By Nick Simonson
It’s been a long mix of chilly winter and underwhelming spring. Cold temperatures, snow, rain and general nastiness extending into May have built up a longing for the warmth of the later stretch of the season and the start of summer, and maybe with recent changes in the pattern, just possibly, that warmup is coming. With it comes the search for one vital fishing tool that not only reminds me that even in the cloudiest, coldest stretches, the sun is up there and getting stronger and a set of sunglasses is or will shortly be in order.
I’m not an expensive sunglasses guy by any means. A cheap pair from the cardboard rack at the back of a fishing section usually lasts a season or two, and with a layer of polarization material gives me the vision I need on the water to pick out the shadowy form of a largemouth bass under the removed reflectivity of the water’s surface. I’m less concerned about fit than function, and whether it’s oval eye wraps or a bit boxier standard pair, the lenses will serve their purpose with an added element of fish finding on those longed-for sunny days in the near future. I figure I’ll look cooler with a fish in hand while wearing them anyhow, whether they compliment my facial features or not.
Additionally – as a fly angler they not only help in picking those missile-shaped fish out on small streams, or sizing up the horde of early summer bluegills moving in behind my surface popper – those glasses provide a vital layer of protection. Anyone whipping the long rod has, from time to time whether due to bad form, a snag on the back cast or a missed hookset, sent a dressed hook of some sort back in the general direction of their face. And while the Spartan soldier Dilios may have pointed out in the movie 300 that the gods were fit to bless us with a spare, protecting both eyes from airborne sharp and pointy projectiles is always a good idea.
Those towing crankbaits throughout the warm water season know the risk as well, as walleyes are hoisted over the gunwales of the boat, flipping and frequently tossing the hooks, which boast three such prongs that more than once have come too close for comfort to an avant garde eyebrow piercing. In addition to providing protection from the sun’s rays, even the cheapest set of shades from the discount bin will provide a shield from those errant hooks that are part and parcel to the angling experience.
I learned at a young age, the most expensive sunglasses are often the shortest lived, and the price-to-productivity ratio is inversely related. The more a set of shades costs, the less likely it is to stick around. Whether crushed under a misplaced footstep on the bow of the boat, blown away with a baseball cap from a strong gust of wind or a sudden acceleration of the outboard, or simply knocked off the dock and into the water, it’s not uncommon for my sunglasses to meet their maker long before their time, and it seems the spendier they are, the quicker they go.
With so many inexpensive options out there to get the technical aspects of the job done, and the super low price point for polarized lenses these days, I’m all but guaranteed to have a set on hand from one past season or another. True to that formula, those pairs seem to last. While some of them have their frames held together with a pinch of duct tape, others have lenses that constantly need to be popped back into place, and still others are likely collecting dust in the console of the boat, under a truck seat or stashed in an old tackle box, they are all a welcome encounter when it’s time to hit the water at this point in the season. From polarization to protection there’s no better addition than a set of sunglasses to a warm spring outing with the sun shining, a light breeze blowing and the fish biting…in our outdoors.
Simonson is the Lead Writer and Editor of Dakota Edge Outdoors.
Featured Photo: : Polarized shades provide the added ability of seeing below the surface, while protecting eyes from errant hooks – making for better angling on a couple of levels. Simonson Photo.