There is no question that sunglasses and caps are “musts” for outdoor activities. They are often thought of for saltwater fishing when scouring flats for “ghosts”— bonefish or when offshore fishing for billfish. But they are equally important when bass-boating around for largemouth, wet-wading rivers for smallmouth or carefully tiptoeing through trout streams.
Sunglasses are important to prevent or reduce cataracts in your eyes later in life from sun damage and also to prevent long term wrinkles and crow’s feet from squinting all the time over the water and into the sun.
But while sunglasses are important, not all sunglasses are the same. Sunglasses come in many styles and lens colors, with a lot of them Guccied-up for the so-called in-crowd. But you can get good serviceable reasonable cost sunglasses along with those that are prescription ground, those with bifocals so that you can tie knots and those designed to fit over regular prescription glasses.
A must for fishermen are those with polarizing lenses that cut glare and also allow spotting structure or fish underwater. Regardless of the type, one trick to using them is to alternately kink or turn your head from side to side so that you can more easily see underwater and eliminate glare as the polarizing lenses do their work.
For high sun and bright days, brown, gray and dark copper lenses are best, since they allow minimal light transmission of about 12 to 17 percent. This color of polarizing lens will give you maximum sun protection. Blue or gray is often best for open water fishing such as on a large lake, with brown or copper optimal for general fishing. For fishing at each end of the day or in dim light, yellow is often best, both for good contrast and also high light transmission of 25 to 32 percent. Thus, while perhaps initially expensive, it helps to have both dark brown or gray and light yellow glasses for all fishing throughout the day.
Coupled with this, a good hat or cap is a must for any fishing. I like baseball style caps but I also make sure that I lather my neck and ears with high number sunscreen to keep from French-frying parts of me that should stay protected. A floppy full brim hat is another option as is a saltwater cap with a fold-down rear flap or a white handkerchief tucked under a cap to protect neck and ears.
In any case with any cap, it should have a very dark or black under brim. This will keep any sun rays bouncing off of the water and hitting the under brim from bouncing back into your eyes. For the floppy hats that lack this feature, you can correct it with a wide permanent felt tip black marker to color the under brim area. And just remember that while sunglasses and caps are not fishing gear, including them on all trips will make that fishing experience a lot more fun while protecting your eyes and skin.