So many sunglasses aimed squarely at anglers fail to meet anything like the performance level required for regular hard fishing. With that in mind Steve Souter puts the Costa Blackfin glasses to the test.
Costa sunglasses are among the best in the world and are specifically designed to deliver the highest possible levels of performance for anglers. The leading American company has been making cutting edge eyewear for 30 years, and their products are now available in the UK through distributors Seapower UK.
I spend much of my fishing time on various fishing boats and I have long had something of a love-hate relationship with sunglasses. Intense harsh sunlight and retina-burning glare straight off the surface of the sea goes with the territory and, if, like me, you suffer from migraine headaches then that orange ball in the sky can turn the most enjoyable fishing trip into a thoroughly hellish experience.
I Spy Through Squinting Eyes
Squinting eyestrain is so often the precursor to a thumping head, and many failed efforts to combat it have seen me wearing and quickly discarding numerous uninspiring sunglasses. My despairing experiences went that most were either so infuriatingly slack on your head that they never stayed put, or they were so damn tight as to guarantee the very headache that I was trying to avoid!
Snuggly fitting frames and good polarised lenses that counter glare and block reflected UV light are a big part of the answer. But if the frames are uncomfortable to wear, or the lenses of poor quality, or both, then the purpose is largely defeated. My opinion is that the vast majority of eye protection aimed at anglers is nowhere near good enough, and only a select few brands actually cut the mustard. Costa is one brand that stands up to the toughest of critiques.
Blackfin glasses are available in a choice of Black, Gunmetal, Camo and Tortoise frames, with high performance glass or plastic lenses that are 100% polarised for complete UV protection. The smart Tortoiseshell frames in my possession carried Costa’s 580G Green Mirror lenses.
Without getting too technical, 580 nanometres is the wavelength measurement at which hard visual noise in the form of yellow light is shut out within the visible light spectrum, prompting reds, blues and green colours to be enhanced.
These 580 glass lenses affect an instantly noticeable reduction in penetrating glare from the surface of the sea, allowing the wearer to clearly decipher shapes and movement below the surface of the water. The visual clarity is impressive, and, I can’t dispute the claim that these lenses deliver the clearest aspect available.
Glasses that don’t slip down your face are vital when fishing, and using messy baits is a further complication. Constantly having to adjust glasses with bait-smeared fingers transfers gunk to lenses, which is hard to clean off, giving the impression of looking through a fogged and bug-splattered windscreen. More than anything else, this persistent problem is the main reason that I have cast glasses aside in the past and knowingly suffered eye-fatigue on boats.
The Blackfin frames are trimmed with a soft plastic edging that resists slipping by securely adhering to the wearer at the bridge of the nose, sides of the face and on top of the ears. Described as a ‘Hydrolite’ co-injected lining, the anti-slip design feature is a revelation.
The frames sport generous width at the temples and wide hinges, which effectively serves to prevent light intrusion from the sides. The special lightweight glass used in their construction means that the Blackfins are no heavier than any standard pair of all-plastic glasses.
Looks That Kill
I want to argue that appearance is the least important consideration when selecting fishing glasses, but there’s no denying that how a pair looks is most often the deciding factor in whether or not they are bought. Comedy sunglasses resembling Roy Orbison or Ronnie Barker cast-offs don’t rock my boat in the slightest, and I suspect that most quietly fashion-conscious fisher people are likeminded. The Blackfin glasses certainly do not look like they belonged to one of the aforementioned, and these are just one of many choices of funky Costa frames.
Costa Blackfin glasses firmly tick the important comfort, clarity and style boxes and are absolutely fit for purpose. The Hydrophobic lining leaves you confident that that they won’t inadvertently drop off and tumble straight into the sea. Most tellingly, I am enjoying being able to see straight following several bright days on the water, and an absence of headaches is bliss.
Performance eyewear for sea anglers, boat work or driving doesn’t come any better than this. Costa glasses come with a lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects and the company offers a first class in-house repair service. These top-of-the-range Blackfin frames with 580G lenses come in at £269 but lens options start at £189.
At a Glance
- Style: Blackfin
- Frame colour: Tortoise
- Lenses: 580G
- Frame Material: Nylon
- Lens colour: Green Mirror
- Hydrolite lining
- Hinge Type: Integral
- Lens Size: 60.5mm/38mm<
- Temple Length: 132mm
- Size: Large
- Protective rigid case
Seapower UK Ltd, Appleton Lodge, Brayfield Road, Bray, Berkshire SL6 2BN