Angling pros such as Skeet Reese are employed to promote and brand the Wiley X name. A high profile angler like Skeet Reese who won the 2009 Bass Master Classic was also a win for Wiley X catapulting them towards the top of angling eye protection products. However, if you’re like me, an everyday angler, the word of a friend goes a long way on what I choose to spend my hard earned money on. It is a trusted friends opinion and ability to touch, use, and compare what I have head to head with what they may recommend which often is the deciding factor whether I try something new or not. I hope my story here gives some of you a little faith in giving Wiley X a chance.
I was first introduced to this company in 2003 while gearing up before my deployment to Iraq in 2004. In years past it has been my experience that the equipment we use in both day to day training and combat operations is often awarded to the lowest bidder and has not always lived up to the quality expected by someone on the front line. This is not the case with Wiley X; I’ve bet my life and sight on them for the past nine years. If you want a small sample of warrior testimony on the products used in the field, I strongly suggest checking out the Wiley X Facebook page with almost daily reports of our troops reaching out to say thank you for the tactical products they use in-country and even from those who were wounded and continue to use them today.
I have seen and benefited firsthand from the protection of the Tactical Eyewear provided by Wiley X. They not only endured but excelled in-country. Things most folks never think about like the tens of thousands of mites trying to gather moisture from your nose, lips, ears and eyes, sand storms strong enough to leave abrasions on any exposed skin, to manning heavy weapon turrets on the top of a 5 ton or HMVE gun trucks at speeds of up to 60mph in all types of weather and action. Then to the dreaded IED blasts that target U.S. Forces, or the kids and local civilians who throw rocks and stones at you as you drive by, and finally being able to stand watch over thousands of Iraqi’s with just a few men by hiding your eyes to help prevent the insurgents from knowing just who you are staring at. “It’s hard to explain in the written word, but while keeping watch over a crowd you are able to scan potential threats without giving away your focus to those that wish to do you harm.” Those that used the protection offered by WileyX were better off at the end of the day than those that didn’t.
While I know Ultimatebass.com is a bass fishing site and tactical use of eyewear might not be of interest to the mass of our members here, it was my intention to provide a bit of back ground as to how I came to have such a loyal preference to this company. Wiley X is the only eyewear protection I have used over the last nine years and will remain without question the company I look to for eye protection in the future.
As far as fishing, I still have that pair of glasses issued to me back in 2003. Although they show their age and bear the scars of that trip, they perform as well today as they did all those years ago; I must say I’m happy they have the scars instead of me. Not only do I still have them, but I continue to use them for everyday use with the black lens. For those early morning runs on the water, evening runs when the bugs are thick with low light or in the rain I switch over to the clear lens so I have unrestricted vision yet have no fear of a junebug or rain drop popping me in the eye at wide open throttle.
I own another two pairs of Wiley X glasses that are for pure fishing; the P-17 which is perfect for the summer months here in Louisiana when the temps are pushed above the 100 degree mark. I find the emerald green/amber lens to be a perfect fit to my sight preference while on the water. They offer increased light range in lower light conditions yet also provide ample protection for me during the brightest parts of the day. These are not part of the cocoon style glasses that are available from Wiley X and are a personal preference of mine for reduced heat buildup during our summers. While making this choice, I accept the fact that if fishing with the sun to your back I can at times experience some reflective glare if I fail to keep a snug fit. When this does happen, I simply push them back where they should be and get back to fishing.
Of course, Wiley X has a real fix should side glare be an issue and that is the full wrap protection offered in the cocoon style glasses. For me, this is most important while bed fishing in the spring or on those blue bird sky days just after a summer rain when the temps are more bearable, but the sunlight never has seemed as bright. In this case, I opt to use the Wiley X ROUT also in the emerald green/amber lens. The cocoon style frames and foam eye inserts will keep you from ever suffering from rear or side glare again. The foam inserts have vent reliefs built into the top and bottom of each eye piece to prevent fogging or condensation from forming, yet are small enough to keep any sweat that forms on your brow from leaking into the eyewear.
The price point is a very real and valid concern in today’s economy. You can rest assured you get more than your money’s worth from Wiley X. No they are not Wal-Mart priced, but then they are not Wal-Mart cheap, being an American Made Product. The quality of the product and the company that stands behind them with a lifetime warranty make them a very affordable option for me. Am I biased on this company? Maybe, but we all know when we like a product, even if we are unable to explain it to others. In this case, Wiley X made me a believer in the field and has continued to prove to be reliable, affordable, and comfortable on the water.
No matter your choice in eye protection I implore you to find and use some sort of protection while fishing. After having lost all vision in my left eye for 10 days in 2006 from Multiple Sclerosis, I’ve become much more aware of my personal limitations should my eyesight fail me again in the future. How much is your vision worth? Protect it!