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Revamped Iconic Frames and Gold Glass Greatness: Costa Grand Catalina Review

All the retro vibes with top-notch performance make the rejuvenated Costa Grand Catalina shades about the coolest pair you can sport on the water.
costa del mar grand catalina review(Photo/Harry Spampinato)
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Sporting some killer new options for both frame styles and lens technology, we don’t know whether to be more excited about Costa’s new gold-mirrored lens or revamped Grand Catalina frames. Performance and style-driven, both of these deadly new offerings from Costa are excellent on their own and even better when paired together.

Costa has been busy. Just when I thought the brand couldn’t outdo itself after the recent release of the 40th Anniversary King Tide frames, Costa Del Mar decided to go all out and bring back the retro Grand Catalina frames. These iconic shades haven’t been produced since the 1980s.

Not only has the brand resurrected a legendary frame style worn by the likes of renowned anglers Flip Pallot and Jose Wejebe, but they’ve also engineered a highly innovative new lens option that pushes versatility further than I thought possible. After a few weeks of testing a pair of Grand Cats outfitted with the gold-mirrored lens, I’ve got loads of praise for the combo.

In short: Costa Del Mar continues to do what it does best, bringing high-caliber fishing sunglasses to anglers. The revamped Grand Catalina with gold-mirrored lenses are worth every penny, and it’s hard not to hook hogs when you look this cool.

Costa Del Mar Grand Catalina


  • Frame color Matte black
  • Lens color Gold mirror
  • Lens material Polarized glass (580G)
  • Frame fit Wide
  • Size XL
  • Lens curve Base 6


  • Maximum protection from sun and wind
  • Removable side shields
  • Adjustable nosepads
  • Sweat channels
  • Incredible visibility in variable light conditions


  • XL frame might be too big for some people

Costa Del Mar Grand Catalina Review

The Grand Catalina Frames

costa del mar grand catalina frames
(Photo/Harry Spampinato)

Sporting a comfortable fit and feel, highly practical performance features, and a truly badass aesthetic, the Grand Catalina frames have become an instant staple for essentially all of my endeavors, both on and off the water.

Costa has taken the versatility between style and function to new heights with this hybrid frame model, so if you’re serious about the performance of your eyewear and like to look cool, too, you’d better perk your ears here. My immediate first impression of the Grand Catalinas was quite simple: why did Costa ever take this frame style out of production!?

Available in a range of frame colors and lens options, you can dial in just the right personalized look and then pair it with your preferred Costa lens.

Grand Catalina Features

Removable Side Shields

First employed on Costa’s King Tide frames released last year, the brand has included its simple yet state-of-the-art removable side shields into the Grand Catalina’s design. Easily detached and popped back onto the frames in seconds, I cannot stress how game-changing these side shields can be for certain angling scenarios.

Dramatically boosting the amount of blocked backside and peripheral light that enters your field of view, these side shields keep your eyes on the prize without cramping your style or comfort. While this is a beautiful feature for all angling contexts, sight fishermen, in particular, will find the side shields are far from a marketing gimmick and will instantly sense the viewing advantage.

If you’ve ever cupped your hands around your eyes while trying to spot tails, structure, or pushing fish, then you’ll see what the hype is about right away here. You can, of course, wear the Grand Cats without the side shields for a totally different look if you don’t feel like wearing your fish goggles to the beach or bar.

Contrary to the King Tide frames, I find the Grand Catalinas to be even more stylish with the side shields engaged — but that’s coming from a guy with an affinity for retro aesthetics.

Grand Catalina Shields
(Photo/Costa Del Mar)

Darn Near Bulletproof Construction

If you’re worried about the integrity of this removable component, don’t be — the side shields are built from a BIO-RESIN skeleton/sub-structure (same BIO-RESIN as the frame), which is then over-molded with Costa’s HydroLite TPE rubber. Simply put, this is a pretty bulletproof feature that can be torqued on and manipulated far more than you’ll ever realistically put them through.

Costa also offers replacement side shields for just $20. If you misplace them, you can grab another set without having to spring for new shades.

A genuinely brilliant design feature, I’m certain we’ll be seeing more Costa frames utilize these side shields moving forward.

Vented Adjustable Nose Pads

Adjustable Nose Pieces
(Photo/Costa Del Mar)

Have you ever owned and loved a pair of sunglasses with excellent lenses and aesthetics, but they just don’t sit right on your face? Costa has been incorporating adjustable nose pads into their Pro series frames for some time now. I think this feature is massively underrated.

These simple nose pads enable you to customize your fit more precisely. They ensure you can space the frames far enough from your eyes so that your eyelashes don’t brush against the lenses.

You can also use the nose pads to create the right amount of space to ensure proper venting to avoid fog build-up. Anglers with uniquely shaped heads will be especially pleased by the ability to tailor their fit better here.

Engineered with a stainless steel core for easy manipulation with firm memory and a double-injected HydroLite rubber exterior for enhanced, nonslip comfort, personalizing the Grand Catalinas to your specific head shape and preference is made easy.

Sweat Management Channels

grand catalina frames
(Photo/Harry Spampinato)

Anglers and outdoorsmen who recreate in especially hot climates will be thrilled to know Costa hasn’t cut any corners on sweat management here. Mindfully designed sweat channels are built into the frames to ensure perspiration doesn’t pool up anywhere in or around your eyes. The idea here is to essentially redirect your sweat past your temples and down the sunglasses’ arms.  

This may seem like a minor component when compared to the other design features, but the attention to detail here is potentially life-changing, depending on who you are or where you’re fishing. I’ve been trudging the flats on my native Cape Cod in search of striped bass, and even though the heat is not wildly oppressive here in Massachusetts, I can nonetheless feel the sweat channels at work on especially muggy, high-exertion days.

