Whether scanning the flats for bonefish, permit, or tarpon, or creeping along the bank of a gin-clear side channel in hopes of spotting a wild trout, when it comes to sight-fishing; polarized sunglasses are a must.
That being said, while most anglers today are well aware of the advantage of polarized lenses for reducing glare on the surface of the water, we’ve found many of our anglers are unaware of the difference the color of their lenses can actually make under certain circumstances.
For years, we’ve been big fans of yellow or amber-hued lenses for periods of low light (mornings, afternoons, cloudy days, etc.). That’s why when Costa Del Mar released their latest and greatest ‘sunrise silver mirror lenses, a yellow lens with a silver mirror coating, we knew we had to get our paws on some. We did, we recently put them to the test, and today we’re going to tell you how we think they stack up.
Yellow lenses are an incredible tool for spotting fish in some of the most difficult conditions. They allow a greater transmission of light than darker lenses (i.e. they let more light in while still cutting glare) and several of our guides in both the Bahamas and Alaska rely on them when the light gets low. However, while they work well on the water, most yellow lenses also allow your eyes to be visible from the outside, making the wearer look more like Hunter S. Thompson than an angler. That is until now.
Aptly named, Costa Del Mar’s Sunrise Silver Mirror lenses feature a silver mirrored coating on the outside of the lens giving a bright mirrored appearance in direct sunlight (see photo above) while providing a vibrant yellow hue to the world looking out (see photo below).
Translation? All the benefits of yellow/amber lenses combined with all the style points of mirrored lenses (they’re sunglasses after all, don’t kid yourself, style matters). It’s a combination we’ve had our fingers crossed for years for and, needless to say, they didn’t disappoint.
In Low Light
We tested the Sunrise Silver Mirror Lenses in 580P (Costa’s top-shelf polycarbonate lens material) at Andros South and found them to perform as expected during low light mornings and late afternoons. The lens was crystal clear (which we’ve grown to expect from Costa) and the yellow hue did seem to increase contrast as advertised to help spot fish when the sun’s angle was far from ideal. According to Costa, the reflective mirrored coating also helps to cut glare by reflecting light away from the eye but without comparing against a non-mirrored lens we can’t say we noticed the difference, although we can say in full confidence that it certainly didn’t hurt.
What we were most impressed by was how well the lenses performed during the days that most saltwater anglers dread; overcast skies, chance of rain and thundershowers, etc. In fact, we wore them during a couple of miserable weather days (see photo below) and were blown away by the increased visibility compared to darker lenses.
Truth be told, we even got use to wearing the lenses around the lodge when it was raining because, well, the world just looked better through them.
In Bright Sun
Our initial concern for the Sunrise Silver Mirror Lenses was that the yellow-hue and high transmission of light would be too bright under bright skies, potentially causing eye-fatigue over prolonged use. However, we didn’t find that to be the case.
When switching from a darker lens to the Sunrise Silver Mirror Lenses, we did notice a few seconds required for your eyes to adjust to the change, but once adjusted we found no issues of eye-strain under changing light conditions making it a great all-day lens for those frustrating days of variable light of sun, then clouds, then sun, then clouds.
Would we choose to wear the Sunrise Silver Mirror Lenses all day under blue skies and bright sun? Probably not, we’d still opt for something more in the copper range under direct sunlight. That being said, you most certainly could which is why we think they’re ideal as a backup/secondary pair of shades for the boat bag.
Costa’s lenses tend to get the majority of the press, but we believe their frames deserve some attention too. We tested out their new Motu frames (pictured above) and found them to be a solid all-around frame for anglers. They provided good coverage around the eyes, although didn’t wrap too closely around the face to reduce ventilation.
We also passed them around to several staff members with different face shapes/sizes and found them to fit comfortably on a wide range of faces from large/medium sized faces to your humble editor’s pin-head as well.
If you spend any of your time on the water sight-fishing, unless you plan only to fish under blue sky, we highly recommend adding a pair of yellow lenses to your arsenal. Costa’s Sunrise Silver Mirror Lenses are one of the most innovative things we’ve seen come down the eyewear pipe in a long time and have earned a spot as one of our go-to lenses both on the flats and the river.
Sunrise Silver Mirror lenses are available in both 580P (polycarbonate) and 580G (glass) materials and are available in a number of different frame options. For more information, check out the frames shown above on Costa’s website by clicking right here, or visit your nearest Costa Del Mar dealer.