Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Orvis Hydros Pliers- a First Look

So a few days after the Orvis Podcast on spring pike fishing that I did went live I recieved a package. Tom Rosenbauer must have heard the interest I had in getting ahold of the new Hydros pliers and he decided to take pity on me. I got a pair of each of the new pliers- both the freshwater and saltwater versions.  

I haven't had time to get them out on the water yet, but it won't be long before they get a whole lot of use. So let me give you the out of the box review for now. Both pairs share some pretty awesome features :
The indentation holds the pliers very well
The sheath is a nice tight fit and has a belt loop on the back. On the belt loop to which the lanyard is attached. One of the things I liked best about the sheath is the fact that it is semi-rigid and has an indentation that fits just behind the head of the pliers. This holds the pliers in the sheath tightly. I held the pairs upsidedown and shook them and they didn't pop out. I think this will easily hold up to most situations on the water. They might pop out if you are doing some serious cheerleading- cartwheels, handstands, etc, but for most anglers there shouldn't be many problems.

The clip and clamp- both very solid
 The lanyard is pretty sweet. I have always prefered spring cord to zingers for most of my gear. I hate when a zinger gives up on me and that has happened all to frequently. That has not happened with coiled cord. The cord is  crimped solidly onto a spring loaded clip on either end. The clip is totally solid and I have been trying to get it to fail (thinking that the clip could somehow get caught on the D-ring on the sheath or pliers and pop loose). So far that has not happened and I don't forsee it happening. Totally well designed. You can take the pliers off the lanyard to use it elsewhere if you wanted to- the freshwater pliers could be useful at home building leaders or on the tying bench.

Check out those cutters.
I really, really, really like the fact that these pliers both have replaceable cutting surfaces. The cutters are super sharp. I have cut everything from 7x tippet to 60 lb wire to 80 lb mono back and forth with both pairs. No problems. Good straight cut every time. Much better than other pliers I have used- I have a nice pair of long nosed pliers from another company that the cutters went on in the first week of use. Not so handy. AND the Hydros come in the package with a replacement pair of cutters and the Allen wrench needed to replace them. Super sweet. To top it off, if it ever comes to it the jaws are replaceable too. 
Other cool stuff- The pliers are aluminum making them lightweight and strong. They are spring loaded so remain open until closed by the user. The jaws have striations to help grip things. There are multiple holes in the handles which allow you to put a hook into to be able to tighten a knot. These are well thought out folks.

Here are some photos and some more thoughts on the different pairs:
Freshwater pair- nice small tips to the jaws to grab onto smaller flies- probably not great for a size 18 or smaller fly, but for most applications for bass, trout, carp and the like they are perfect!

Great color and a nice small size- great for the freshwater angler! 

The saltwater pair is considerably larger and more rugged- just like you would expect for bigger saltwater species. They will be perfect for pike and musky too!
Heavier duty jaws for bigger hooks. The cutters are similarly bigger for heavier wire and mono. 

 While these pliers are not cheap ($139 for the freshwater and 159 for the saltwater), they are built to last and very well designed. The inclusion of the sheath, lanyard and a spare pair of cutting blades are definitely added value.  I am sure that these tools are also backed up by the Orvis guarantee. I have to say very well done Orvis- I am really looking forward to putting them through the paces this year. They will be great on my trip to Florida in a couple of weeks.

PS- thanks a million Tom! 

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