Sunglasses: The Most Underrated Fly Fishing Tool

Your eyes are debatably the most powerful tool in your arsenal, right up there with your fly rod and flies.  The vast majority of the year, our tail-waters provide great sight fishing opportunities and slowing things down/using your eyes more can make your day a lot more productive.  Challenge yourself to not throw a cast until you see a fish.  Having the right lens and staying patient will result in higher fish numbers. 
I have very sensitive blue eyes and can't step foot outside without having sunglasses on.  I believe there is a lens and frame for every occasion but will try to narrow it down for you in the hopes this helps you choose a better pair of shades down the road.  
Smith's display at IFTD
Smith's display at IFTD 
Glass vs Plastic
Most people see the extra $ on the price tag and resort to plastic but the extra money is worth it.  A clarity comparison between glass and plastic isn't a close one and a glass lens is night and day better.  I also like the additional weight vs something that feels a bit cheaper. 
Polarization cuts glare off of horizontal surfaces.  Glare off of surfaces decreases depth and reduces visual acuity with causes eye fatigue.  This is a more obvious one but you need a polarized lens on the water.  
Guides Choice and me needing a haircut
Lens Color 
I generally use a glass brown lens in Colorado but here is the gist on what different lens colors are designed for.  Make sure you try some on!
Dark colors (brown/gray/green) are designed for everyday use. Darker shades cut through the glare and reduce eyestrain in moderate-to-bright conditions. Gray and green lenses won’t distort colors, while brown lenses may cause minor distortion.
Light colors (yellow/gold/amber/rose/vermillion): These colors excel in moderate- to low-level light conditions. They are often great for skiing, snowboarding and other snow sports. They provide excellent depth perception, enhance contrasts in tricky, flat-light conditions, improve the visibility of objects and make your surroundings appear brighter.
Smith has some great visuals on their website tech page
Chroma Pop
Normally, human eyes have trouble distinguising between blue and green and red and green light.  Smith Chroma Pop lenses filter out these crossovers which increases clarity, definition, and natural colors.  My favorite example is in the spring when Colorado gets green and the foliage in the fall.  Wearing a nice chroma pop lens enhances natures colors and its like turning on an HD feature for your eyes.  The Ignitor and brown lenses are my favorite for Colorado and Smith's new green glass lens on the Smith Guides Choice for saltwater trips. 
Lets face it, everyone wants to look good and Smith/Suncloud nail the lifestyle shades.  To be expected from a company that also specializes in snow, biking and fishing.  Smith has a ton of options like the Transporter that look great for every day stylish use.
Smith Longfin and Guide Matt Weiler
Whatever you do, try on different styles with different lens colors somewhere that allows access to water.  We are located on the Blue River and lucky enough to have easy access from the shop.  This rule applies to fly rods.  If you are looking for a serious fishing lens, go try a couple out before forking out the dough.  
Here are my top 3 recommendations that I wear day in and day out..
The Guide's Choice has several glass lens options and they provide great coverage over your eyes.  I wouldn't call these the most sytlish shades on the market but they are the best option if you are looking for a pure fishing shade.  
Both stylish and technical, the Longfins have side shields that look great and minimize sun glare.  This is a great shade if you are looking for an all in one option.  Something you can wear out around town and they also get the job done on the water. 
Great option if you are looking to make a statement with your eyewear.  These are aviators with some extra style added in.  You still get the chroma pop lens so these work on the water as well.
Thanks for listening, 
Ben McCormick 

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