I've been looking for a good pair of split ring pliers for a long time. I've been having a really tough time finding a pair that allows me to quickly and efficiently change hooks and split rings on my smaller baits. I do a lot of damage fishing finesse crankbaits and I change the hooks religiously; sometimes several times per day. I have about three pairs of split ring pliers in my boat and each one has been way too big for what I need. It got to the point where it was actually quicker to just use my fingernail.
I got a pair of Mustad Titanium Micro SS Split Ring Pliers, however, and they've solved my problem and made my tackle tweaks much, much quicker. I'll quickly take you through what I like about them.
Finally, a thin pair of split ring pliers
I have never quite understood why many split ring pliers are designed to be so bulky. When you finally get the split ring separated, they're so thick that they'll actually bend or warp the split rings. It has always seemed a little counterintuitive to me. These pliers, however, get separate the split rings on the first try, every single time. You don't have to bobble around and keep turning the rings to find the "sweet spot" or drop your lure ten times before you finally getting your hook on.
I can swap out the hooks or split rings in about 10 or 15 seconds with these pliers. I'm embarrassed to admit it, but with my previous pliers, it was taking me several minutes and wasting a lot of precious fishing time.
They're not "too" small
While these pliers are pretty small, the handle section is large enough to accommodate larger hands. I have big hands and I haven't found myself fumbling around trying to use these. They fit comfortably between your palm and the middle digits of your fingers and again, they make those small, in-boat tackle adjustments much less of a chore.
I also really like the non-slip grips on the Mustad Titanium Micro SS Split Ring Pliers. They're securely fastened to the steel, so they don't slip off like many others I've tested over the years. They're also quite tacky; I can easily use them with wet or slime-covered hands without dropping them in the middle of a task.
No rust so far
The German stainless steel is coated with titanium nitride, which is designed to stop rust from forming. I've purposely left them in the elements for several weeks and haven't noticed even a speck of rust so far. Will they stay rust-free for a year or more? That's the million-dollar question with most fishing pliers, so I'll have to wait several months before reporting on that. But so far, they've held up remarkably well.
I think most anglers will enjoy the ability to operate these pliers with one hand. The jaws are spring loaded and stay open, but there's not an actual spring in the joint. I really like that, because I've owned several similar products, but with springs, and they tend to pop out or rust at the most inopportune times.
Available at Tackle Warehouse
These are going to stay in my boat for a long time. I know split ring pliers aren't necessarily the sexiest piece of fishing equipment for an angler, but they're a necessary tool to keep your expensive lures performing as they should while extending the life of them. I'm not a huge tackle tweaker, but even I can appreciate an intelligently designed pair of split ring pliers. If you're tired of the bulky, rust-prone models out there, I suggest giving these a look.