Fly fishers festoon themselves with a host of tools and gadgets to help them in their relentless pursuit of trout.
All too often, though, they forget the tools needed to address emergency situations. Whether it’s a twisted line guide, loose reel foot, bent oarlock pin, or snagged zipper pull, standard angling tools won’t help. For those situations and more, a more rugged tool is required.
Fortunately, a host of modern multitools exist that perfectly address the needs of anglers. The tools our team of testers deemed necessary for anglers include: pliers (needle nose preferred), scissors, flat and Phillips screwdrivers, and a knife blade. Other tools that were considered desirable – but still optional – include: bottle opener, corkscrew, and fine file. Finally, those tools should be offered in one, compact, lightweight package.
Considering these factors we found a few perfect multitools for fly fishers.
SOG Sync II
This unique product offers 11 distinct tools in a compact package that happens to double as a belt buckle. It can also be clipped to wader or pack straps for easy access. The Sync II securely clips to the base plate, and releases with a simple one-handed flick, making it accessible at all times. The small tool unfolds to reveal stout pliers that are burly enough to tighten loose bolts on raft frames or hold bent cotter pins.
A small file, straightedge knife blade, bottle opener, and two flat screwdrivers reside in one of the plier arms. In the other is a small pair of scissors, and a Phillips driver. A 6-inch ruler is engraved along the edge of another arm as well. The SOG Sync II retails for $80 and weighs a mere 5 ounces.
Leatherman Juice CS4 & S2
Leatherman offers a huge array of multitools, but the Juice series ideally addresses the needs of anglers. The Juice CS4 offers tools any angler will appreciate — needle nose pliers, straightedge knife, scissors, awl, bottle opener, three flat drivers, and a Phillips driver. The CS4 also sports wire cutters that are stout enough to cut through wire leaders and saltwater bite guards. There’s also a small saw blade, and for those that prefer beverages that flow from corked rather than capped bottles, the CS4 offers an easy-to-use corkscrew and pulling lever.
These tools nest inside a compact, slim tool that fits comfortably in a vest or wader pocket. A small lanyard loop folds out for those who want the security of attaching the tool to their kit via a lanyard or zinger. The CS4 sells for $80 and weighs 5.6 ounces.
The Leatherman Juice S2 drops a few of those tools to offer similar functionality in a smaller, lighter package. The S2 lacks the saw blade and corkscrew, shedding just over an ounce of weight as a result. The S2 goes for $70 and weighs 4.5 ounces.
The compact Gerber Dime puts a dozen tools into a tiny package that’s ideal for the minimalist angler. The slim little Dime folds open to reveal a small spring-loaded needle nose pliers, backed by a small knife blade, compact Phillips driver, a small and medium-sized flat driver, and a fine file suitable for sharpening fly hooks.
The Dime weighs a mere 2.2 ounces and measures just 2.75 inches when closed, making it a perfect fit into the smallest kit. This diminutive multitool sells for $25.