Tools for Sight Casting

"You can't see the fish for the water." How true that is. For drift fishermen or guys bottom fishing with bait, it may not mean much. But, for the sight-casting fishermen, it can be crucial to their success.

Often times the weakest link in the sight-fishing chain is the angler's sight. Not necessarily the quality of their vision, but their ability to see beneath the surface. Even 20/20 anglers can have difficulty without the proper tools. However, there are a few basic pieces of equipment that can drastically improve this function.
First and foremost is a good quality pair of polarized glasses. Regular sunglasses, regardless of cost, just won't do the job. Polarization is necessary to cut glare. Reducing the effect of surface glare opens a whole new world below water.

For flats fishing purposes, a lens in either amber or vermilion (pinkish-brown) offers the best bottom contrast. When fishing offshore or over large, deep expanses of water, gray is the color of choice.
While glasses are the main ingredient, there are a couple of other items needed to complete the proper flats fishing sight-system. Each of these items work in conjunction to give maximum vision beneath the surface.

Caps and hats help to prevent light rays from coming over the frame of the glasses. Choose a cap or hat with a dark under brim to prevent light from refracting off the bill. Some anglers opt for models with extra long bills. However, in fly-casting situations the elongated bill can be a disadvantage, as it hinders your ability to visually follow your cast. As a bonus, caps and hats are one of the most effective means to prevent harmful rays from damaging skin on the face and ears, the areas that are most susceptible to skin cancer.

The final, and most overlooked, piece to the puzzle is side shields. These plastic or neoprene devices are placed on the arms of a pair of glasses. Their purpose is to block peripheral sunlight from entering. Wrap style sunglasses do this by virtue of design and do not require side shields. However, traditionally styled glasses have a sizable gap between the frame and the angler's face, allowing a good deal of sunlight to sneak behind the polarized protection. Side shields only cost a couple of bucks and can block out virtually all of the unwanted light.

Although these steps may seem minor to those who have not tried it, these few, simple pieces of equipment can mean the difference between casting to fish and spooking them.

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