Holliday and others sing the praises of properly polarized sunglasses that are not too dark. The lighter glasses "bring out and accent the color, making it easier to spot fish," Holliday says.
"While darker sunglasses are more comfortable and reduce strain in very bright light...you're also compromising your ability to see well," says Mark Fisher, director of outdoor sales for Wiley X.
Lighter colors such as amber, copper and vermillion - brown-based lenses - also block more blue light, says Ed Moody, vice president of product development for Costa. Blue light - one of the visible colors in the spectrum of sunlight - focuses imperfectly on the retina and causes an effect called blue blur, which makes us see less clearly. "A good pair of quality lenses blocks most, but not all, blue light. About 4 percent to 6 percent blue is all we need," Moody says.
Polarization, of course, remains key. Polarizing filters reduce glare. Properly polarized sunglasses feature a filter sandwiched or encased within the lenses, not lenses that have been dipped or coated, Moody says.
In addition, Fisher says Wiley's patented, removable Facial Cavity Seal "protects" polarization by blocking side and back light and their associated glare.
Photo: Bill Doster for BoatingLAB
The final qualifier for a good pair of sight-fishing sunglasses is quality optics, Moody says. And while that can be hard for a consumer to assess, asking the right questions of reputable dealers delivers results.
Several of the captains interviewed expressed a preference for Costa's 580 lens technology because of its color-enhancement properties. Moody says 580s block distortion-causing yellow light (at 580 nanometers). "It adjusts the amount and type of light coming through the lens into the eye," he says. "It's like a graphic equalizer."