Click…Click…Click click click… “Dammit!”
We’ve all been there: clippers that have been dulled by the elements. The only thing that is worse is pliers that have been rusted by use that they’re hard to close or open. The scenario when you have a fish at the boat, or in the net, and your pliers don’t work? A nightmare.
Pliers that work and ones that don’t are the different between the moment that is meant to feel good — the landing, the grip, the quick release — can become rushed and anxiety-ridden. A cheap pair and a good pair is the difference between shrugging it off and a high-five. That’s a big difference.
For the 2015 season, I’ve been testing Hatch’s Nomad pliers. I’ve put them through a battery of tests and, at the end of the season, I can say that they are my favorite pliers on the market. Here’s why.
Out of the box, they have the clean, simple, sharp look for which Hatch has become known — and which is today’s classic contemporary look. There’s not a lot of embellishment; every feature has a purpose. The red contrast stitching to the black leather is about the only embellishment, and even that’s fairly understated.
At 3.9 oz the pliers are light in the hand. Even after a solid week of using them, with some 12+ hour days of clipping leader, tippets, flies, and even of landing some fish, they didn’t wear on me. They have grooves for your fingers, which fit my hand perfectly, and some other ridges for extra grip if you have to use them in an unusual or uncomfortable grip. They never once slipped on me.
These pliers are also tough. I’ve used them in a variety of circumstances — Atlantic salmon on the Gaspe, stripers across New England, false albacore off CT and RI, and even Tenkara fishing for trout in the Whites — and have, I admit, not cleaned them thorough after every use. And still, they’ve held up strong. After a lot of use in saltwater, they haven’t rusted.
Their construction is solid. The arms are made from aluminum protect by a type II anodize, while the jaws are stainless steel. Similarly, the cutter are made from a tungsten carbide. All of these pieces are replaceable, and so it’s more likely that the stripers will return to gangbuster levels before you have to replace the whole set. (What the beer opener is made of, I don’t know, but even that is replaceable, should you open enough bottles of Shipyard that you need a replacement piece.)
In the end, I high recommend these pliers. After one season, they’ve become my go-to set, and I’d recommend you spend the extra to get a pair that’ll stick with you through the years and across the species.