June 04, 2015

It’s 8pm and the spinner fall is on. The trout are rising, and you’ve identified the pattern. But it’s getting hard to see, and you don’t like a fly whipping by your face without protective shades on.

It’s early morning, foggy, and raining. A big fish just rose downstream. But where? You’re not sure.

I suspect many of us have been in these situations. In one case, they’re frustrating: you’re in the right place at the right time, perhaps at the expense of thousands of miles or hours in the car, but you just can’t see well enough to make the right cast. This is a costly mistake. In another case, you’re in a position where you are actively weighing compromising the safety of your eyes for the enjoyment of catching a fish. I repeat: you might be willing to trade your eyesight for a tug. It’s crazy, but I’ve been there and, like many, I’ve done it.

Enter the low-light polarized lens, less an oxymoron (why do you need sunglasses if there’s no sun?) than a great piece of equipment.

This may seem a bit niche at first, but it’s not just about the shoulder hours of dawn and dusk. For those densely overcast or rainy days, these are a great and, I might argue, necessary piece of equipment. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: after a rod set-up, the right pair of polarized lenses are an absolute necessity.

So why Smith? Why these lenses?

Lens & Color

Whereas many lowlight lenses default to a hight yellow-tint, the Smith ChromaPop Polarchromic Ignitor has more of a light rose tint to it. This has a few benefits.

First, I find that yellow lenses, when worn for extended periods of time, wear on my eyes. They can give me headaches. Not so with the rose tint: they’re comfort on my eyes all day.

Second, any colored lens naturally distorts what you see by changing overall color balance of your vision. For me, a shift to rose is not as disruptive as a shift to yellow. This is a personal peference

Note that this is not a glass lens but it made of Trivex, a synthetic material described in full in the video by Smith at the bottom of the page.

Fit

The Smith Dolen — the frame of choice for this review — is a slightly more modern frame, with slightly angled rectangular frames. This structure puts the lenses a comfortable distance from your eyes, preventing against eyelashes or eyebrows rubbing against the inside surface of the glasses, a problem I’ve encountered with many other pairs of glasses.

The frame is very light, and as is the lens itself, and so I find these glasses can perch on my nose all without the discomfort of heavy lenses pressing into the bridge of your nose. I was worried about the small nose and temple pads not keeping these in place during sweaty experiences, but I found that to not be problem in the end.

Critique 

My only critique of this lens is that it’s not available with more frames. When I ordered my pair, for instance, I wasn’t able to order it with tortoise shell frames, my go-to style. I hope Smith expands the pairing of lens to frames in the months to come.

Conclusion

In the end, if you’re looking for the low-light lens, I’d highly recommend these. With no other fishing lens on the market with this color profile, they are my preferred pair in rainy and low-light conditions. You can find them on the Smith Optics website here.

For more on ChromaPop lens technology, visit here.

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