Do Sunglasses Help You See Fish In The Water?

When you are out fishing, especially in the spring and summer months, the sun can wreak havoc on your eyes. One of the biggest questions I have asked, and have been asked of me is if the sunglasses I wear can really help people see more fish in the water. There is of course some science behind this because the sun glaring off the water can make your vision into the waterless clear than we would like it to be. What if we bought name-brand sunglasses, or polarized sunglasses, would that help cut the glare down on the water so we can actually see the fish? Well, let’s try to break it down and find out in this article, whether you should go out and spend hundreds of dollars on a pair of sunglasses, or buy a cheap $5 dollar pair at the gas station even would help you and your fish game.

The simple answer is YES, some sunglasses do actually help cut the glare down by a ton making it much easier to see in the water, but no sunglasses are going to give you X-Ray vision to see fish. Depending on what brand and shade of color you get will help your fishing game, and also save your eyes from harmful sun rays, while making it easier to spot things like fish, weed beds, and sandy spots on the bottom of the water.

If the water is murky you might have a harder time seeing the fish than in a clear body of water, but you will still get the protection from branches, flying tackle, and other obstacles that might harm you. Sunlight can cause some serious damage to your eyes even if it is a cloudy day, so glasses will help. I use O2O glasses because they are fairly inexpensive, and come in a variety of colored lenses, check them out HERE.

What Is Polarized

It’s time for a short science lesson behind polarized lenses and how light works on the water. Light will normally move in all directions unless it gets reflected off of a flat surface, and when it does that, the light will move in a uniform fashion causing it to become “polarized”. Polarized lenses in sunglasses have special filters that block this type of reflection, so it reduces glare and helps you see what is actually there. This will also be true even if the water is a little choppy, or have waves because the body of water is still a flat surface.

Does Brand Matter

Oddly enough, YES, brand can matter when you are looking at sunglasses, and different lenses. Sunglasses can provide protection from UV (ultraviolet) Light, intense light, glare, and some even eliminate specific frequencies of light depending on the brand you buy.


When you buy a cheap pair of gas station sunglasses, they normally will not provide any protection against UV rays, so you are not getting the best protection for your eyes. Most of the time, the more expensive the sunglasses there are, the more protection you get from different light. Always check with place you are buying them to find out if it is just the brand you are paying for, or the protection level for your eyes.

What Color Lenses Work Best

This is normally a personal preference thing for most people, but I have pooled answers from professional anglers, and here is what they say is the best for fishing and different conditions:

  • Early Morning/Cloudy/Foggy: Amber lenses. Amber seems to illuminate everything more, so in low light conditions, you will get better and more vibrant vision with the amber lenses.
  • Mid day/Intense Sunlight: Gray lenses. The darker gray lenses when fishing in the heat of the day when the sun is blasting, will help cut most of the reflective light out making things easier to see and help your eyes.
  • Beds/Weeds: Yellow Lenses. When fishing bodies of water that have lots of weed lines, or beds for fishing, the yellow lenses will help see lighter spots, or sandy areas to help you place the bait in the right spot.

Protect Your Eyes

It is important for all anglers to know the importance of keeping their eyes safe while fishing. There are a couple of reasons for wearing sunglasses while out fishing, and it is for more than just seeing fish. First, your eyes are very sensitive to sunlight, so when your parents told you not to stare into the sun as a child, they were right.

Wearing sunglasses will help keep your eyes from taking damage from the glare off the water, and getting burned by the sun. Another good reason to wear sunglasses is to keep your eyes safe from tree branches, or even fishing tackle that you might get snagged.

If you snag a branch or bush and pull really hard, sometimes the lure or hook can come flying back at your face, so you run the chance of it smacking you straight in the eyes, so wearing sunglasses can keep your eyes safe from accidental injury.

X-Ray Vision

No matter what brand, or type of sunglasses you buy are going to give you X-Ray vision into the water to spot all those fish. Remember that as the water gets deeper, colors start to fade out, so at 20 feet, colors like orange and red fade out. As you get deeper blues and greens will fade out depending on how much light can penetrate through, so if you are fishing a crystal clear lake, you might be able to see about 15 to 20 feet down, but after that, its not going to happen.

sunglasses on beach sand

There is one caveat to this when fishing a river, or something with a current. When you fish waters with a current or water that is fast moving, blues and greens tend to fade first. Keep this in mind for the next time you go fishing so you can use the right bait.


All in all, polarized lenses will help you with being able to see fish better in the sense that it will cut down the reflective light and you will be able to see more clearly in the water. Different colored lenses will help some in different light situations, but are not going to make you see every single fish that is under the surface.

Sunglasses, especially polarized ones, will save your eyes from harmful sun light, and also keep your eyes safe from obstacles. This is one area where you should really buy a higher quality item, but remember to do your homework and make sure that just because they are expensive, they have the right light protection for your eyes.

1 thought on “Do Sunglasses Help You See Fish In The Water?”

  1. Thanks for writing and publishing the article. I found it to be very helpful in that I was just getting ready to submit a question regarding polarized sun glasses.


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