See More Fish, Catch More Fish

Prescription-sunglass service offers an easy way to improve your odds on the water.

Fishing with SportRx Sunglasses

Fishing with SportRx Sunglasses

Chris Woodward (left) in her Oakley Twenty prescription sunglasses from SportRx, and Jim Hendricks (right) and friend (a California sheephead). Hendricks is wearing Oakley Straight Jacket wraps.

A few months ago, SportRx — an online prescription glasses and sunglasses fulfillment service — contacted a number of our editors to try out its system. SportRx, a southern California company created by opticians, caters to outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds, including fishermen and female anglers. Jim Hendricks, Sport Fishing's Pacific Coast editor, and I decided to take SportRx up on the offer.

Both of us use a fairly complex prescription that involves progressive lenses with either astigmatism or widely varying corrections for each eye. In addition, Jim is — of course — male, and I’m a female. Because SportRx has its own lab and because the opticians who run it are themselves outdoors enthusiasts, they specialize in sunglass styles like the wraps we use on the water. Wraps can be fairly tricky because, as their name suggests, they wrap or bend around the face for full coverage, which better blocks glare. When you bend a prescription lens, it can start to warp the wearer’s perspective.

I spoke on the phone to Rob Tavakoli, SportRX sales and marketing manager, and emailed him a copy of my prescription from my local optician’s office. I told him that I’d really like to try a pair of glasses for offshore use, with gray lenses and blue mirrors, and that my face size was small. He suggested three different frames from Oakley, Wiley X and Bolle. I chose the Oakley Twenty, and ordered them that day. About 10 days later, SportRx emailed the shipment confirmation.

Anglers can do the entire process themselves, however. At the SportRx website, you can search by prescription, by sport or by gender. Jim followed the online procedure. "The online-ordering process proved simple," he says. "I first obtained my latest prescription from my optometrist, including a measurement called the 'pupil distance.' "Then I selected the frames. I got the Oakley Straight Jacket wrap-around frames in polished black. I chose these particular frames because the width dimension closely matched that of my existing prescription glasses. These frames are light and more comfortable than any corrective lenses I have ever had."

Jim wanted a lens color that would work well in the hazy offshore conditions he experiences in his home waters off Los Angeles. He selected polarized brown lenses with a green mirror. “These have really helped with brightening and increasing contrast on overcast days, which was my goal,” he says.

The pupil-distance measurement Jim mentioned is key in generating the best prescription experience, and it’s especially important with progressive lenses. “SportRx got this perfect, too,” Jim says. “I am told that they estimate where this will be, but will correct the placement if it is not right for you.”

My experience was similar. And while it always takes me a little while to adjust to the prescription wrap, once I adjust, my vision is natural, and quite honestly pinpoint perfect. A few weeks ago, I tried using my new glasses to sightfish for tripletail off my coastal Georgia home, and I saw fish well away from the boat and even saw them beneath the surface at a distance.

Consider this: I’m a 5-foot-1-inch female and my husband is a 6-foot-1-inch male. With him standing atop the leaning post of our bay boat and me on the foredeck, I was spotting tripletail he couldn’t see. Now that’s a real fishing advantage!