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October 25, 2001

Strap-Wrench Tip

After catching a few fish, you feel the reel getting a little loose on the rod. Most crews reach for the channel locks to clamp the well-worn locking rings down on the reel seat, maybe leaving a couple dents and traces of metal shavings or, even worse, a shiny gouge and a pile of metal shavings. With a top-quality custom 80-pound trolling rod running upward of $1,000, I wouldn't think of having a pair of channel locks anywhere near my tackle. This is a job for a cloth strap wrench.

After catching a few fish, you feel the reel getting a little loose on the rod. Most crews reach for the channel locks to clamp the well-worn locking rings down on the reel seat, maybe leaving a couple dents and traces of metal shavings or, even worse, a shiny gouge and a pile of metal shavings.
With a top-quality custom 80-pound trolling rod running upward of $1,000, I wouldn't think of having a pair of channel locks anywhere near my tackle. This is a job for a cloth strap wrench. A strap wrench is infinitely adjustable to any size reel seat, unlike channel locks with only four fixed positions. And, in the saltwater environment, a quality strap wrench will not rust, bleed or require any maintenance while stored in the boat's tackle center - while any adjustable pliers will rust overnight in the cockpits of most boats.
Most important, a strap wrench will not mar the knurled finish on the rod butt. After hundreds of tackle assemblies and breakdowns, my tackle still looks as good as new.

- Capt. Scott Kerrigan
Wilton Manors, Florida