AllOutdoor Review: Hobie Monarch Polarized Sunglasses
Eugene L. 10.19.22
When it comes to fishing there are a few things you will always turn the truck or boat around to get, a tacklebox, the rods, the beer, or your sunglasses. A good set of polarized sunglasses are one of the most important parts of your fishing kit. They can help you see the contour of the bottom, whether there is grass or not, the fish themselves if the water is clear enough, and on top of all that they protect your eyes from the harsh sun out on the water. If you fish for largemouth during the spawn it is pretty much impossible without a good set of sunglasses. Our friends over at Hobie Eyewear were kind enough to supply me with a pair of their Monarch Float Polarized Sunglasses to test out for you guys. I can’t say that these are the first pair of floating sunglasses introduced to the market, but they are a first for me.
At first glance the Monarch Floats have a lot going for them, the fact they float is great. I’ve seen plenty of guys lose their glasses in the Gulf, you hate to see it happen, they just make a plop into the water and sink like a stone. Beyond their floating function Monarch Floats come with a pair of removable side shields that can help reduce glare and reflection off the back of the lenses. And a floating adjustable retainer to keep the glasses from taking a swim. The only knock I have against the Monarchs are their polycarbonate lenses, the poly lenses scratch more easily than glass lenses, but are more impact resistant and lighter. People say glass lense have better clarity but I haven’t noticed anything.
- Lightweight Floating Frame Material
- Removable Side Shields
- Adjustable Retainer Included
- HydroClean™ 360° Lenses repel water, grime & oils
- 100% UV A, B, C Protection
- 6 Base Polarized Polycarbonate Lenses
- Durable Integrated Hinges
- Medium/Large fit
- Lenses width: 53mm
- Nose bridge width: 20mm
- Temple arm length: 126mm
The review copy I received of the Monarch Floats had copper lenses with green mirror coating, which are my preference and recommendation for any sort of sighting fishing in variable light and bottom conditions. The Monarchs also come with standard grey lenses and grey lenses with blue mirror. Grey lenses are good for offshore and driving but make sighting fish a little more difficult. Taking them out on the water the copper lenses worked great, even in stained water I could see the bass chasing the shad around easily. Taking them out on the river they also worked well spotting the stocker rainbows in the clear waters of the Chattahoochee River. The lenses were surprisingly clear for the price point.
The fit of the Monarchs was pretty comfortable, while the frame itself is a little bulky the glasses are pretty light even with all the attachments. Makes for an easy-wearing experience, so even if you wear them all day they shouldn’t hurt to the tops of your ears or the bridge of your nose. The arms of the Monarchs have some play so even if you got a big head like mine they should fit you. And the last thing about the fit is, the Monarch Floats fit Asian faces. A lot of sportier-style sunglasses don’t really fit Asian faces well and will stick out past the bridge of my nose. These fit perfectly so for my Asian readers these are a good choice.
The only big problem I had with these sunglasses was the lens glare. The glare on the back of the lenses was pretty noticeable especially when I was driving and the light coming was changing directions often. On the specs sheet, they don’t mention any anti-glare or anti-reflective coatings so it can be assumed the lenses don’t have any coatings on the insides of the lenses. Though to be fair if you attach the optional side guards the glare is not much of a concern anymore. But because I was wearing the Monarchs a lot for driving I choose to keep the side shields off for better peripheral vision.
Overall I think the new Hobie Monarch Float Sunglasses are a good choice for a first pair of fishing sunglasses. The quality of polarization is on par with anything else available even glasses that cost many times as much. The floating function makes for a much more forgiving experience on the water fishing or just at play. The fact they come bundled with all these accessories makes it a one-and-done purchase, so again good for anglers on a tighter budget. With an MSRP of $99.99 and available for even lower online they are a very solid entry for an entry to an intermediate set of fishing sunglasses. My biggest grips with them are the glare and polycarbonate lenses, but the side shields make them a non-issue so I can let that slide. And with the poly lenses, I’m assuming this was a weight-saving move to help with the floating function.