So, I’ve been using my Smith Toasters fly-fishing for a few years now. I love the exchangeable lenses depending on weather conditions, and they seemed to work well in spotting feeding trout. However, I recently received a new pair of Costa Del Mar Zane glasses with the new 580 lenses. I decided I should go hit the river and do a quick field test and see if I could notice a difference.
We took a quick drive up to the South Platte river below Cheesman reservoir, a place I frequent because of the beautiful scenery and technical fishing. This gold-metal water holds some very nice rainbows and browns, and flows remain consistent this time of year. The water was gin-clear, and despite the expectation of a few snow flurries, it was quite sunny with just a few passing clouds – perfect for a good test.
As I scoped the water and banks for bugs, I found a many stone nymphs covering the underlying of rocks, and a few midges were hatching – but there were no risers to be found. Back to the truck to rig up. Starting with a 12 stone nymph, I set out first with my Smiths. As I waded through the knee deep current, I could spot a few spawning rainbows, but let them be. Then, I a approached what looked to be about a 20″ rainbow feeding ferociously close to the opposite bank. I could see it clearly, flashing back and forth feeding close to the bottom.
I decided at this point I would slip on the new Costas to compare the sighting. To say the least, it was unbelievable. The Zanes seemed to block out more of the red light and I could see the fish much more clearly. I backed away and found that I could see this fish about 10 feet further away than I could with the Smiths. At that time, I spotted several more fish that I hadn’t seen before – some feeding, some not. Since I didn’t spook him, I stood still and let the line loose. On about the second cast right in front of his face, BAM, he took it and began fighting with all he had in him. Within a minute or two, he broke loose and I lost him.
On to the next fish – still sporting the Costas. I spotted a nice Brown not far upstream and began casting with the same stone pattern. It took several casts, but he finally took it and I landed him after a quick fight – a nice 18″ Brown. I put my Smiths back on and proceeded up river in search of more feeders and found a few risers sipping on midges. After quickly tying on a new dry-dropper rig with a 18 midge up top and a 24 zebra below, I started casting to the spot. Unfortunately, I lost site of any fish in the area, but I knew they were there. Back to the Costas I went. And, again, I could see clearly three nice rainbows now feeding below the surface. Casting away, I hooked into, and landed a nicely colored rainbow about 15″.
As the day continued, I kept with the new Costa Zanes. The visibility was immeasurable. I couldn’t believe the difference in seeing through the water and spotting fish. We didn’t have much more luck that day, as the feeding patterns had changed and I just couldn’t figure out what they wanted. Nevertheless, I found my new fishing sunglasses.
When we ended the day and met back at the truck, I went ahead and packed the Costas into my gear bag. While these glasses were optimal for fishing, with my skinny face, and their somewhat large lenses, they just weren’t the best looking glasses on me. Of course, I’m not trying to look sexy on a river, but I will never fish without these glasses again. They are now a part of my gear. The Smith Toasters are smaller and fit my face a little better. So, in closing, you may see me driving around, hiking, whatever with my Smiths, but if you see me on the river, there’s no doubt, I’ll be supporting the Costas wherever the water takes me.