Offshore fishermen must watch baits carefully and look for the flash of a billfish 10 feet below the surface. Inshore anglers need to see subtle differences in bottom structure and pick up dartlike shapes against mottled backgrounds.
So the abilities to see clearly, to block glare and to dial up polarization and contrast are key to many successful saltwater fishing trips. That means anglers must prepare their eyes for this work with proper glasses.
For those of us with less than 20/20 vision, the choices have been:
But now, there’s a third choice: Transitions Vantage lenses. Transitions — a company long known for its photochromic prescription glasses that darken with UV exposure — debuted Vantage in mid-2012. But the technology began making its way into fishing and boating markets late last year.
Vantage lenses not only darken with UV exposure, they polarize. I heard about Vantage lenses last September, and have since sampled a pair while offshore and inshore fishing. I also included them in our February issue New Products column.
I was skeptical at first — that’s my nature — but the glasses have certainly proven to be a viable alternative to contacts and prescription sunglasses.
Like many people with astigmatism, I see much better with prescription glasses than with contacts. So the clarity and crispness I get with Vantage satisfies my first priority. Not only can I see detail at a distance, but also up close. (I have a progressive-lens prescription.)
The Vantage lenses also darken as UV exposure increases. So in brightest sunlight, they — like most sunglasses — block 85 to 95 percent of visible light. The polarization reacts similarly.
I first wore the Vantage lenses on a sailfishing trip off Miami in December. I brought along a pair of prescription sunglasses for comparison. The day was sunny and fairly warm, but in December, even the daylight over Florida dims slightly due to a lower sun angle.
I saw the same color changes and easily picked up the baits with both. However, subjectively, I felt I saw with a little better clarity using the Vantage lenses — which didn’t quite shut out as much light as my mirrored sunglasses.
The dark, mirrored sunglasses might have blocked a little more glare — hard to tell — but they also blocked more visible light. There’s always a balance when selecting what works best in which conditions. That is an advantage to Vantage: They darken according to conditions.
My eyes also felt comfortable and relaxed throughout the day. I experienced no eyestrain, nor did I squint.