Friday, January 10, 2014

Gear Review- Rising Fly Fishing Tools

I've been a big fan of Rising Tools for the last few years.  I initially ordered the Crocodile pliers after seeing them in a catalog.  I was intrigued with their design and, after buying a pair out in Colorado; I was very impressed with their quality.  Since then, I have amassed a small arsenal of Rising Tools.  I have collected many brands' hemos, clamps, nippers, scissors, de-barbing pliers, needlenose pliers etc... etc.  After using Rising's tools, all my other gadgets have pretty much been retired to my desk drawer or have been given away.  Above, you can see my collection.  From left to right I have the Big Needles, Crocodile, Bobs Tactical (straight), Bob's Tactical (curved), another Bob's in red and a Diamond File. 

Let me go ahead and get the Crocodile pliers and the Diamond File out of the way.  The Crocodile pliers are a robust and novel design.  The idea is to clamp the void in the nose around your line and slide it down to the fly in order to dislodge a barbless hook from the jaws of a fish (needs to be barbless).  This functions the same way as a multitude of other tools but is a much more durable and versatile product.  I use these during the white bass run in the spring.  They make it super easy to release a fish quickly without taking it out of the water- which gels with Rising's mantra- "Keep Fish in H2O."  I am a big fan of this line of thinking and I personally strive to inflict the least amount of stress to the fish I catch.  I want the fish to be happy because they make me happy.  

I do not use the Crocodiles for trout fishing very often because the smooth area of the jaws is too fat to debarb the tiny flies I often use. If you fish out West and tend to throw huge dries and streamers- this wouldn't be a problem for you- I'm talking about size 18s down to 26s. The Crocodiles also have a cutter which works very well.

The Diamond File is a fantastic hook file and works just as you would expect.  It has two grooves on one side and on on the other.  It has a nice rubber grip and works beautifully.  I even used it in a pinch to sharpen a knife.

This is what is always attached to the strap of my sling pack.  You can see the Rising Nippers attached to my drying patch.  The nippers are very solid, not much to say other than they have a rubber grip, eye clearing needle and are very sharp.  By the way, I love that my Bob's Tacticals clamp well enough to leave on my bag like that.  Many pairs of clamps would fall off. 

The Bob's Tactical Scissors are easily my favorite fishing tool- I prefer the straight jaws but that is just like... my opinion, man.  The inside of the tip is smooth for debarbing and holding flies.  This is key- serrated jaws are useless for smashing barbs.  The meaty part of the jaws are serrated- which is useful for gripping large hooks.  I use these pliers for both trout and bass so it is nice that they are stout enough to handle larger flies.  
     The Tacticals also have scissor blades just below the jaws.  If you haven't already used a clamp/scissor combo you are missing out.  I am not sure why I even have nippers on my pack because this one tool eliminated the need for nippers.  I can honestly rig up a fly rod faster and get more fishing time in because of the Bob's Tactical Scissors.  You do not need to switch between a clamp to mash a barb- to a nipper to cut off the tag- and then back to clamps to set split shot.  These hemos can do it all.  My one gripe is that the thumb hole is too small for my thumb.  As you can see in the picture, I hold them backwards for this reason- really not a big deal and I could probably fix this by removing the rubber from the thumb hole.

This picture is just to show you the meatiness of the Bob's Tactical Scissors as compared to ordinary fishing clamps.  One great and often overlooked plus for the Bob's Tacticals is that the tips meet before they lock.  Some clamps have to be locked in order for the jaws to meet... which is mildly annoying. 

I am a big fan of using my clamps to hold a small fly while I tie it on.  I just use the clamp like a handle and I spin them to make a clinch knot- these clamps work very well for this.

Moving on. I just got the Big Needles from Rising.  These are a very improved version of your standard needle nose pliers.  I honestly have not really gotten to use these yet but I can already tell you they are sweet.   These bad boys are a whopping 8 inches long and very slim- yet stout.  They are spring loaded- which makes them way easier to use with one hand and they have a lock on the bottom.  The locking feature is great because you can clamp them on your pack or bag just like smaller clamps or clamp them while working on something- though you do have to use two hands to make them lock.  

 I think the main application for these, at least for me, will be bass fishing or fishing streamers and large flies for trout.  The pliers also have cutters (will not cut hooks) and a cutout for setting weights.  The cutters work very well though I could see them wearing down eventually.  These pliers look to be machined steel and the quality is very good.  One thing I don't like about these pliers is that they are all black.  I have had terrible luck with dropping fishing tools and it never helps you locate them on the river bed when they are all black.  It would be nice to have an option with a bright colored handle- though you could easily attach a brightly colored lanyard.  

Rising makes a ton of other useful and well thought out fishing tools designed to make you fishing trip better and to "Keep Fish in H2O"- check them out here:  

FYI- I purchased all of these tools with my own money except the nippers, the curved jaw Bob's  and the red straight jawed Bob's- which were graciously sent to me by Rising for this review.  I also bought a Rising "Flask Pack" for my father that he loves.  I may review it at a later date.

Little Red River Fishing Report- 1/4/14

Last month my bud Walker and I were talking and he told me he was thinking of getting into fly fishing.  Hundreds of dollars and a few weeks later -boom- here he is with his first fly caught rainbow trout.  Despite the "arctic vortex" weather Arkansas was experiencing, it was hovering around 40 degrees as we made it out to the river.  I got Walker set up with a standard midge set up and within half an hour he had broken off a couple rainbows and landed the little jewel you see in the picture there.

The Rainbows up by the dam were looking and fighting like very healthy fish.  This one was pretty despite his missing fin.  

Walker ended up landing a good number of fish in the seemingly short time we were out.  Before we knew it we had the wives calling and reminding us that we hadn't eaten or rested in six hours and informing us that they had been to every shop in a twenty mile radius.  Walker commented that he couldn't believe we had been fishing for as long as we had and that he hadn't even thought about what time it was.  That is when you know you're having a good day.

I caught this little browny over on the shoals.  He took a small black streamer and was the only brown I caught that day.

Well, looks like there is another unfortunate fishing addict in Arkansas.  Poor guy, I should have warned him that this sport leads to nothing but empty bank accounts, decreased work attendance, sunburns and irritated wives.  Oh well, you live and you learn I guess.