After quite a few years of hearing good things about Abel’s fly fishing pliers at our lodges, we decided to buy a pair and try them out. We liked them a lot.
Abel’s pliers aren’t cheap. We got the least-expensive option – Model #2, the smaller size, in black. They’ll cost you $130. You can spend $275 for the bigger version (Model #4) with an artistic finish.
Here’s what we like about Abel’s Model #2 pliers.
- This size is really versatile. They’re great for anything from trout to salmon to bonefish. The larger size might be better for offshore fishing or for taking the fly out of the mouth of a toothy ‘cuda. In our humble opinion the biggest feature that you lose on the #2 is the bottle opener (which is built in to the #4). The #2s are small enough to fit easily into your wader pouch – the configuration you see in the picture above.
- The cutters are awesome. The alignment on the blades is excellent and they’re super sharp. They cut light tippets, heavy mono and even single strand wire really really well.
- They’re great for de-barbing hooks. The tips on the jaws are very narrow and the ‘pinching surfaces’ between the tips are flat – pinching down barbs on small trout hooks is easy. Big, burly saltwater pliers often have grooved tips which can make it hard to de-barb smaller flies. De-barbing larger hooks with these Abel #2s is a piece of cake too.
- The jaws are replaceable. If you fish so much that you wear out the jaws (lucky you, if that’s the case), you can replace them for $20.
- They’re made really well. The ‘action’ is smooth and consistent. The machining is beautiful. They feel really good in your hand. If you appreciate a solid piece of fishing gear, you’ll like these pliers.
I lost my #2 Abels someplace – wish I knew! Trying to figure out if I want to replace them with something else – any good suggestions?
Stay with able, move up to Van Staal, or go with Gorilla or another less exepnsive brand.
Great question, Doug. To be totally honest I haven’t used anything else since I got my Abel #2s…so on one hand I can’t really comment on Van Stall or Gorilla, but on the other hand I’m awfully happy with those Abels.
I was in love with the 1st girl I kissed, but glad I’ve kissed a few since! Guess i can’t go wrong replacing the Abel’s as they did a good job!
The Abel’s are made in the USA and come with a lifetime warranty. Van Staals are made overseas (probably China) and only come with a one-year warranty. They are twice the cost because they are titanium. Stick with the Abels.
will the able pliers #2 work for crappie fishing hooks as well?
Kyle Shea says
One great feature of the Abel pliers are that the the tips of the jaws are somewhat pointed and narrow, thus working well with a large range of hook sizes, including smaller hooks. However, if you’re working with hooks smaller than say, size 10, you might consider Abel’s Hybrid Hemostats instead. Check out our review of them, right here.
Carl Blackledge says
The Abel pliers didn’t work good for very long, had to send them back a few times , finally sold them, now I use toe clippers from the dollar store.