Sunglasses [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Sunglasses

10-28-2008, 06:28 PM
I'm in the market for the best sunglasses out there for shallow salt water fishing, and would appreciate the opinion of those who have one.
From what I've read, Costa Del Mar seems to be on top, especially with the 580 lenses, and it seems the amber or copper color would be the best bet.
Informed opinions would be greatly appreciated.

10-29-2008, 07:40 AM
There was a recent thread with extensive testimonials.

I've been a Maui Jim guy for several years now... in fact I still have the pair that converted me from other brands. Their service is excellent, I've had them in for repairs a couple times.

I do not wear prescriptions or have the reading style split lenses which I hear Action Optics is among the top brands.

BTW - I use both the copper color and the gray. One is better in lower light, the other for true color recognition which is a key factor in sighting on the flats for me that I've noticed many take for granted. The contrast in the copper is sharp and I need both.

10-29-2008, 08:25 AM
I switched over to costas and wear the harpoon with the 580 green mirror glass lenses if I am out in the daytime and sight fishing.

I had read somewhere a good number of florida sight fishing guys were switching to the green mirror so I gave em a shot and for my eyes they are the best sight fishing glasses I have ever had.


10-29-2008, 05:49 PM
I can only say that I agree with juro on this and have several pairs of maui's...each in copper and grey..... a couple plastic and a couple glass...the plastic are the lightest weight sunglasses I have used or seen...Maui has corrected the potential cracking on the light weight frames that attach directly to the lense.... thay have also began manufacturing a green lens which I will also try. The green lens is not on all models until thay see how they sell.

10-29-2008, 09:32 PM
just to make your choice more confusing, i too, just bought the costa 580 harpoon in the green mirror. The mirror is really the same as the amber lens 580, but it has a coating on it that supposedly reflects a bit more glare. I called costa and told them i wanted the "ultimate bonefishing glasses" and they said to go with the green mirror 580.

one of the things to consider is that plastic lenses are significantly lighter, but i've found the glass to be much more scratch resistant. i have two pair of costas and my 3 year old picked my 400's off my hat and tossed them on the concrete at the pool this summer, and no scratches.

10-30-2008, 06:15 AM
I can't get used to all that glass weight on the bridge of my nose, the Titaniums are light as a feather.

I scratched up the first pair but got smart after that and now make them last for several years without scratching. Just use a neck loop, cinch it up when leaning on the gunwhale to land a fish and you're good for years with plastic. Some companies will replace the lenses for short $ if you are not the careful type, or go with glass.

Polycarb lenses are safer for the eyes since much of the injury occurs from the glass itself vs. the object shattering it. "Plastic" will not add to the damage in fact it's the same material used for shop goggles. Skiers will not use glass lenses, shooters, etc.

10-30-2008, 06:36 PM
Great input already. As an add-on to the same subject, How do you buy them? I don't think I have a strange head, but if I go to a dealer to try on glasses, each model fits differently ,none of them just right, and no one can have the model you want, in the color etc. you want, so you have to order one or more pair to put it all together. To me that says you can't order through Eyesave etc. and get a deal, which sends me toward doing business with an optical store that can fit what I like.

10-31-2008, 06:55 AM
Some things are best purchased from brick and mortar. For me this is true of almost everything except cookie-cutter supplies.

For instance I buy strings bulk on line but never ever an instrument. I'll buy socks on line but never jeans. I've bought hooks on line but never feathers.

The retailer who has invested in stock to let you try them all deserves the business, IMHO. Otherwise they will vanish and we will lose the option.


10-31-2008, 07:15 AM
I made the mistake last year of buying a pair of Costa del Mar sunglasses online.
The lenses are great but I found that the bottom edge rubbed on my cheek. This is not the case with Mauis which fit perfectly.
Without being able to use Metaphor, if something needs to fit properly then buy it from a store.

10-31-2008, 09:07 AM
I strongly recommend going to a store too, but for a different reason. sunglasses are one item in which there are a lot of fake items out there and buying them online would concern me. check out costa del mar or maui jim's web sites and they should list the dealers closest to you. you can always try on frame stlyes for fit and then order that frame with a specific lens that you want. let us know what you decide.

10-31-2008, 06:43 PM
As a former surfer/bodyboarder dude I am totally fan of Black Fly sunglasses. Slogans like: me myself and fly and it's my way or the fly way make them even more perfect for our beloved sport.
I like them with tortoise lenses (europe) or just black lenses for the caribean. defintely good polarizing effect and you can not buy yourself a mistake, they go for around 30-40 USd on that famous auction site (including s&h). Worth trying.

11-03-2008, 03:38 AM
For years I fished with a pair of Arnette copper lens Swinger Minis I picked up in Hawaii. My good buddy was trying to convert me to Action Optics (Smiths) for a while, especially their glass lens models, but was conflicted on the subject. He said that if they helped me see fish better than those old Arnettes it might be an unfair advantage.

But, I eventually did "upgrade" and have mixed feelings. One, the glass IS heavier, even though Smiths' lenses are very thin and light. Two, the frames seem designed for imaginary heads - either much too big or too small. I have two lens colors in the same style frame and both fit slightly different. Strange. Three, you do have to try them on and while the best prices are online (that I found) it makes it tough to try them on. But, there's a way around that. Go to and order a few pairs that you think you might like, basing the size on the sizes they give. Then simply return the pairs you don't like. Shipping is free both ways! I ordered like 3 frames before I decided on the ones I finally bought.

I will say this for the Smiths: they are crystal clear and I love the photochromatic feature which adjusts to the light conditions. This allows you to fish earlier and later in the day without changing glasses. Also, Smith has a kick-ass service center and lots of their models (especially the glass lenses) come with a lifetime warranty. My only real beef is that they seemed much harder to clean and keep clean than my old "plastic" lensed Arnettes.

Speaking of, I had those since 2004 and they only have a tiny scratch on one of the lenses where I dropped them. If you care for your shades you should have no problem with plastic, and you can't beat the lightness of them. Also, believe it or not, I liked the fact that they DID NOT have that shitty anti-reflective coating on the inside lens. Man that crap is super-hard to clean properly. ANY moisture makes it want to smear like crazy. My advice, stay away from that crap... an example of something that seems like a good idea at the time. Besides, with wrap around frames now light seepage isn't really much of an issue for me, especailly not with my cap pulled down tight. In fact, now that I realize that I might spring for another pair of poly-lens Smiths that DON'T have that coating.

As for flats fishing lens colors, my favorite is really the copper lenses on my old Arnette Swingers.

Tight lines,

11-03-2008, 06:26 PM
Pretty consistent advive. Wife and I go to Marathon for Feb and Mar and I note there are 9 Costa del Mar dealers right there. One of them has to have a good fit in copper.

11-03-2008, 09:13 PM
One final point I discovered today after picking up new contacts... the green lens new Maui's have a bifocal magnifier built in to the lense . Which would be excellent for difficulty in tying knots and flies onto the line.... for those who need that. If that sells they will be putting that feature on other colored lenses. The cost for these plastic Maui's is $179.....

11-04-2008, 01:14 AM
Hi John
I bought a couple of pairs of bifocal Mauis from the opticians in Chatham when I was there last spring. I got the plastic frames and one pair with brown lenses and the other with black. They are very good for someone like me who needs reading glasses. I now do not need to put on my specs to tie on flies etc.


11-04-2008, 09:30 AM
Pete..thanks for that info...I wear contacts when I fish to see far... and need to slap on magnifing reading glasses to work on close things like tyeing flies and knots, etc....If I just wore glasses I still need to take them off to see with a maui copper or browm lens it would really help me with that juggling act...Thanks.