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Fishing with Mike O'Brien

by Mike O'Brien
Polarized Sunglasses Protect Eyes and More
 
 

Some lessons are learned the hard way. The sun blasts its rays from a cloudless sky, only to reflect from the mirrored water with an intensity that makes one squint their eyes in protest. For many fishermen, this scenario means more than missed opportunities; it means a throbbing headache or worse.
People wear sunglasses for a variety of reasons, maybe to enhance their image or to merely make a fashion statement. But for the angler, good vision can be critical to success. I am puzzled by the number of fishermen who don’t wear sunglasses. The sun is our enemy, and a good pair of sunglasses is the best defense. High quality sunglasses should be considered as essential as a fishing rod.
Polarized sunglasses offer eye protection. They safeguard the eyes from harmful ultraviolet and infrared radiation entering the eye directly or reflected by water. This reduces eyestrain. Sunglasses also help protect eyes from damaging elements such as wind, saltwater spray, dirt or dust, and snow, sleet or rain. In addition, your eyes are covered for those times when a strong wind or an errant cast places a hook near your face.
When light is reflected from the water’s surface it is intensified into annoying glare. Polarization is not a light-blocking tint, but rather a filter for this reflected light. The lines of polarization run vertically in a polarized lens, blocking all horizontal reflected light (glare) from entering the eyes.
Polarized sunglasses grant us vision into the aqua world. At times, they allow us to see the fish we pursue. Good polarization can allow anglers to examine what their bait or lure is doing in response to the presentation and, at times, see how the fish are reacting. A good pair of sunglasses gives better depth perception and increases casting accuracy. You will also be able to wade more safely when you can survey the stream bottom.
Polarized lenses are made from either glass or plastic. Developments in polarization technologies maintain optimum color integrity while enhancing contrast. Glass lenses are typically more expensive, but provide the best optical quality and clarity. They are more scratch-resistant than plastic lenses.
Two types of plastic lenses offered today are polycarbonate and CR-39. The latter, a hard resin polymer, is popular. Although you won’t pay as much for these as glass lenses, they are less scratch resistant and do not achieve faultless polarization. Polycarbonate is the least expensive and a little more durable than CR-39. However, this type lens scratches the easiest and does not offer the same optical quality. Plastic lenses are lighter than glass, and are gaining in optical clarity and definition.
Good polarized sunglasses offer optical performance and distortion-free viewing in a variety of lighting conditions. Brown colored lenses are my favorite and probably the best all-around shade. They offer high contrast enhancement and true color during bright conditions and perform well when fishing shallow waters, streams, and flats, especially those with side shields. The other color I recommend is yellow or amber. They provide the highest contrast and are an excellent choice during low-light conditions or during overcast days.
Keeping your sunglasses clean is important. Alcohol pads work great for this and can be easily kept in a vest or shirt pocket. Another trick is to spray the lenses with RAIN-X. This beads any water away that comes from spray or rain, helping keep the lenses spotless.


 
 
Click on a writer's photo below to read their articles.
 
 
Jim Webb, Jr.
From The Publisher
 
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Jamie Spencer
 
The Jaded Eye
Gerry Ayers
 
Faith Conversations
Tim Hartzell
 
 
 
 
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