Wrap-around gas station glasses seem to be the industry standard for summer fishing in Alaska, but those looking for a little more complete protection for their eyes might consider a larger investment. In a recent, extensive online debate among Bristol Bay skippers, the three brands that came up most were Maui Jim, Native and Costa del Mar.

Silver Bay Seafoods chose Maui Jim for a spring gift for its fleet, and for good reason: Many claim Maui Jim makes the best lenses in the business. Among several lens materials, the best bet for the Alaska summer salmon is likely the SuperThin glass, which is 32 percent thinner than standard glasses and offers Maui Jim’s crispest optics and best scratch resistance — the latter key for the constant grime and brine clearing that is inevitable while fishing.

Four different base tints are available, with the Maui Rose and HCL Bronze probably the best options for cutting glare off the water while maintaining contrast. A prescription option is available for most styles.

Developed by and for sport fishermen in the early 1980s, Costa del Mar provides another high-end option with an entire line dedicated to fishing. Costa claims its proprietary 580 lens cuts haze and blur of light over the water while knocking down yellows at the 580-nm light spectrum, thus increasing reds, blues and greens, and making for a sharper image. The 580G lenses are the glass version — almost necessary for multi-season use — and are not too heavy. Most styles can take prescriptions. Costa is bit cheaper, but for both Maui Jim and Costa, expect to pay north of $200 for anything with glass lenses, and of course more for prescriptions.

For the deckhand or the highly-leveraged skipper, Native Eyewear provides a quality option for under $100. Most Native styles come in a wide, regular or narrow fit, with six lens colors; gray is always good for maximum protection.

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Brian Hagenbuch is National Fisherman's products editor, a contributing editor to SeafoodSource and a Bristol Bay fisherman. He is based in Seattle.

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