Costa Del Mar 580G Gold Mirror Lens

grand catalina costa sunglasses
Gold mirror lens; (photo/Costa Del Mar)

While the Grand Catalinas are a knockout frame style, let’s talk about the real star of the show when it comes to Costa’s new offerings — the new rose-base gold mirrored 580G lens. Designed for variable light conditions, this is arguably the closest thing to a do-everything lens you’re going to find.

In the brand’s words, the gold mirror lens “offers enhanced versatility across a spectrum of lighting conditions, ensuring optimal clarity whether out on the water in the bright sun or on an overcast day.” The new lens will be offered in more than 20 styles across Costa’s three frame categories — PRO, hybrid, and lifestyle

Above all else, Costa Del Mar has earned such a reputable name in the fishing eyewear industry due to its lens technology. The brand’s 580G (glass) lens is particularly celebrated for its integrity, clarity, and color enhancement. In that regard, the gold mirrors are business as usual.

Designed to reduce blur and haze by filtering out UV and blue-violet light while boosting reds, greens, and blues on the color spectrum, it only takes your eyes a moment behind any color 580G lens to feel the superior definition.

Not to be ignored, the brand claims its 580G lens is 20% thinner and 22% lighter than average polarized glass. They wear especially lightweight. Learn more about Costa’s 580 lens tech.

Versatile 14% Visible Light Transmission

Costa Del Mar Gold Mirror
(Photo/Costa Del Mar)

Visible light transmission, or VLT, is a measure of the amount of visible light that can pass through a given lens. The gold mirror lens is designed to tackle the widest possible spectrum of lighting conditions by featuring a 14% VLT. This allows a bit more light through the lens than the brand’s green mirror option at 10% and copper mirror at 12%. Costa’s designated low-light lens, the sunrise silver mirror, comes in at a whopping 25% VLT to give you an idea of where the gold mirrors lie.

While the gold mirrors are a wonderfully versatile option that spans countless angling contexts, each 580G lens is purpose-built for a specific array of lighting conditions and habitats, so do your homework on which lens is best recommended for the fishing scenarios you have in mind. 

You can dive deeper into proper lens color selection and dial in the perfect option for you.


If you’ve owned a pair of 580G lenses from Costa then I don’t have to tell you that they hold up very nicely in regards to scratching. You can truly beat up on these lenses without suffering any frustrating abrasions that impede your field of view or ability to focus your eyes. Don’t get me wrong, you can crack these lenses if you try hard enough, but the scratch resistance here is unparalleled.

The brand has achieved this next-level integrity by engineering an encapsulated mirror. Essentially, the mirror coating is applied to the lens, and then a thin glass layer is applied over top. This means your mirrored coating is not the first line of defense, dramatically improving scratch resistance.

My Experience

costa del mar grand catalina frame
(Photo/Harry Spampinato)

I’ve been testing the gold lenses for a few weeks now in a variety of settings. They’ve performed excellently in almost every context. Best suited for partial to full sun, the gold mirror lens has provided me with killer contrast and clarity in salt marsh estuary habitats, sand flats, and inshore fisheries.

The lens has also been a joy to fish in my local freshwater kettle ponds while spotting largemouth bass nests and subsurface structures. They’re well suited for completely avoiding eye fatigue on full sun days while also somehow still offering good penetration and contrast in lower light conditions.

I do not recommend the gold mirror lens for fully overcast days (check out Costa’s sunrise silver lens on that front), but they outperform my trusty go-to green mirrors in most habitats when it comes to thin or intermittent cloud cover.

One context I’ve discovered while testing these sunglasses that the gold mirror lens does not excel at is evening light over white sand bottom. As the sun gets low, I’ve found that these lenses lack the glare penetration I’m looking for compared to my green-mirrored and amber options.

Seriously Durable

Not to be ignored, the integrity of these lenses, along with all of Costa’s glass lenses, is profound. They are truly scratch-resistant, so good luck scuffing up these bad boys. I am especially hard on my gear and known to be careless with my shades in the heat of exciting fishing moments, but my 580G lenses across the board are looking just as crispy as when I unboxed them.

Performance aside, the gold mirrors are just the bee’s knees when it comes to style. Trust me when I say you’ll turn heads in these — just about everyone who’s seen me wearing my gold-mirrored Grand Catalinas has asked about them!

Why You Should Add a Gold Mirror Lens to Your Quiver

wearing costa del mar grand catalina frames
(Photo/Harry Spampinato)

The top answer to why you should own a pair of Costas equipped with the gold-mirrored lens is simple — versatility. Performance eyewear is not cheap. If your budget is tight and you’re going to spend the big bucks for the best of the best, you’d be wise to snag a lens that will give you an edge in all sorts of ecosystems and light conditions. I’ve fished countless lenses across many sunglasses brands in just about every habitat.

The gold mirrors hit the most bases, in my opinion. I still prefer my green mirrors for full sun flats fishing and my sunrise silver mirrors for lower light endeavors. However, if I could only own one 508G lens, I’d go with the gold mirrors.

Don’t think of these lenses as good for everything but great for nothing. They are great lenses in all fishing environments, even when there might be other top choices.

Pairing the Grand Catalinas and the Gold-Mirrored Lens: In Closing

The Grand Cats are versatile, and the gold mirrors are versatile. Together they create a truly striking lifestyle performance aesthetic.

The Best Fishing Sunglasses of 2024

Sunglasses can make or break your success on the water. Without the right pair of glasses, you may not be able to get the job done. Read more…

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