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uptrout 04-30-2002 01:05 PM

Polarized Sunglasses?
What is the difference between $10 Polarized sunglasses and $200 glasses? Is the difference mostly in the quality of the lenses and frames or do the expensive glasses actually block out more glare and allow you to see more easily into the water? I'm looking into buying a new pair and have gone with cheaper pairs in the past. Any advice on purchasing a new pair?

Nick 04-30-2002 02:03 PM

Others may disagree, but here's my opinion.

You really do get what you pay for. The $10 ones are OK, they scratch easily, break easily, and have no warantee at all. Some have found $50 dollar glasses that are really nice, but there is something about really nice ones ($100 and up ballpark) that make my eyes relax. The optics are perfect allowing for true vision. The lenses have better scratch resistance and the frames are sturdier.

Taking all that...I wear Costa Del Mar's Euro Frames with green polarized lenses. Glass. I love them. They are amazing on the flats of Cape Cod as well as most inshore fishing situations. The glass is heavier (and reportedly more dangerous) than the poly carbonate, but I can take them and throw them in a backpack without any cover and still sleep at night. I can also wipe the salt crystals off with my T shirt and have nothing to show for it. As far as danger is concerned, I always cast with the wind to off my left side, even if I have to cast backwards. Takes care of that problem.

One last thing, the warantee on top quality glasses (Action Optics, Costa, Oakley, etc) is amazing in my experience. They usually replace or fix for free or sometimes a small fee.

If you lose glasses all the time, go with the cheap ones. If you know they'll be around, I'd say go for some nice ones. Try them out, you'll be amazed at the difference.

Lefty 04-30-2002 04:15 PM

Polycarbonate ones don't shatter. And when you sit on or loose em they better be the el cheapos.
Get to MArshalls if you want to score a pair of $50-70 Bolle's for about $20. I posted this on the other board. You won't miss any fish either with the cheaper varietites. The exception might be if you're a flats hound. Then the investment is worth it. OR if you're careful enough to take care of a nice pair. Not me.


striblue 04-30-2002 05:30 PM

I agree with Nick.. and I swear by the Maui Jim's Copper lens.They are a great glass and really "comfortable" for your eyes.. hey..there your eye's and you should get the best you can afford. I just splurged on the Maui Titanium polycarbon... I can hardly feel them on .They cost alot but also come in an unbreakable case and the titanium has memory.

TinMan 04-30-2002 07:23 PM

Love my Maui's
Some of the reasons I like the more expensive Maui Volcano's (wish there weren't so much of course):

The spring loaded hinges

The dual shaded lenses (brown top and bottom, grey in the middle)

The glare shades built-in as part of the frame's shape

I don't know if there are shades of polarization, but I find this to reduce glare extremely well.

Wish they were just a TAD darker on those very bright days and lighter on cloudy ones, or when fishing under trees on a stream.

Eddie 04-30-2002 08:35 PM

I think that a good pair of polarized glasses are among the top four most important pieces of gear(a little more important than a good rod, a little less important than good flys and a good line). So much of our success, pleasure and safety depends on seeing well. So, get the best you can afford. Get two or three pairs if you are flush.
Some thoughts:good glass lenses are better optically than good poly.
Glass lenses are more scrath resistant(they are more likey to scratch if they are plastic than glass ones are likely to break). Plastic might be safer, but I doubt it.
Plastic are lighter,cheaper and more comfortable.
Stay away from green and grey lenses. Copper,amber, brown, and yellow(for low light)provide better contrast.
Don't get really dark lenses unless you are welding. Fish are always lurking in the shadows, and in over cast and dawn/dusk conditions,we need all the help we can get. Get a cheap pair for scoping out chicks or dudes or whatever. They're hard to miss.
Make sure they fit well and don't allow a lot of light to relect on the inside of the lense.If you see relections, pass on those John Lennon specials. Think Bono. If they fit too tight, however, they will fog up easily.
I like the "Chums" and "Abel" retention straps(sounds like a painful treatment for incontanence). Your head will come off befor you lose them.
Good brands for fishing specs are Maui Jim, Costa Del Mar, and especially Action Optics(cheap frames, but good lense colors). I have heard that Oceam Waves are good too. Action Optics make the best prescripion glasses.
Get a tacky pair that you would be embarrassed to wear(big blocky frames with side glass). Think Elvis in a bass boat. That way you will only wear them fishing, and will be less likely to loose them.
This should be in the "Gear Section". I gota keep the numbers up.

TinMan 06-05-2002 10:17 PM

I have no vested interest in Maui Jim's, but I recently broke my Volcano's, which they said they would fix for free, but while at the store I tried these on and MAN, are they incredible! I usually will spend for for titanium only if it's in a rod or for my road bike, but these are really incredible - you forget you're even wearing them:

fredaevans 06-05-2002 11:50 PM

I'm not quite at the 'bump into a wall without glass' time.
But Darn! I wish perscription lens weren't so dam pricie. Got you on one, then add Pol., then add, then frames.

