Q Do you have an opinion as to which lens color on polarized sunglasses is a good all-around choice for inshore and flats fishing. I have read articles that suggest that vermilion is a good choice. If you could only choose one pair of glasses, what would you pick?
If I were limited to a single color of polarizing lens for freshwater and inshore fishing, I would select the tan-yellow ones. Years ago the popular brand was called Cosmotan, and many manufacturers still make such a color. There are some things to consider when purchasing a colored polarizing lens. What suits one person often doesn’t suit another. For example, I have noted that people with brown eyes often prefer a lens a little lighter in color. People with blue or green eyes find that the brighter color will usually cause eyestrain.
There are two reasons for selecting polarizing sunglasses. The first is obvious: They eliminate surface glare, which allows you to see through the water. But there is another reason for using such glasses. Many flats species – striped bass, permit, bonefish and tarpon – have silvery sides. This acts as a mirror so that they reflect to a viewer the color of the bottom they are moving over. That is why, for example, you can see a striper, bonefish or tarpon much easier if it is swimming toward you. You are looking at the dark back that doesn’t act like a mirror.
Why is this important when selecting polarizing glasses? To better see the mirror-like sides of a flats fish, you need to build as much contrast as possible between the fish and the area it is swimming over. For that reason, polarizing glasses come in many colors. Any hunter who has worn what we call shooting glasses knows that on rainy or low-light days these brilliant yellow lenses act is if the lights have been turned on. That is because the yellow dramatically increases contrast. The best polarizing lenses, I believe, will have some of this yellow in them. In fact, I use similar yellow polarizing lenses on overcast or rainy days. But on a sunny day the yellow lenses are too bright for almost anyone, so tan, copper or a darker tint is added. This reduces eyestrain, but the yellow builds contrast.
You asked for my personal choice. I use brown Hobie Sightmaster polarizing glasses. If you are not sure what color is best for you, buy an inexpensive pair of clip-on lenses in different colors. Try them, and then make your selection.