One of the most important pieces of fishing equipment an angler can have is a great set of polarized sunglasses. Note that I did not write “a good set of sunglasses.” You need a great set.

They provide the window into the world you are trying to penetrate. They unveil the tracks of the species you are tracking while keeping your eyes relaxed and relatively free from wind and glare. I vividly remember my first pair of Bill Dance Strike King sunglasses. They were comically large and uncomfortably rigid, but they changed my fishing. In a blink, I could see the bream beds in the pond. I could see potholes in the grass flats. I was actually able to occasionally see (although far less frequently than I imagined) the redfish and speckled trout that I so desperately wanted to catch. It was transformative.

The beauty now is that like most things, sunglasses have evolved. They are lighter, form-fitting and the lenses are spectacular. You can pick a variety of lens colors to meet your needs and a fit to conform to every shape and size of face. If you do not have an excellent pair of sunglasses, get them as soon as possible. Some could argue that a rod and reel is more important than your sunglasses (and they have a point), but glasses cannot be far behind. If you can’t see, you can’t catch. It’s that simple.

There are a lot of great brands of sunglasses on the market, and you should experiment with several in your local tackle store. Unabashedly be the annoying guy/gal who gets the salesperson to allow you to try a number of pairs. Look outside and in, and make sure you are comfortable with every aspect of them. A great pair of glasses will change the way you look at fishing….literally. (See my July The Gear post to check out my favorite pair.)

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