On the Water with the Island Optics Beachcomber Sunglasses

// Photos by Christian Anwander
Leonard Schoenberger

Fishing sunglasses should be functional. Can they be stylish at the same time?

Yes, they can. Meet the Island Optics Beachcomber Polarized Sunglasses. Island Optics, run by three brothers Josh, Adam and Matt has garnered many fans in the (fly) fishing community only months after coming onto the market. What sets Island Optics apart? Fantastic lenses at prices that are hard to beat. The Beachcomber that I went for in this review, comes in at only $68. How can it hold up against the top dogs from Costa, Oakley and Smith?

Specs and Features of the Island Optics Beachcomber Polarized

Frame colors: 3 (crystal, the one in this review, tokyo tortoise and black)

Lens colors: 3

Polarisation: Yes

Price: $68

RX available

Hardcase available

Measurements: Width overall: 147.5mm – Lens width: 48.5mm – Lens height: 39.9mm – Temple length: 145mm – Bridge: 24.5mm

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Fly fishermen on the beach in the evening
Wearing the Island Optics Beachcomber shades for some evening sea trout fishing in Denmark. © The Wading List

Field Tested

Setting the drag for a sea trout session in Denmark. Island Optics Beachcomber in Crystal. © The Wading List

When it comes to fly fishing sunglasses, there are lots of options out there. Most fly fishermen will be familiar with brands that have been in the business for years or even decades such as Oakley, Smith, Wiley X or Costa. In recent years there has also been an influx of new manufacturers such as Bajio. Adding to this list is Island Optics, a hip brand that operates out of Boca Raton, Florida and has quickly gained traction amongst the fishing community.

Like most fishing specific sunglasses brands, they also offer models that provide wrap around frames for ideal protection in very bright conditions such as the Angler or the Mako XL. As you know from my reviews, I am a big fan of versatility and like to use my shades for other sports as well. That’s why I went with the Beachcomber frames for this review. These also feature polarized lenses and with their gray lens they look cool on and off the water in my eyes. Now let’s take a closer look at what makes them a good pair of fly fishing sunglasses.

Fly fisherman wearing the Island Optics Beachcomber
Beachcomber in Crystal with the Gray 12 lens. © The Wading List

Polarized Lenses: When it comes to the Beachcomber frame that is inspired by the classic Wayfarer shape that has been around for decades, you can choose from several frame and lens options that all come with polarized lenses which are imperative in fly fishing to prevent glare and to make you see sub-surface structures or lies of fish. In the photos of this review you see the Crystal frame paired with the Gray 12 lens. This lens color is an excellent allrounder for almost all fishing conditions apart from low light conditions I would say. The Gray 12 lens is also available with a black frame. The third option is a Tokyo Tortoise frame paired with a brown lens.

Fly fisherman wearing the Island Optics Beachcomber Sunglasses in Brown
The Beachcomber in Tokyo Tortoise with the brown lens. © The Wading List

During my days of testing on a sea trout trip to Denmark, I found the Beachcomber to provide an excellent level of polarisation in all conditions. The gray lens works best in overcast conditions during daytime.

Coating and Material: Besides polarisation, the coating of a lens is a crucial factor in fly fishing glasses as well as these technologies can further increase the clarity on a frame. Another nice feature in the Beachcomber (especially considering these shades come it at less than $70) is the use of high-end components such as italian acetate and stainless steel hinges for another level of durability and usability even in the salt.

Versatility: If you’re looking for a pair of sunglasses only for fly fishing and very bright conditions, go for the Angler or Mako XL since their wrap-around shape is perfect for that. If you want the same level of polarisation and optical clarity and be able to wear a stylish pair of shades after coming back from a day of fishing to sip a cocktail at the dock, the Beachcomber might be the better alternative.

The Smith Venture sunglasses with the sideshields removed make for a classic pair of sunglasses. Photo: Leonard Schoenberger © The Wading List
The Gray 12 lens in the Beachcomber is a great allrounder for fly fishermen. © The Wading List

Pros and Cons


  • Polarization and clarity are excellent
  • Outstanding value for money
  • Classic frame with modern day performance


  • Shape of the frame is not ideal for really bright conditions
  • Frame might be a little tight for bigger faces

Verdict on the Island Optics Beachcomber

Fly fisherman with rod in hand walking along a beach
The Gray 12 is a good lens for overcast conditions as well. © The Wading List

I am still surprised at how well the Beachcomber performed during our test considering they cost only $68. If you’re on a budget, not willing to spend hundreds of dollars for a big name or afraid of loosing your shades in the heat of battle, Island Optics is definitely worth a look for you. The Beachcomber are one stylish looking pair of sunglasses that feature excellent polarisation, optical clarity and premium components at a price that’s hard to beat.


Fly fisherman on the beach
Out and about with the Island Optics Beachcomber sunglasses while fishing for sea trout in Bornholm, Denmark. © The Wading List