And unless you where spec's the size of a dinner plate, 'clip ons' are darn near as expensive. $1.50 worth of materials .... and $35-$50 bucks.:eek:

DFix 06-06-2002 08:10 AM

Ran into my eye doctor at the mall and asked about prescription sunglasses ( I really need them now, too) - "how much???"

"Hundreds $$$" (very matter of factly) :whoa: :eyecrazy: :whoa:

Eddie 06-06-2002 02:28 PM

Polarized glasses from the opticion are not a good bet for the fisherman. The frames and lenses are really expensive, and the lense color is often a little green(even if it is amber).
I'm sure the frames are of better quality, but the mark up must be huge.
Action Opticts RX glasses are about 170 bucks and I am very impressed with the quality. These are perfect for fishing and after rod/reel/line/leader/fly, the most important piece of gear I have. Maui Jim(very good but $$$), Costa del Mar(also very good) and Orvis(only OK.) also offer good fishing RX glasses.

John Desjardins 06-06-2002 02:57 PM

Fred & Dave I can tell you from experience that $170 for the Action Optics is much cheaper than what my optometrist charges. I can also tell you that it took about a year to get my hook set on dry flys back after buying prescription sunglasses. Wish I could talk about using the Action Optics glasses.

DFix 06-06-2002 03:05 PM

So, the next stupid question is
(Presumably :rolleyes: )

Take my prescription to someone who deals with the various dealers and go from there? I wear progressives and it wasn't easy to get adjusted to them. I'm beginning to think it's easier to go with Fitovers or some industrial safety glass from the local emporium.

I know I didn't begin this discussion, but thanks to uptrout and the rest for the q&a.

juro 06-06-2002 04:21 PM

Three ways to go:

1) buy cheapos and don't worry about 'em

2) buy $50-70 polycarb polarized and try to squeeze 2 seasons out of them

3) buy $150-250 and enjoy the best there is in featherlight titanium polarized technology

For the last few years I've been a "2", averaging 1.5 seasons per pair. Frankly, it's very economical (good price/performance) but there are two tough things about it:

- it's hard to find good glasses at mid cost
- you need to take care of them or they will be toast in short order

Bolle's are often available at this range at REI/EMS, although it sounds like Lefty got them at "level 1" prices. Costco carries a polarized polycarb at ~$70 with titanium frames that are su-weet and I am thinking about them for a next pair.

You need to keep "type 2" glasses on a loop around your neck or they will get destroyed. Never wipe with paper, like glass, only soft cloth. Those loops are the biggest single contributing factor to scratch-free polycarb lenses, in my experience anyway.

AND THEN... I saw the top of the line Action Optics and tried them on... then the Maui Jims at Concord Outfitters... suddenly I am thinking hmmmm.... maybe I am a "level 3" kind of guy afterall. Hey - Father's Day is coming up! :devil:

My last $50 pair are still doing great (18 months old). I suspect that I will be buying another pair mid-season. They will probably be "3" (first time ever for me).


Experts say pick copper lenses for fishing. I can't wear amber cause I can't see the brake lights in front of me when I do. I use grey lenses and seem to be able to see fish in the water pretty damn well, almost invariably better than the folks I am fishing with.


I wear polycarbs because my brother the eye surgeon convinced me to. In eye trauma, it's often the glass splinters that do the most damage and polycarb doesn't shatter. That's not to say shatter-proof glass isn't great, I am sure it is. Like many things it's just a choice you make.

The safest glasses are the ones you wear most often. Choose a color and model that you will wear every time you go.

Like Nick said, casting as the wind predicates is the biggest safety factor of all. Keep the wind blowing away from you on the casting side.

FredA 06-06-2002 05:46 PM

I've been wearing the Fitovers over progressive lenses for two seasons and find them adaquate. Would love to get a pair of top quality Rx, but they would have to be bi-focals, unless I have a fishin caddy to tie my flys on. The Action Optics Rx's sound interesting. As far as glass vs polycarbonate, I'm paranoid about my eye's. As desciplined as you might be about casting with the wind on your favorable side, there is no accounting for momentary "dumb a$$". Take a look at the right lense of my glasses next time you see me. Out harmlessly practicing my casting in the back yard when the fly gets caught in an apple tree. Gave the line a little flick and get the shank of the practice fly right in the back of the lense. Really dumb but dumb happens.

Eddie 06-06-2002 06:08 PM

I have the Costas in poly and the Action optics in glass. Both RX. I used to wear fit overs. When you spring for the RX, it will rock your world(that's a good thing). Really, they are that good.
I like glass becuse they are less likely to scratch. Now I also have the poly carb, and they are lighter which is also nice. The glass has better optics. I don't think that glass RX polarized lenses will "shatter"(the glass sandwiches a film of polarizing material), but as a surgeon, I'm sure that Juro's brother has seen all sorts of things.
Action Optics does bi focles. Call you local dealer and ask them about it. You will never go back to fit overs.
I need RX, so I have given this a lot of thought and tried most every thing. Juro, you have developed a good eye for fish, but I don't think that most people will benifit from Grey lenses. Vermillion, copper, amber, brown, yellow, are provide better contrast. Unless you are trying not to rear end that car in front of you.
Wow, we have ammassed quite a data base regarding Fishing goggles.

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