As any angler will tell you, good polarised sunglasses are one of the most important accessories for fishing. Especially if you prioritise sight-fishing over everything else. Platon Trakoshis got to test the Bajio (pronounced bah-hee-oh) Palometa sunglasses recently and he’s impressed.
You can’t judge a book by its cover, but a pair of sunnies that come in good packaging hints at an overall commitment to quality. These glasses came in a cotton bag with a very cool image of a palometa (permit in Spanish) on the front that would look great on a T-shirt. Inside was an impressive, stitched casing made from sustainable cactus leather that even smells like leather. There is plenty of info included about the sunglasses and what the brand is about. In a nutshell, it’s sustainability and stewardship of our shallows, flats, and estuaries. Bajio’s commitment to these things feels genuine, but it’s also smart business because these are all important touch points for any serious angler. It’s a big plus knowing that by purchasing a pair of Bajios you’re supporting a company that actually stands for something you care about.
The glasses looked good and, on putting them on, I was blown away by how clear the lenses are and how they don’t tint natural colours too much. Bajio uses LAPIS technology which blocks 95% of blue light combating haze, glare, and eye strain, which is fantastic for the harsh African sun and long days on the water. You also have a choice between glass lenses and polycarbonate lenses. The ones I tested were polycarbonate. What stood out the most is how clear they are even in lower light conditions. This was made apparent while fishing the Cape streams with a younger friend with better eyesight than mine. I could see things in the water that he was struggling to see.
The frames are extremely light but don’t feel cheap and they fit comfortably. I was impressed by the soft rubber nose inserts that stop the sunnies from sliding off. They don’t dig into your skin. There are also rubber side shields for keeping out the sun’s glare. These are vented to avoid fogging, which is always a risk with a wrap-around style. These rubber additions are in the temple tips too which helps prevent the glasses from slipping. The arms have two-way flex hinges with keeper holes for a strap, making them very secure.
Launched by former Costa exec Al Perkinson, the hype behind Bajios over the last few years has been strong. I now see why, having fished the Palometas up the West Coast and on the Overberg coast while targeting blacktail in high-glare conditions. I have fished them on the Berg River while targeting carp in variable light ranging from deep shadow to sandbanks. At Lakenvlei while targeting trout in weed beds; and I’ve used them for spotting indigenous dry fly-munching witvis at locations I’ll take to the grave. Finally, I have worn them while spotting hyper-camouflaged small stream trout in the whiskey-coloured waters of my local Cape streams. Not only do they live up to the hype, but I think they’ll hold their status when, either through delamination or poor after-sales service, some other brands have failed the test of time.
Overall, these are excellent glasses with well thought out features and accessories. I’m a convert and I plan on getting some of their other styles as well. bajiosunglasses.com
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