Good polarised sunglasses are essential to success in New Zealand.

Good polarised sunglasses are essential to success in New Zealand.

I tell you, I was spotting raccoons!

Keen fans of Seinfeld will recall the episode called The Glasses when the lord of the idiots, George Costanza, was feted by Jerry for his ability to squint his way down to 20-30 vision while driving after he lost his prescription glasses.

As we walked the rivers of New Zealand last month chasing trout I was feeling a certain kinship with George as I triumphantly spotted countless brown and rainbows in the many waterways we fished.

But unlike Cantstandzya, it wasn’t squinting that did the trick for spotting the fish on my latest visit to one of my favourite fishing destinations, rather it was a timely change in lens colour in my sunglasses after the first couple of days in the South Island.

I’ve always preferred rose-coloured lenses for my polarised fishing sunglasses, which are simply an essential tool if you want or need to see what is happening in the water around you.

Over a couple of decades, I had found rose lenses had proven a very versatile option for the variety of different conditions I encounter while fishing and I’d really had no reason to try anything else.

However, trout rivers in NZ are markedly different to the wide-open spaces of the WA offshore environment and the combination of mottled bottom, well camouflaged fish, inevitably cloudy conditions and often shaded stretches of river can make spotting fish a real challenge.

On our first couple of days fishing near Christchurch the water was slightly high and discoloured after previous rains and I was finding it tough to spot fish, often frustratingly spooking them when they saw me first.

Even squinting like George wasn’t helping me spot these river raccoons.

Born of a conversation with Mako’s Daniel Burgess a few months earlier, I decided it was time to try something different and switch from my usual rose-coloured Makos to a new pair of copper lenses from the same supplier.

Daniel had recommended trying the GS3X lenses when I was discussing the upcoming trip with him, suggesting that copper was the best choice for trout fishing in New Zealand as it offered the best contrast and colour enhancement, particularly in less-than-perfect spotting conditions.

When I made the switch the immediate improvement in my fish spotting was amazing and the difference between the two lenses was a literal eye-opener, no squinting required.

Suddenly I was able to spot the trout much earlier and in an environment where seeing and then carefully casting to fish is essential to success, this was a huge advantage for the rest of the trip.

Unfortunately, seeing and casting at fish doesn’t always guarantee success and it proved to be challenging fishing to some spooky trout over the couple of weeks, but brown trout of 3.2 and 2.7kg (7 and 6 pounds in the old) made the trip worthwhile and proved the value of switching to the copper lenses from Mako.

I’ve usually only carried one set of glasses when fishing, but after this trip will make sure I always have a couple of different coloured lenses at my disposal to ensure I can maximise spotting capabilities in changing conditions.

As Jerry unfortunately found out when George bit into an onion thinking it was an apple and his squinting super powers were exposed as a myth, there really is no substitute for a good pair of glasses when you need the full picture.