-ons and just as lightweight and portable as clip-ons usually are. You might want to invest in a hardshell carrying case to keep them protected, but since these clip-ons are for folks who already wear glasses, it’s likely there’s already a case lying around somewhere.

They snap right on to a pair of glasses and have great staying power, making them ideal for running and other sports in addition to fishing. While they do have a slightly lower UV rating than the other glasses in this guide, the difference is negligible. They still offer plenty of protection against UV rays and bright sunlight, giving bespectacled anglers the chance to avoid eye strain without customizing a whole new pair of sunglasses with their own prescription.

It's effortless to transition to shade or indoors and return quickly to sunlight since these clip-ons flip up with a flick of the wrist. The outer layer of the lenses is treated to be scratch-resistant and smudge-resistant. They also repel water, so water spots shouldn't be a problem. A variety of colors is available to match these clip-ons with a variety of scenarios.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Smudge-resistant
  •  Durable
  • No water spots
  • Snap on quickly
Cons
  • Slightly less UV protection
  • No case included

9. V.W.E.

Best Polarized Sunglasses with Readers for Fishing

Lens Material

Polycarbonate

Lens Color

Black

Lens Size

Small 41mm

UV Protection Filtering

100%

Light Transmission

Unspecified

Warranty

None

Polarized bifocal fishing sunglasses can be hard to come by, but this pair from Vision World settles that problem. Just as effective against bright glare and harmful UV rays as any other pair of fishing sunglasses, these also have a small bifocal area to help put on lures without having to switch frames.

They may lack some of the cushioning seen on other glasses, but thanks to the give in their acetate-based frames, these sunglasses are still pretty comfortable. Their shape allows airflow to reduce sweat buildup, and fogging is no issue.

These sunglasses come with a handy carrying pouch, although a hardshell case might be required to give them the most possible protection when transporting them. They’re sized for smaller heads, which can be a disadvantage for some.

The metal hinges in the frame should afford a little bit of wiggle room in terms of the fit. The reading lens is untinted, which might be a bit distracting for wearers who aren't already used to bifocals. Still, after a short time, your eyes will adjust to it and disregard the color difference automatically. Bear in mind that anglers who need their own prescription, in addition to bifocals, will still have to buy a dedicated pair specific to their eyesight.

Pros
  • Comfortable
  • Flexible hinges
  • Lightweight
  • Great UV protection
  • Breathable
Cons
  • Small size
  • Untinted reading lens

Lens Colors Best for Fishing

  • Amber/Brown/Copper
    For all-purpose fishing, these are the best colors. They increase contrast and maintain a bright field of vision, making them great for use in sight fishing.
  • Green Mirror
    Green water sources like freshwater rivers and lakes can be seen in greater detail with green lenses. A mirror finish will help you see down into moving water with improved clarity. 
  • Yellow
    These are the best for use in low-light situations, like early in the morning or when the sun is going down. The sun can still cause glare even when the general light level is low.
  • Blue Mirror
    For really bright sunlight, blue lenses work best. To get the best contrast and reduce glare as much as possible, add a mirror finish to blue sunglass lenses.
  • Gray/Smoke
    Gray lenses work best in bright ambient light. They’re ideal for sight fishing in both freshwater and offshore fishing.

Customized Prescription Sunglasses & Polarization When Outdoors

The eye is a sensitive organ that requires a safeguard against glare and other straining conditions. But some folks are also going to need some kind of prescription to make sure they can see clearly with their sunglasses on.

Some lenses clip on to existing eyeglasses, but many of the best sunglasses can be outfitted with prescription lenses. Polarization paired with a personal prescription is ideal for preventing debilitating eye injury. They even make bifocal lenses that have been polarized.


Sunglasses Sizing Guide

There are three general sizes of sunglasses. Small sizes are 55mm and below. Medium ranges from 56 to 64 mm, and large sizes are anything above 65mm.

Different head sizes will need different size frames to get a snug fit. There are also different bridge sizes and arm sizes that will change how sunglasses sit on the nose and over the ears.


Caring for Polarized Fishing Lenses

Avoid using a shirt or cleaning your lenses in corrosive saltwater. Always use a dedicated cleaning fluid and a clean microfiber cloth. If that’s not possible, you can also use dish soap. Using the wrong kind of fabric to wipe them or clean them can quickly create scratches.

Store your sunglasses in a hardshell case when not in use, especially on a boat. Make sure that the case is secured to prevent it from going overboard. 


Frequently Asked Questions

What are Some Reasons Why Fishermen Should Wear Sunglasses?

Exposure to harmful UV rays can cause damage to important parts of the eye, like the cornea, lens, or retina. Glare off the top of the water can cause eyes to strain and, at the very least, lead to annoying headaches that prevent anglers from enjoying their fishing to the fullest. In addition to eye health and safety, polarized glasses help see into the water much better.

Can Polarized Sunglasses Help You See Features Under the Water’s Surface?

Maybe not to the depths of the sea, but polarized lenses can help you see through the water much more clearly to identify structure like sunken trees or even fish themselves.

Is Polarization Affected by the Time of Day?

Different color lenses will be more effective around sunrise and sunset. Light levels and cloud cover can also affect the effectiveness, and the greatest level of glare is generally around high noon.

Is Polarization Affected by How Choppy the Water is?

Glare depends on light reflecting off a horizontal surface. Polarization is a vertical coating, which you can see if you try to look through them when they're tilted on their side. Really choppy water should have less glare, but slightly rough water can still be really bright. As long as the surface of the water is still more or less horizontal, polarized sunglasses will still work.

Are Polarized Lenses Worth It?

There are many considerations to account for before purchasing a pair of polarized sunglasses, but they will save lots of discomfort and allow anglers to enjoy the entire day of fishing. Plus, the ability to sight fish a bass bed from a distance before the fish know you’re there can lead to some huge catches.

What Does Mirrored Lenses Mean?

Mirrored lenses have a reflective coating that helps reduce glare from solid surfaces. Pairing mirrored lenses with polarized ones gives you the best of both worlds, but be careful because the wrong pair of colored lenses can cause some color distortion.

What are Some Other Tips for Protecting Your Eyes and Face When Fishing?

The best way to shield yourself from wind, sun, and spray is a good wide-brimmed hat or visor and a face mask or a buff. A buff is a tubular piece of fabric that goes around the neck and can be pulled up to cover more of the face.

How Can I Tell if My sunglasses are Polarized?

If you aren’t sure, you can test polarization by looking through the lenses when they’re tilted to a 60° angle and about 6 inches away from your face. If you see some darkness in one lens, they’re polarized. Since polarization is a vertical treatment, you should be able to see a difference in polarized lenses by tilting them.


Conclusion

For the best protection against the injury-inducing glare and brightness of the sun, a pair of polarized sunglasses should be durable, fit snugly, and block 100% of UV rays. For anglers, no better pair hits the mark than the Oakley Men's Fuel sunglasses. Fish in comfort and safety with these low-profile shades as eye protection.

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