Costa Del Mar has been up to some awesome stuff lately. For such a big company, they sure do some great things not only with their products but also with the world-wide fishing community. From sponsoring conservation efforts to constantly updating their line of sunglasses I would say Costa is balancing their work/play ratio pretty well.
In 2014, Costa released some new frames called Saltbreak, and along with their release, a new frame colorway called ‘gunstock’. I first saw this new frame color at iCast 2014 when Costa was showing them off in their booth (which was more of a full-on cabin in the middle of the show). I’ve been known to get a wild hair from time to time, and when that happens, the same old tortoise frames just don’t cut it. Once I saw them, I had to have them!
“Guns, you say? … Sunglasses, you say?” Sign me up.
The new Saltbreak frames have also been promo’d by the OCEARCH team that hunts great white sharks around the sea. Rememeber those outreach efforts I mentioned that Costa is known for? Well the shark tagging program is one of them. We won’t be hunting fish quite that large, though.
Costa sunglasses are polarized. That’s the gist of how they cut through the glare on the water’s surface and help you find fish, but there’s more to it. After you’re able to see through the glare of the water on the flats you’ll need to discern a fish from a weed pile. Seems easy, but sometimes these fish learn a thing or two and an angler with a pair of Wal-Mart glasses will be none-the-wiser.
This is where the Costa Del Mar 580 amber lenses with a mirror coating come into play. As per Costa, the 580 amber lenses: “Use patented technology to cut down on the yellow light, allowing the eye to see more red, blue and green.” When you wear a pair of Costa Del Mar sunglasses with 580 frames, you are introduced into a completely different world of contrast on the bottom of the flats.
What was once a dark blob is now a dark green blob with a black torpedo-shaped fish in it.
The fish in Mosquito Lagoon and the North Indian River are notorious for being Central Florida bonefish; being able to hide in plain sight right in front of you. After using these silver mirror 580G lenses that we’re going to talk more about below, I was a sucker no more!
The Real World
The frames are sweet, and fit my face really well despite being advertised as a ‘large’ size. I’m a normal sized dude, I think, and my head isn’t some huge watermelon. I normally purchase the ‘medium’ size frames when choosing a new pair of sunglasses, but these Saltbreak frames fit my head really well. The placement of rubber padding on these Saltbreak frames also deserves note. The nasal arch and temple areas of the Saltbreak frames are all covered by it, and they don’t budge an inch- which is helpful if you’re one of those “new pair every year” guys that drops their glasses in the water religiously.
The lenses are cool, but do they actually work?
I’ve been wearing Costa Del Mar green-mirrored sunglasses for a long time, and in my opinion a nice pair of polarized sunglasses is one of the best pieces of gear you can have when sight fishing the shallows. There’s nothing worse than poling slowly and quietly all day only to spook the fish of a lifetime.
Given my experience with the green-mirrored lenses, I wanted to see how these silver mirrored lenses compared.
The comparisons below (click for larger) show how the Costa Del Mar 580G lenses differ from the naked eye during full sunlight. These comparison photos were taken at about 2:30PM in full sunlight out on the Indian River. The first photo below is a standard comparison showing a raw iPhone 5S photo versus the same shoreline with the Costa 580G silver-mirror lenses in front of the camera’s eye. As you can see right away the glare difference is substantial. These silver-mirror lenses are already showing their worth without even getting fancy.
Let’s get fancy.
I put both of the photos above through the exact same contrast filter settings in Adobe Photoshop to see if there could be any quantifiable difference in the glare reduction when all of the contrast is turned down. Turns out, there is!
As you can see in the photos below, the raw image has a huge blue glare streak across the top left of the photo compared to the small piece of glare all the way in the distance of the photo through the silver mirror lenses.
Boom. Science complete.
This day on the water, for me, wasn’t just about science. It was about putting these glasses to use and connecting with some nice redfish that wanted to check out my skiff up close.
The lenses performed flawlessly, leading me to numerous redfish on fly in the shallows. The ability to cut through glare and see different shapes in the water as the sun was setting really sealed the deal on this fishing trip. As you can see below, I was excited.
From a different trip, we had to ham it up for a bit when this redfish came to the boat during a horribly windy day. You can’t tell in the background, but even my girl is wearing Costas!
I like these silver-mirror lenses…
They let me see the fish I’m searching for, and even the ones I’m not. After using green-mirror 580G lenses for so long, I think Costa might have a convert to the silver-mirror lenses. The Saltbreak frames fit my face well and didn’t fatigue my temples like some pairs of glasses do.
These new ‘gunstock’ colorway frames are really cool, too. They stand out but are subtle enough to look like a normal pair of sunglasses. A ‘sister’ to the tortoise frames, if you will. I would gladly wear these to the trap and skeet club, as well as any day out in the park.
These Costa Del Mark Saltbreak frames with silver-mirror 580G lenses definitely get a thumbs up from me!
Costa Del Mar 580G Saltbreak Gallery