WHEN YOU LOOK at performance eyewear for fly fishing, the truth is, a lot of companies come and go. They say they’re going to make a big splash—sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. Scant few stand the test of time.
Smith Optics (formerly identified by its Action Optics brand) has always been true to this market, because Smith people fly fish. Perhaps that’s part of the reason why Smith was rewarded by fly tackle dealers with top honors for its new Chief style in the “Best Eyewear” category at IFTD.
I’ll personally vouch for the “Chief,” because I’ve been fishing in them all summer. In terms of optical clarity, there are only really a handful of lenses that can compete with Smith’s Techlite TLT glass lenses. I’ve been wearing the “Polarchromic Copper” tint, but I’m also very high on the “Ignitor” tint. If you fish mostly in cloudy environs, or in changing conditions, I’d go with the “Ignitor.” If sight fishing is your deal, you can’t go wrong, either way.
As with all Smith frames, they’re comfortable and light. The Chief is designed for medium to large face sizes, and they’re stylish—Italian finished and sporty, they’re also great for driving, skiing, or just hanging out. Depending on frames and lens choices, Chief models range in price between $179 and $219.
Smith is also introducing its Tactic lenses this year. The Tactic lenses offer a medium fit, large coverage, carbonic TLT lenses, Evolve frame material, hydrophilic Megol temple and nose pads, and an 8 base lens curvature. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $119, with carbonic polarized TLT lenses.