Best Fishing Sunglasses of 2011
It's not everyday that you begin a feature with a definition of one of the words in the title. Still, here we go. Best [best]: (adj.) A standout amongst counterparts; of the highest quality, excellence or standing. Now that you know what we think "best" means, take note that these are our opinions. None of us are opthalmologists, optometrists or otherwise experts on optics, nor can any of us every recall claiming to be so. That said, we wear a lot of fishing sunglasses and consider it very serious business. Trust me, if you're otherwise obsessed with gear -- and you're not currently obsessing over sunglasses -- boy, are you missing out.

Frivolous obsessions aside, however, sunglasses are one of the most important and crucial pieces of gear in a fisherman's arsenal. While it's certainly not always true in fishing that you can't catch what you can't see, vision is one of the key aspects of the game. Sunglasses play a key role in how good your vision on the water is, so there's a lot to be said for getting it right.

The few selections that follow are our favorite of the glasses we tested during this past year. Some of these are new to market, some are not.

Blake Klopfenstein of Cleanline Sportfishing Tofino releasing a winterrun steelhead on a remote system in Clayquot Sound, BC.
For the second time in recent months, the results of a study testing samples of salmon collected in British Columbia has shown alleged evidence of the lethal salmon virus, Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA). Results released late last year, from a study at Simon Fraser University, showed evidence of ISA in two wild sockeye salmon collected from the waters of Rivers Inlet, British Columbia. Most recently, results of a tests at Canada's Pacific Biological Station were made public at an evidentiary hearing at the Cohen Commission in Vancouver and reported by the The Westerly. As detailed by the station's head of molecular genetics, Dr. Kristi Miller, test results indicate that ISA - or a variation of it - is present in British Columbia salmon.

The test conducted by the Pacific Biological Station inspected samples of Chinook salmon from farming operations in B.C., which exhibited evidence of the ISA virus. In fact, Dr. Miller indicated that 25% of all samples tested positive for ISA. Dr. Miller also indicated that ISA-positive samples from 1986 were also detected by the test, indicating that ISA has been present in B.C. waters for over 25 years.

Ohio Earthquake Linked to Fracking
If you spend even a small amount of your time enjoying the vast recreational resources of natural environments, you've likely found yourself needing little proof of catastrophic events in order to take a stand against hydraulic fracturing. Better known as fracking, hydraulic fracturing involves drilling deep into underground rock formations and injecting chemical-laden, pressurized water in order to create micro fractures that allow gas and oil which would otherwise be trapped to escape. Fracking operations involve mass-disruption of natural environments through the building of roads and drilling sites, generate millions of gallons of chemical and radiation laced wastewater, have been linked to contamination of groundwater, lakes, and rivers, and evidence continues to mount that establishes fracking operations as the cause of earthquakes around the globe.

Most recently, a series of earthquakes -- culminating in a 4.0 magnitude quake on New Year's Eve -- in Ohio, are being linked to drilling operations harvesting natural gas and oil from Ohio's Utica Shale formation. Scientists have stated that, like earthquakes which have been circumstantially linked to drilling operations in other locations, the links between drilling and subsequent earthquakes are persuasive. Repeatedly, earthquakes occur subsequent to drilling operations in direct proximity to wastewater injection wells and during time periods which match the establishment and operation of those wells. The State of Ohio found the link persuasive enough to shut down operation at 5 wells surrounding the recent Utica Shale formation quakes.

Costa Double Haul - Costa Del Mar
Costa Del Mar sunglasses is spreading the word about a new line of performance sunglasses which is, as is always the case with Costa, aimed at anglers. Costa is debuting the "Double Haul" first, with more styles to follow. This newest style features Costa's venting system, designed to reduce fogging issues, but ditches the full frame underside Hydrolite™ non-slip coating found on recent models in favor of a more traditional nose pad and temple coating design.

Costa Double Haul - Costa Del Mar
Costa's 'Double Haul' glasses in black with silver mirror.

Costa's venting system is simple, but a feature not found on other competing glasses. Comprised essentially of 3 holes drilled into the frames on either side of the glasses, Costa's venting system may look like a minor addition, but Costa claims it provides big gains in reducing fogging and condensation on the eye-facing side of their lenses in conditions where anglers typically struggle with these issues.