We’ve all been there…. you’re on the river, and you need a tool that you don’t have. Whether you left it on purpose, because you didn’t want to carry the “extra weight” or you just forgot it at home or in your rig, you sure wish you had it. The adage, “better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it” has semblance.
Having the right tools can make a day of fishing that much easier whether the fishing is hot or not. So here is our list of recommended essential tools you should always have with you while you’re fishing.
Scissor Clamp Pliers/ Fishing Pliers: Scissor clamp pliers will generally cover everything, from cutting line to pinching barbs, and removing flies from a fish’s lip. They come in a variety of sizes and styles. We like the Umpqua River Grip 6″ Scissor Clamp. Beefier than most, The River Grip strong and feature oversized non-slip grips. Mitten-style scissor clamps like the Loon Rogue Mitten Clamp are made to use with gloves on, but surely can be used all year long.
Nippers: There is a faction of fly fishermen who believe if you have scissor clamps, nippers are not necessary. While scissor clamps are essential, so are the nippers. They are the quickest and most precise way to nip your tippet and leader tags. They also feature a point to open up sealed hook eyes. Umpqua recently came out with the River Grip Series, Big Grip Nip. The nice thing about these particular nippers is the larger size and the non-slip grip material.
Hemostats: Not, the surgical kind. Why carry hemostats and scissor clamp pliers? One, when you fish in an area that has a variety of sized fish, removing a fly from a small fish, with smaller hemostats is much easier than using large pliers. In addition, when you lose your Scissor Clamps, you’ll have a suitable alternative. If you’re in the market for one, the Dr. Slick Standard Clamp is a good choice.
Single Blade Knife: A single blade folding style knife like the Benchmade Griptillian is perfectly suitable for “Everyday Carry” and to put in your pack, vest, or jacket. It’s surprising how often you’ll end up using a knife while out on the river. Fixed blades are cool too. Many of them are lightweight with locking sheaths.
Tippet Holder: It’s amazing how having your tippet, outside of our pack or vest makes changing tippet much more convenient and faster. Rather than having to dig into your pack or bag, just pull the line off from your Fishpond Headgate Tippet Holder for a quicker tippet change.
Trash receptacle: That tippet tag you just cut…yeah, make sure it doesn’t stay on the riverbank or in the river. The Fishpond Piopod is a thoughtfully designed receptacle that is easy to carry and helps keep rivers clean. You can get the larger Largemouth Piopod or the smaller Microtrash Piopod. As an alternative, carry a small ziplock to throw in your tag tippet and leaders.
Multi-Tool: With a vast variety of built-in tools including knife blades, screwdrivers, pliers, scissors, wire cutters, can/bottle openers, and more, a good multitool is a must river-side tool. Just don’t stand in the river while using it. A solid multi-tool like the Leatherman Wave is versatile and usually compact, therefore should always be carried while fishing.
Lanyards/ Retractors/ Zingers: So you’ll always find your tools and they protect your tools from being sacrificed to the river gods. A lot of different companies make lanyards, refractors, and zingers and you can find a variety of styles. Abel makes a zinger that will hold up to 44 pounds. Whichever you get, just get them.
- Hook Sharpener: Because you’re crushing it with that particular fly.
- Nail Knot tool: Loops break and the nail knot is the best way to attach the leader to the fly line.
- Thermometer: When you’re trying to be really sciencey and taking notes.
- Headlamp: When it’s dark, light is good.
What are some of your favorite tools to carry while fishing? Drop us a note, we’d be interested to hear your thoughts.
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