Written by: Trout Unlimited Chief Editor Kirk Deeter
Originally printed in Trout Unlimited
I absolutely love sight fishing. See the fish… make the cast… that’s top of the game.
Heck, I like just spotting fish as much as I like catching them. As such, my polarized glasses are as important to me as the rod and reel I fish.
Put it this way… if I drive to the river and realize I’ve forgotten my wading boots (not that this has actually happened, mind you) I’ll wade wet. If I happen to forget my nippers (this one might have happened, but only once or twice) I’ll use my teeth to bite off tag ends of tippet. If I forget my net (OK … this happens pretty much every other time I fish) I grab the leader and pop the fly loose with one hand.
But if I forget my shades (and truthfully, that’s only happened once because I consider polarized lenses that important), I’ll go back home and get them.
I’ll admit I have become kind of a lens-snob, in that I do prefer certain lenses in certain conditions. Brighter/yellowish for low light. A darker mirror for bright light. And usually amber, copper or something like that for variable conditions. I do carry at least three sets of lenses in the dry well of my boat when I’m floating, and usually carry at least one backup pair in the kit if I’m walkin and wading.
But you can go broke buying so many fancy lenses. And there’s nothing more deflating than putting a big scratch on the lenses in your favorite frames when they fall off your head onto the gravel and grit when you bend over to tie your boot laces (but, um, that’s never happened to me either). You can spend $200 or more on slick, sporty top-shelf glasses with great optical clarity. Or you can spend less and get not so clear, not so durable glasses, which might be just fine if you are blessed with natural osprey vision.
Tajima Direct has landed on the holy grail solution for anglers—high-quality replacement lenses that you can put into your favorite frames, that cost you about half as much as a new pair of high-end sunglasses. It’s like a two-fer.
So… you want some low-light shades and bright-light shades for the price of one pair of new glasses? No problem. Send in a couple of your favorite “retired” frames, and they can fit new lenses in them for you. Or Tajima can send you new lenses with instructions on how to pop them in your frames yourself. It’s easy.
Prescriptions? No problem. Tajima Direct can handle even complex prescriptions. My wife actually was the first tester of Tajima, and she has a funky prescription. She ended up rating Tajima a 10 out of 10. And this is a way less expensive option than most custom prescription polarized glasses.
I like three tints in particular. The yellow-green low light lens is my favorite low-light lens now. For me, most low-light lenses just make things look, well, yellow. This tint actually makes things look brighter. I also love shooting shotguns with these lenses.
The Brown 15 Black Mirror is the one that kind of feels like “home.” Sounds pretty dark, I know, but it’s quite versatile between trout rivers and salt.
And Green Mirror/Brown Tint is surprisingly vibrant in accentuating colors. Wearing these is like Dorothy walking out into Oz for the first time… the color pop is that noticeable.
What I like most of all about Tajima Direct lenses is the material itself. Manufactured in Japan, the lenses are made of a urethane material which is the first type I’ve worn that bridges the best attributes of both glass and plastic. Glass is clear, but heavy, and it can shatter. Polycarbonate lenses I can barely stand because they scratch so easily.
Tajima lenses are five times more durable than polycarbonate, and I think as clear as glass. And I’ve now fished them in the salt for stripers, on rivers, in lakes… east, west… cloudy, bright… for several months now.
I wasn’t going to write this story if they scratched, or the lenses easily popped out of the frames, or I didn’t literally like what I saw.
But now I’ve seen enough myself to make a solid recommendation. So there you go.