Why Expensive Fishing Pliers Aren’t Always Best

I just can't bring myself to spend $200, $300, or more on a pair of fishing pliers. Even if they're built to last, I'm apt to lose them. And besides, I've found an outstanding, super-durable, budget-minded alternative, thanks to my buddy Oliver White, with whom I went on the arapaima adventure in Guyana.

Made in England, Manley's Super Fishing Pliers are spring-loaded, teflon-coated, and 6.5 inches long… and cost only $42.95. What I like most about these pliers (compared with many far-more-expensive models) is the parallel jaws. They're great for clamping down on heavy lines and wires, among other things. The cutter is more than adequate for any lines or wires I work with, and it's set flush with the edge of the pliers, so you get really close clips on knots. As far as maintenance, over the past few years, all I've had to do is rinse the pliers in freshwater after a full day in the salt, and lightly oil them every now and then, which make them work like new.

A couple of small drawbacks: No, the nose is blunt and not pointed, as you can see. So I still carry hemostats for pulling flies out of fishes' mouths. If a fish sucks a fly more than an inch or so down, these pliers aren't much help. Second, these pliers don't come with a carrying case or a sheath. My buddy John Perizzolo, inventor of the Hemo Holster (and maker of fine pistol holsters), made that fancy leather holster you see above, which he was kind enough to customize for me.

Ultimately, though, I'd rather cycle five pairs of less expensive, perfectly functional pliers through a nice holster than buy expensive pliers and hope they don’t fall out of the cheap sheath they came in.

Try the Manley's, save a lot of money, and worry about the sheath later.