My kayak is littered with fishing tools. I keep a pair of scissors and a pair of pliers on the front of my gear crate. A set of snippers dangles from a tether on my life vest. In my ditch bag, I have a multitool and folding knife. To handle big fish, I stick a small gaff in my tankwell. Each tool has a purpose and must be accessible in the midst of chaos.
The most important quality of any kayak fishing tool is sturdy construction. A tool should work properly even when coated in water, fish slime and sand. To last years, the tool must be built of corrosion resistant components and designed to avoid dirt and grime. In recent years, these qualities have been available on more tools at lower prices. Kayak fishing tools take a lot of abuse. Be sure they are ready for action at a moment’s notice.
$87.79 | rapala.com
A good pair of pliers is as valuable as a third hand. To grip hooks and cut line, pliers make fishing easier and safer. Rapala’s Elite Pliers have crosscut jaws for a tighter grip on the line and hooks. The replaceable line cutters will snip through braid, monofilament and light wire. Inside the handle, two crimpers can tighten small crimps. The large handle is slip resistant and easy to grip. To protect moving parts, the Elite Pliers use a unique hinge that avoids corrosion and wear. Magnetic lockout keeps the pliers closed when they are in the case. The Elite Pliers are coated with Cerakokote, a lightweight, UV resistant anti-corrosion covering.
$70 | gerbergear.com
A few years ago, Gerber turned their knife and tool expertise towards fishing and reached out to kayak anglers for help designing the best pliers. The result is the unique Magniplier with offset jaws and a large finger loop. A year later, they added the Magniplier Salt with corrosion resistant materials and components. The offset jaws improve line-of sight when cutting line or gripping a hook. Instead of the jaws being blocked by my hand, the lowered handles keep the jaws and cutters in view. The Magniplier Salt is built of corrosion resistant materials and the gripper pads and carbide cutter blades are replaceable.
$12.99 | berkley-fishing.com
The most important fishing tool in my box is a good pair of scissors. I use scissors to cut line, bait and modify soft plastics. Scissors are also great for opening packages of lures. Scissors are far safer and more accurate than a knife—since the blades are closed, I don’t accidentally cut myself. Berkley’s XCD Scissors start with corrosion-proof stainless steel blades and cold molded handles. The ergonomic handles are comfortable and provide maximum cutting power. Partially serrated blades can cut braid or monofilament. At only 5.5 inches, the scissors are easy to fit in a tackle box or cup holder.
Ugly Tools Multi-Tool
$39.99 | purefishing.com
For emergency repairs and unexpected circumstances, I always keep a multi-tool in my ditch bag. Most multi-tools are too bulky and awkward to take the place of a pair of scissors, knife or pliers. But, if I lose one of these tools overboard, the multi-tool jumps into action. Or, when a screw or wire comes loose, I grab the multi-tool for a quick fix.
This year, I’m using the Ugly Stik Ugly Tools Multi-Tool. The small, light 11-function tool is a perfect fit in my five-liter dry bag. The tool includes a Phillips and flat head screwdriver, knife, bottle opener and hook eye tool with hook file. If I lose my scissors, the small snippers will fill in to cut monofilament or braid. The Multi-Tool is coated in corrosion resistant material to hold up against water, grit or slime.
$179.99 | simmsfishing.com
For standup fishing, I always keep a set of low-profile pliers in my life vest pocket so I can change lures or unhook a fish without sitting down. Designed for fly fishermen who need pliers to attach to their fishing vests, Simms Fishing Flyweight Plier uses a unique holster that clips on my life vest. The pliers are small, light and powerful. Built of corrosion resistant aluminum with stainless steel cutters and jaws for a lifetime of exposure to salt and sand. The unusual shape, with one handle longer than the other, is designed to give anglers multiple options for holding the pliers and take up less space on my life jacket.
$164.99 | bubba.com
For landing large fish, a kayak angler needs a compact and powerful gaff. The Bubba Portable Gaff fits in a rod holder or tankwell without getting in the way. The carbon fiber shaft is light and strong with grippy rubber handle. To gaff almost any size fish, a three-inch hook is offset for incredible accuracy and power. An integrated hook cover keeps the angler safe and the wrist tether keeps the gaff in the kayak. When the big trophy is on the line, Bubba’s Portable Gaff will seal the deal.
This article was first published in Kayak Angler Issue 46. Subscribe to Kayak Angler and get the magazine delivered to your front door. Download the Kayak Angler Magazine+ app to seamlessly glide between the digital archives, the latest articles and videos.
Just a little off the top. | Feature photo: Roberto Westbrook