A couple weeks ago we kicked off the first installment of our “Guide Poll” series of posts where our team of professional fly fishing guides weigh in to answer common questions asked by you, our readers!
Today, we’re continuing the series with answers to a question we receive all the time from our guests in preparation for their trip to our lodges; what’s the best lens color for sunglasses?
Polarized sunglasses are arguably the most important piece of gear that any guide (or angler for that matter) can own. They allow you to spot fish, read water, wade safer, and protect your eyes from errant casts. They’re critical to safe and successful days on the water, but the fact remains, when it comes to polarized lenses there are also a staggering number of options available!
Deciding on which lenses can be overwhelming.. That’s why we thought we’d lend a hand by asking the pros..
What’s Your Favorite Sunglasses Lens Color?
Dan Herrig, Owner/Guide, Deneki Outdoors: “Copper. I find it translates best to varying sky conditions.”
Kyle Shea, Head Guide/Management Team, Alaska West/Andros South. “For the vast majority of conditions, my go-to lens color is a copper mirrored lens such as Smith’s Polarchromic Copper Mirror or Costa Del Mar’s Copper Silver Mirror lenses. Dark enough for blue-bird days but light enough for overcast skies, I find copper to be the most versatile under the most light conditions making it a great all-around lens for bouncing back and forth between the gray days of Alaska and the blue skies of the Bahamas. That being said, I’ve recently incorporated Costa’s new Sunrise Silver Mirror Lenses into my arsenal for extremely low light conditions. A yellow lens with a mirrored face, they’re a game changer when sight fishing in low light without making you look like Hunter S. Thompson.. That’s a win win.“
Jim Palmersheim, Guide, Alaska West: “Amber or copper. Most of our fishing in Alaska is on cloudy days with low light conditions, and Amber or Copper hued lenses seem to be the best trade-off.”
Jason Whiting, Operations Manager/Guide, Alaska West/Andros South. “Copper or rose lenses (such as Oakley’s Prizm Shallow Water Polarized lenses) or anything that creates a high contrast in the water and brightens things up a bit under low light conditions.”
Ben West, Guide, Alaska West: “I have multiple pairs of sunglasses with different lenses that I like depending on the cloud and sky conditions. For sunny or partly cloudy days I use my Smith Chroma Pop Copper Mirror Lenses as they are my go-to lens for everything outside of heavy cloud cover. On those Dark days, I’ve grown fond of Costa’s yellow-hued ‘sunrise’ lenses! Here in Alaska, we fish under a lot of dark skies and rain. These shades work great when the light is low, and actually brighten up your day!”
Tom Houska, Guide, Alaska West: “If I could only have one pair of sunglasses I would choose a pair with black/gray lenses. I’ve found gray lenses to be very diverse across varying weather conditions and are a safe bet for most days, especially when the sun is high.”
Ryan Gossett, Guide, Alaska West: “My favorite sunglasses color is yellow, such as Smith’s Low Light Ignitor lenses. I like a lot of contrast, and I like having a bright lens for low light conditions which happens to be a lot of the great fishing days/good times to fish.. Especially up here in Alaska.”
Cole Cook, Guide, Alaska West:“Even tho I look mega nerdy (you can see your eyes after all), my favorite pair of shades are Smith’s Guides Choice frames with their Low Light Igniter lenses. Yellow/low light lenses are the ones that matter. Even on sunny days they get the job done.“
Lucas Young, Guide, Alaska West: “My favorite by far are the Smith Polarchormic Ignitor lenses. The tint is a light rose color and the Polarchromic feature darkens or brightens the tint with changing light conditions, making them wearable in all but the lowest light hours. They are an incredibly versatile lens that has made them my go-to for years now.”
Cole Leishman, Guide, Alaska West: “For cloudy days, I like the Low Light Igniter lens from Smith Optics. The PNW is largely dark and rainy throughout most of the year and this lens color allows me to see through these soft light conditions. A close second would polarized brown, also from Smith. Outside of Alaska, my favorite fish to target during the Summer months is carp and this is a 100% visual game. You cannot feel the grab, you don’t blind cast. The brown polarized lens allows me to see every take during those high sun days whether it is dead calm or raging winds from the Columbia River basin to Bush, Alaska.”
Have a favorite lens color that’s not listed above. Tell us about it below!