The Best Fly Fishing Sunglasses for the Saltwater Flats

The Best Fly Fishing Sunglasses for the Saltwater Flats

When choosing the best sunglasses for fishing, matching the correct polarized lenses for the job is imperative. While that may seem evident initially, the wrong lenses are often used for the incorrect applications. Whether one is going to fly fish Cuba with Stillwater Travel. Or fly fishing Belize or fly fishing Florida, they must have the best sunglasses for fly fishing the salty Flats.

The best sunglasses for saltwater fly fishing the Flats will not be the best for fly fishing the deeper blue water. So how does one choose the best polarized sunglasses color for fly fishing, the Flats vs. the deep blue ocean? Let’s examine how to select the best sunglasses for fly fishing the Flats.

Casting to a target is way easier.

“11 O’Clock. 60 feet. You got’em?” Those should be very familiar words to any angler that has stood on the front of a skiff in search of Tarpon, Permit, or Bonefish. “Short. 10ft longer and 5ft more right.” Those would be the other dreaded familiar words remembered.

The first battle in the Flats fishing war is spotting the fish before the cast is made. When an angler can spot the fish quickly, they increase their odds tremendously by having an opportunity to cast to that fish more accurately and present that fly to the fish better, hopefully on their first attempt. Ask any Florida fly fishing guides, and they will agree it is way, way, way easier to cast to a specific target than to cast to a general area.

The idea is to present the fly to the fish so that it’s the fish’s idea to eat the fly vs. the angler’s vision to make the fish eat it. Suppose a fly can be appropriately presented to the fish on the first attempt. In that case, the odds increase dramatically that the fly can be delivered to the fish without the target being alerted, thus making it more the fish’s idea to eat something they have happened upon vs. being force feed by the angler. Many seasoned guides and anglers believe the odds of hooking Flats fish in pressured fisheries decrease by 50% with every additional cast.

Why Polarized Sunglasses for Fly Fishing the Flats.

To spot fish on the Flats, one has to learn to look through the water rather than at the water. This sounds simplistic but needs to be learned and practiced. Polarized lenses reduce or eliminate the glare on the water and allow the angler to see into the water. Not to get too technical on polarization, to say polarized lenses have a particular chemical applied to them to filter light so that only some light passes through the lens. This makes the images crisper and darker than usual, making details easier to see. Those who have spent hours searching the Flats for a target are happy to admit they will take all the help they can get. 

The Best Polarized Sunglasses Color for Fly Fishing the Flats.

When sunglasses are worn for everyday comfort, the lens chosen typically works best for relieving eye strain, usually a darker grey, green, or blue lens color. However, the lens has a two-fold job when fly fishing the Flats. The best sunglass tint for fly fishing needs to provide the best contrast to see the target and allow for relief of eye strain. The need for a lens on the Flats is to create contrast between the different shadows, while the requirements for a lens in deep blue water are to mainly provide eye relief. Thus, the green and blue lenses are typically worn by anglers fishing blue water while not being as effective as those on the Flats.

The Bronze Mirror lens is best for most anglers exploring the Flats. While there isn’t one size that fits all in the lens due to different angler tolerance levels to various brightness levels and eye strain, the bronze lens brightens the objects seen through the lens and allows excellent contrast to be caught by the angler. High contrast with low eye strain is precisely what an angler wants as they will look through the water for shades of the various fish species, not the actual fish. 

The low-light yellow lens is a close second to the bronze mirror lens. In fact, for many guides and anglers, it’s their first choice. The only reason is that it makes things too bright for some and creates eye strain. For those that it doesn’t create eye strain, it is their top choice. Many times, this lens is referred to when there are cloudy conditions. The yellow lens brightens up the objects seen through the lens and creates maximum contrast. Every angler should have a pair of these lenses on the Flats, whether they only wear them during cloudy conditions or tolerate wearing them during any lighting conditions. 

Best Smith Sunglasses for Fly Fishing the Flats.

The Smiths Guides Choice and Guide Choice XL and Guides Choice RX custom prescription lenses offer anglers some of the best lenses and features in polarized sunglasses. The Guides Choice frames are built with premium Italian spring hinges and ChromaPop lenses. These frames are incredibly durable and comfortable, blocking light from the sides.

We would not be caught on the Flats without a pair of each one of these polarized fly fishing glasses, and neither should you! Here are a couple of links to products we recommend.



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