My favorite gear recommendations are the things that aren’t splashy and that not many people know about, but that certain guides swear by. This one comes courtesy of my buddy Oliver White who owns and operates Abaco Lodge in the Bahamas. I spent a good part of the past month or so running around the jungles in South America with Oliver. He is young in years, but old in fishing miles, having guided from Argentina to Alaska and throughout the United States, and now runs a top-shelf operation near some of the world’s best bonefish flats.
Oliver knows his stuff like few I’ve ever met. And, frankly, he can get all the sponsor swag he wants. So I was curious to see him working with a pair of simple Manley’s Super Pliers. They’re made in England, and he orders his through Captain Harry’s Fishing Supply in Florida.
“It’s all about the parallel jaws,” Oliver insists. He’s referring to the fact that when he squeezes the pliers the jaws close flatly and evenly, literally like a vise. The advantages for gripping heavy leaders and hooks is obvious from the onset. They also cut reliably.
Another advantage is that they don’t cost an arm and a leg. Available in black oxide or teflon finishes, 5-inch models cost $30 and $34 respectively, and 6-1/2-inch models are a few bucks more. For most fishing applications in freshwater and on the flats, the 5-inchers are plenty.
I wouldn’t leave them submerged in water too long, and you’ll want to rinse and lubricate them regularly. They also don’t have long pointed noses for reaching into the mouths of toothy fish. But I was convinced enough to order a pair for myself.