Retainer Explainer

Most of the time, I would rather not wear sunglasses. Instead, I prefer to polish my Eastwood-esque squint. However, around water, polarized sunglasses are a critical fish-catching tool, not only protecting eyes from flying lures but cutting through glare and helping to unveil glimpses of underwater activity normally missed.

But sometimes the glasses have to come off. Maybe this is due to low light conditions, to clean the lenses, see something with own eyes, or perhaps for a dramatic delivery.

“That fish was,” (snap off glasses) “how big?!”

I used to just throw my sunglasses on the seat so I could crush them and buy more. Other times, I would slip one side down the front of my shirt to hang them. This way they could fall into the drink every time I bent over to pick up a fish. I also experimented with pushing the glasses up on the top of my head. This, coupled with a lapse in my short-term memory, lead to numerous opportunities to entertain companions with the old “have you seen my glasses?” routine.

I have seen some, like Bassmaster Elite Pro Jason Quinn, wear sunglasses backwards on the neck. Perhaps this functions like false eyespots on a redfish to confuse predator reporters.

Eventually, I transitioned to a string-like retainer for my glasses, which helped save my sunglasses and helped cultivate that draped, schoolmarm look. Last year, I moved on to a sporty, wide strap model. These provided a little neck sun protection and surface area for sponsor promotion, so you probably can score some at a fishing expo or boat show.

This year I’m trying a new sunglasses retainer called: CablzZipz®. These are adjustable so that when tightened and riding along with an Elite Bassmaster Tournament launch where these bass boats race up to 70 mph, these glasses aren’t going anywhere. Upon arrival, the retainer can be loosened again to hang around neck while you look around for your wits.

By saving and helping to keep track of sunglasses, a retainer has helped make my day on the water.

Now, where’s my hat?

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Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb

Andy is an outdoor writer ( and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, smallmouth bass, and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After earning a B.S. in Zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, Iowa State, and Michigan State.