I’m going to do something I don’t do. A product testimonial. I’ll tell you straight up two things: I was given the product and I have used the product religiously for the past 8 months.
The background is that I have been using Maui Jim HT sunglasses the past 6 years. I have always loved them. In fact, everyone I fished with has always been amazed at the quality, the clarity, how amazing the glass is in both sun and cloud, and in low light conditions. I always loved them. As I write this I am again on a 2 1/2 month fly fishing trip to New Zealand and I have to say that through our Alberta summer and into this trip, the Maui Jim HTs have not seen the light of day from their carrying case. I’m likely more shocked by that than anyone.
At the spring’s Orvis Guide Rendezvous (April, 2014) I was given a pair of Smith Optics Tenet Sunglasses with the Low Light Ignitor lens. At first I was highly skeptical. I didn’t want to take the free sunglasses and feel obliged to review something I wouldn’t wear. And it honestly took me time to adjust. I have 20/5 eyesight to this day, my eyes are very good but I have always squinted in bright light. I didn’t wear the sunglasses a lot at first as I was used to the Maui Jim pair that shaded my eyes. I kept the Smith’s for low light, cloudy days and loved them. But as time wore on I found myself getting accustomed to them in sunny conditions. The more I wore them, the more they kicked Maui Jim’s ass all over trout streams. And I do not say that lightly.
As I did, I found myself sharing them with others “here, you try them and see what I see”. To a person, everyone that has tried them has seen fish far better than whatever they had been wearing. We’ve fished with several people recently in New Zealand and every single person has been impressed. In fact, on last week’s foray into the back country, my friend Jack insisted I go ahead of him in the evening and on the cloudy days because I was wearing the glasses that would let me see way better than what he or Amelia wore. While the Smith’s are equal to anything I’ve ever worn in sun previously, the cloudy days, the evenings, the high contrast situations of looking into shade, looking into weed beds, those kinds of situations – they aren’t even close. Smith Optics Low Light Ignitors are simply the best I’ve found – hands down, no questions asked.
I’m not going to go into a sales job, telling you how to treat your eyes, trying to upsell you from gas station $20 glasses to sunglasses that protect you, but you pay $200. I’m of the opinion that if you value your eyes, want to minimize strain, want true protection built into the glass, have a solid frame and glass, you need a good pair. If you’ve followed our progression through fly fishing, be it as guides, lodge owners, magazine owners, writers, or producers of “Sight-Fishing Trout Rivers” or “Stripped Down: The Brown Trout Project” DVD releases, you know that we are extremely sight-fishing focused anglers. It has only become incredibly apparent the past 8 months of going from sort of using these sunglasses to using nothing else – that these truly are the cat’s ass.
I’m not getting paid for this. I was given a pair because we’re somewhat known, sure. But, I don’t have to write this review. I will take this a step further though. If you are looking for a Christmas present for your favorite angler: buy the Smith Optics Low Light Ignitor. You’ll be doing that person a massive favor. I’ve tried Costas and wore the Maui Jims forever. Neither come close. While Hatch Magazine gave them a second nod to the Maui Jim HT in their 2013 sunglasses review, I assure you when it comes to trout spotting it isn’t even close.