What are Costa Brine sunglasses?
Costa is an American sunglasses manufacturer which is famous for making specialist polarised glasses for anglers. They're particularly popular with fly fishers as the polarising features are said to be among the best on the market. This can let you spot far more fish than you would without them. Costa Brine polarised sunglasses come in a range of frame colours and lens colours to suit all tastes and light conditions.
Why do fly fishers need good sunglasses?
These are not solely for looking good (though that's a handy side effect). First, they'll protect your eyes from wayward flies shooting through the air at 100mph, but the main reason is that they polarise light making it possible to see through the reflections on the water surface. This won't give you the magical ability to turn water completely transparent, but it does make a big difference to your ability to spot fish. Being able to see fish lets you target them by sight, which you'd never achieve without decent sunglasses.
What frame colours are available?
Costa Brine polarised sunglasses are made from bioresin. They're a unisex frame suitable for men and women (and larger children) and come in several colours including tortoise, gunmetal and black. George has a pair of the Costa Brine sunglasses in black, which we think look pretty cool!
What size are Costa Brine sunglasses?
We picked these specifically for their small size, as George is obviously not very big. That said, they do fit me and Mrs Fly and Lure quite comfortably, though I think they suit smaller heads better. Costa says the frame is 126.7mm wide, 36mm high and has 58.8mm lenses and a 117mm arm length. It's worth trying on a pair for size before you buy, just to make sure they fit comfortably.
What lenses do they come with?
Unlike standard sunglasses, which usually come with just the one lens option, Costas are available with a choice of glass or plastic lenses and in a variety of different colours. The latest Costa Brine sunglasses feature either 580G polarised glass lenses or 580P polarised plastic lenses in the colour of your choice.
Unlike cheaper lenses, the mirrored bit is sandwiched between two pieces of glass to protect it from getting scratched. The glass is also said to be 20-22% thinner and clearer than other polarised lenses. For a price, Costa will even add your prescription to the lenses!
What colour lenses should I pick?
It depends where you fish. Costa sunglasses are available with seven different lens colours to suit different types of light and water conditions and you're supposed to select the one closest to your needs, or use more than one pair. We went for a pair with green mirror lenses which provide high contrast and they work very well in a range of brighter light levels, without being unusable as the skies darken.
|Blue mirror||Open reflective water|
|Green mirror||High contrast|
|Gray silver mirror||Everyday activities|
|Copper silver mirror||Natural contrast|
|Sunrise silver mirror||Low light|
What are they like to use?
While we can't do a like-for-like comparison with any other lens colours from Costa, the green ones George has do seem very effective. When fishing alongside me using my bog standard polarised glasses he has commented on parts of the lake bed I've never seen and couldn't see with my glasses and is able to spot fish far better than I can - even to the point of stalking specific perch and trout in the margins! He's been very impressed with them and thinks they're leaps ahead of his old Wychwood and Airflo polarised glasses.
On the river they performed even better. I was astonished at how much you could see wearing the glasses compared to without. The got rid of pretty much all of the surface glare, allowing you to see the river bed several metres out, including the boulders, substrate and submerged weed beds. Without the glasses all you could see where impenetrable black waves. They definitey work well.
How much do they cost?
Costa sunglasses aren't cheap, but they do look good and are excellent quality and really effective for fish spotting. As George fishes every weekend, we're sure that he will get many years of use out of his pair, which justifies the high price - they're usually around £200 a pair, but we picked these older style ones up for around £100.