Tonic Eyewear is now in its fifth year and in this short time has continued to evolve the technology and design of its product. Tonic produces ultra high-quality eyewear designed specifically for fishermen. The latest incarnation comes in the form of a Red Mirror lens. As far as I’m aware a Red Mirror lens is a first for glass polarised lens. Tonic has also introduced two new frames that are quite the departure from the rest of the line. One new frame is the Jo, which is a squared shape that leans more towards a fashionable than sports design, and the other (pictured and reviewed here) is the Mo.
The Mo frame is a high-quality Japanese-made frame that is moulded from a soft and light tensile TR90 plastic finished in matte black. It’s a very comfortable material and a shape that doesn’t apply excess pressure anywhere on the head. It has a well-designed bridge that will sit nicely on wide and narrow noses without slipping down. We tested this out by passing it around the office to multiple head shapes.
Without doubt the Mo takes influence from classic frame stylings of the 1950s yet has been adjusted to wrap around ever so slightly for great sun protection. I love that this frame presents a lot more casually than a full wrap-around frame such as Tonic’s Shimmer, Bono or Spirit, although it’s understandable that many anglers want that full wrap-around protection. This is a frame that you can wear as a standard pair of sunglasses when you’re going out and they’ll look cool.
They aren’t a huge frame but they’re certainly not small. They just fit my large head and facial frame and the eye pieces are large enough that you’re not seeing any excess frame when looking through the lens. Best of all it’s a lightweight frame and, coupled with the extremely light lenses, you can wear them all day and forget they’re even on.
The lens is the true business end of any pair of good eyewear and this model is truly exceptional. On the technical side, the Red Mirror is essentially cosmetic. It does reflect glare to an extent, but what’s behind the mirror is what provides polarisation and clarity.
Don’t go thinking that you’re going to have a red hue to everything you look at through the red mirror; this lens is grey-based, which is great if you like maximum sun and glare reduction but want to wear something different from a standard dark lens. The high-quality Japanese-made glass lens offers exceptional clarity and polarisation.
In the field
My first outing with the Red Mirror Mo was an early start chasing kingfish in Victoria’s famed Rip. As we headed out, the sun was low and angled across the water. The Red Mirror offered eye protection in my open centre console while driving at speed in the cold air to the bait grounds and provided exceptional polarisation to view the reef where we stopped and successfully caught squid for live baits.
As the sun got higher and we moved out to deeper blue waters, I forgot I was even wearing them, which tells me that they offered exceptional clarity, comfort and glare reduction. We didn’t catch any kingfish and had used all our baits so decided to move north to the shallow outer grounds off Rye and Blairgowrie in search of more squid for dinner and this is where this lens really showed its attributes. The grounds in this region vary in depth from 1-7 metres and are broken up by large weedbeds and expansive sand patches. In order to find productive ground I stood on the front seat of my centre console while my friend Trent drove at about six knots. Not only was I able to view the productive ground, but to my surprise I was spotting squid sitting on the weed. We were driving around and spotting squid then sight casting at them, which is maybe the best way I’ve ever fished for them. Squid are a master of stealth and camouflage so this was a great testament to the lens.
My next trip out was on the Goulburn River targeting trout. With the Goulburn running at 7000 megalitres, the fish had moved out of the fast water and were sitting on the edges. This required a lot of stealth and a great lens to spot them from a distance sitting over shallow weedbeds under the shadows of trees. While I managed to land only two fish I sighted countless others that I spooked.
The Red Mirror is an exceptional lens that does everything any fisherman could want from it. It significantly reduces glare, offers exceptional polarisation and is outstandingly clear. It is easily one of the best lens I have had the pleasure of wearing.
The Mo frame isn’t a full wrap-around, which may not suit everyone.