If you want to catch fish, says Dave Bulthuis, vice president of sales for Ormond Beach, Florida-headquartered Costa Del Mar, "you need to have the right equipment. That means the rods, reels, lures and sunglasses."
Twenty-five years ago, a group of sports fishermen and water sports enthusiasts couldn't find sunglasses that would hold up against the outdoors conditions that they loved. So, they founded sunglass company, Costa Del Mar.
"Sunglasses are like fishing equipment. They make the fishing experience better," says Bulthuis, a Michigan native who moved to Florida in the 1980's to indulge his passion for offshore big game fishing.
When choosing the perfect sunglasses, look for comfortable frames and lenses with both polarization and ultraviolet light (UV) protection.
"If you're offshore salt water fishing, it's likely you'll put on your sunglasses at 7 a.m. and not take them off again until that night. Therefore, be sure the frames fit and are comfortable," says Bulthuis.
To assure a perfect fit, make sure the frames aren't bigger than your face or this can let a lot of distracting light in the sides. Also, the sidepieces or temples, should not substantially stick out past your ears. If they do, this can make wearing a hat or visor more difficult and uncomfortable.
Frame styling is a personal preference. The company offers over 50 different styles from wraps to aviator to everything in between.
As for the lens, Costa Del Mar offers 100% polarization and 100% UVA and UVB Protection.
"Polarization cuts glare and let you spot fish coming up behind the baits faster," says Bulthuis."
Protection against ultraviolet light is essential to prevent eye problems.
"I've met veteran captains and mates that have fished 300 days a year since back in the 1960s and 1970s and now they have serious eye problems because the didn't wear sunglasses, with UV protection," says Bulthuis.
Excessive exposure to UV light, both the damaging UVA and UVB rays, can lead to macular degeneration, cataracts and even eye cancer. Macular degeneration involves the breakdown of the macula or center of the retina. People with light colored eyes are more susceptible to this type of damage. Cataracts involve a clouding of the lens of the eye leading to blindness. According to the World Health Organization, up to 20% of all cataracts are caused by overexposure to the sun. UV radiation can also cause cancer of the eyeball and eyelid.
"Think of sun glasses as sunscreen for your eyes," says Bulthuis.
The UV protection in Costa Del Mar sunglasses is uniquely built into the lens. This means it won't degrade, wear off, wipe off, or peel off over time.
The company also offers lens in prescription or non-prescription, in plastic or glass.
Plastic lenses are made out of high-quality ophthalmic grade plastic. "The advantage of plastic lenses are that they are impact resistant, light weight, lower cost than glass and are highly scratch resistant," says Bulthuis.
On the other hand, glass, which is most popular with Costa Del Mar customers, costs more, but is scratch resistant. "That means if you're backing down on a fish, get a lot of spray and wipe your glasses often, they won't scratch."
Glass lenses aren't impact resistant. If you drop them, they can break. However they offer the highest scratch resistance, and allow for a mirrored coating to be encapsulated inside the lens to eliminate scratching.
Mirrored lenses are 15% darker than non-mirrored lenses. . Blue mirrored glass lenses remain Costa Del Mar's most popular lens option.
"The darker blue mirrored lenses reflect more light. And allow the fisherman to see further into the water. If you're offshore and up in the tower, it's easier to spot fish, and watch the baits," Bulthuis says.
Lenses with rose, amber and copper colors, or brown base colors, offer high contrast between light and dark objects and are perfect for angling for bone fish or red fish on shallow flats.
Costa Del Mar's most cutting-edge lens is the 580. Introduced to the market last year, the lens removes most of the yellow light the human eye can detect, which increases the color saturation of the reds, blues greens and other colors. This creates tremendous clarity and definition. Wearing a pair of Costa's with the 580 lens is like watching a high-definition plasma screen TV," says Bulthuis.
Costa Del Mar sunglasses are sold virtually everywhere sports fishermen fish. "We distribute to Europe, Central and South America, the Bahamas, Caribbean and through most of the major tackle retailers in the United States," says Bulthuis.
The company is as dedicated to conservation as it is to sports fishermen's eyesight preservation. The Billfish Foundation, The IGFA and The Adopt A Billfish Program are just some of the conservation organizations that Costa Del Mar partners with.
For more information, visit Costa Del Mar's website: go there
The ABMT is proud to have Costa Del Mar aboard as a sponsor of our tournaments.