These days there are a lot of choices, and having the right ones will greatly improve your rigging and fishing. Not all tools are created equally and some are better for specific tasks than others, while general tools may fit the bill for most scenarios, they may fall short for certain jobs. If all you have is the pair hemostats and nippers that you picked up from the little bucket sitting on the counter of the fly shop or gas station for $3.75, you are missing out.
Dr. Slick Mitten Scissors
These are my tool of choice because they incorporate both pliers and cutters in one easy to use system. The spring loaded clamps are designed for easy use while wearing gloves when winter fly fishing and can be stored on anything from a shirt pocket to a lifejacket or chest pack. Serrated scissors cut almost every line, leader, and tippet material cleanly and can also be used for trimming or modifying flies in the field. The hook eye cleaner comes in handy from time to time when I grab a fly that has too much glue in the eye. Priced around $22.00, the Dr. Slick Mitten Scissors are one of more affordable options with all the features of a more expensive tool.
Rising Work Pliers
Similar to the Mitten Scissors, but with a few more features, the Work Pliers from Rising are another outstanding option for anglers looking for a fly fishing tool that will perform multiple duties. They come with a clean cutting blade, ridges for crimping, a smooth area for de-barbing hooks, and their exclusive “Pick Tip” for removing weights. The last feature is what really makes these pliers unique. Use the “Pick Tip” and broken thumbnails are a thing of the past. MSRP $20.
Abel nippers are the cutting tool of the future. These nippers are the sharpest, cleanest cutting tool on the market. They are available in almost twenty different beautiful colors and finishes, so you won’t have the same ones as your fishing buddies. Replaceable jaws and a two year warranty ensure a clean cut for the life of the nippers. They start at 50 dollars and cost up to 100 dollars depending on the finish you choose. It would be a tragedy to lose a pair of these nippers. It is a good idea to pair the nippers with the paracord Abel Lanyard so that they are always at your fingertips and much easier to keep track of.
Hide your old cheap hemostats and nippers in the center console of you truck or the bottom pocket of your chest pack for the unfortunate occasion when you lose or forget your good pair.
The advantages of these tools will be obvious once you incorporate them into your fishing arsenal. Faster, easier rigging allows you to spend more time with bugs in the water, and we all know that that means more time with a bent rod. Check all of the latest fly fishing tools, gadgets and accessories at the Vail Valley Anglers shop or at our online store.
Andy “Otter” Smith, Guide and Content Writer