Anglers who want to avoid that sinking feeling as they watch pliers disappear beneath the surface can check out the XTOOLS line. The company makes pliers, cutters, gaffs and other fishing tools, and they all float!
Handles and jaws made of glass-filled-nylon composite give the original Floating pliers the strength necessary for performing angling-related tasks. Nylon also assures enough lightness to facilitate flotation. Grips of EVA foam, in XTOOLS' signature neon green, cushion the handles and provide buoyancy. Tungsten-carbide cutters represent the only metal in these pliers, which can cut braid and mono.
HybridXPliers live up to the name by combining featherweight nylon handles with stainless-steel jaw inserts for increased durability. These pliers also feature tungsten-carbide cutters and EVA grips characteristic of XTOOLS.
Recognizing that some anglers prefer all-metal pliers, XTOOLS introduced the proXseries. The die-cast, anodized-aluminum handles deliver strength (the cutters are rated for 105-pound wire) and corrosion resistance, while stainless-steel jaws firmly clamp down on hooks and other objects. Of course, these pliers float, thanks to the green EVA grips on the handles.
James Therrell, advanced product engineer for Shakespeare Fishing Tackle, says the company gathered input from pro-staff anglers and guides when designing XTOOLS pliers. "They feel different when you first pick them up because they don't have the heft of traditional metal tools, but you quickly get used to them," he says. "Use them for a day, and you'll see the thought that's gone into the product."
Respect The Limits
Caution: You can botch up your fine pair of fishing pliers by using them for tasks outside their intended purpose. For example, Therrell once received a call from a customer who complained that he had ruined a set of Floating pliers while changing a tire. Consumers must understand that nylon jaws designed for removing hooks won't stand the stress of cranking on lug nuts.
Pay attention to your pliers' cutter ratings; forcing your way through heavy mono or wire can damage the blades. Though Accurate's Piranha pliers are capable of snipping wire, repeatedly cutting metal reduces the blades' ability to cleanly clip braided line, according to Secrest. He recommends using a separate set of dedicated wire cutters for working with steel leaders.
Protect your investment with a sheath and lanyard when possible. A belt sheath makes pliers easily accessible while preventing them from sliding around loosely on the deck, and a lanyard keeps them attached to your wrist or hip. "I always use the lanyard because when dealing with fish, things can go in the drink," Secrest says. "Clipping on the lanyard is like wearing a leash on the board while surfing. You can feel it's there, but it doesn't bother you. And it's important for safety."
Choosing and using the right pliers means you'll do more gripping and less griping.
|Manufacturer/Model||Length (inches)||Weight (ounces)||Handle material||Spring- loaded||Jaw style||Jaw material||Cutters||Sheath||Lanyard||MSRP|
|Accurate/Piranha APL-7||7||4.8||Aircraft-grade aluminum||Yes||Long nose||Stainless steel||Stainless steel||Optional||Optional||$135|
|Accurate/Piranha APL-8||8||5.6||Aircraft-grade aluminum||Yes||Long nose||Stainless steel||Stainless steel||Optional||Optional||$140|
|Alutecnos/Mako||7||5.2||Aluminum||Yes||Long nose||Stainless steel||Stainless steel||Optional||Optional||$149|
|Coast Cutlery/6" Pro Fish||6||NA||Stainless steel||Yes||Long nose||Stainless steel||Stainless steel||No||Included||$12|
|Coast Cutlery/9" Pro Fish||9||NA||Stainless steel||Yes||Long nose||Stainless steel||Stainless steel||No||Included||$12|
|Donnmar/CP880 Ti||7.25||5||Titanium||Yes||Long nose||Titanium||Tungsten-carbide||Optional||Optional||$297|
|Hi-Seas/Ichiban Mono Rigging & Cutting||NA||NA||Stainless steel||Yes||Blunt nose||Stainless steel||Stainless steel||No||No||$13|
|Hi-Seas/Ichiban 6" Stainless Steel||6||NA||Stainless steel||No||Long nose||Stainless steel||Stainless steel||No||No||$16|
|ProFishCo/Super Plier PFP-2||6.5||8||Titanium-coated SS||Yes||Long nose||Titanium-coated SS||Tungsten-carbide||Included||Included||$70|
|ProFishCo/Side Cut PFP-7||7.5||10||Chrome-coated SS||Yes||Long nose||Chrome-coated SS||Tungsten-carbide||Included||Included||$90|
|Striker/Krok Billfisher 6" Deluxe||6||NA||Chrome-plated SS||Yes||Blunt nose||Stainless steel||Stainless steel||Optional||No||$50|
|Shimano/Brutas Dual-Dip Pliers||6||NA||Chromium steel||No||Long nose||Chromium steel||Chromium steel||Optional||No||$16|
|Shimano/Brutas Blue-Water Tool||6.5||NA||Stainless steel||Yes||Blunt nose||Stainless steel||Stainless steel||No||No||$30|
|Van Staal/FP 6000||6||5.5||Titanium||Yes||Long nose||Titanium||Tungsten||Included||Included||$289|
|Van Staal/SP 6500||6||6.4||Stainless steel||Yes||Long nose||Stainless steel||Tungsten||Included||Included||$199|
|XTOOLS/Floating Pliers||6.5||2.4||Nylon composite||No||Bull nose||Nylon composite||Tungsten-carbide||Optional||Included||$13|
|XTOOLS/HybridXPliers||6.5||2.4||Nylon composite||No||Long nose||Stainless steel||Tungsten-carbide||Optional||Included||$15|
|XTOOLS/proXseries||8||4.4||Aluminum||Yes||Long nose||Stainless steel||Tungsten-carbide||Included||Optional||$100|