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Tool Review

Abel Pliers are Pricey but Exude Quality


Date: 5/25/10
Tackle type: Tools
Manufacturer: Abel
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 8.00 - GREAT

There are three kinds of pliers, those that are standard long nose pliers that anglers use to pull double duty as fishing pliers, affordable fishing pliers with fish friendly features and premium pliers designed with high end materials and bear an equally high price. Abel pliers fit into that third category and are designed for serious anglers that are looking for more out of their pliers than sheer bang for the buck functionality.


Abel #4 Pliers Specifications

Material Machined aluminum
Length 6'5"
Weight 4.1oz.
Features Pointed jaws, jaws are replaceable, integrated cutters are designed for cutting up to 250 pound braided wire, sealed spring, bottle opener, special finish options available
MSRP $150 (standard finish)
$200 (customized solid finishes)
$275 (custom artistic or fish pattern finish)

$40 optional leather holster


Abel pliers come in a dizzying array of options including fish finishes


Impressions: If you are a fly fishermen then Abel Automatics Inc. needs no introduction, the company has a well earned reputation as one of the very best premium fly reel manufacturers on the market. Their Super and Abel Creek series of reels are extremely popular among fly fishermen looking for exceptional performance, and for those seeking something different and unique Abel also offers a dizzying array of customized finishes. These finishes include solid anodized colors, artistic hand painted patterns and my personal favorite… fish patterns. 


Fly anglers know Abel well for the company's premium fly reels, the pliers are also machined from aluminum


While I have fished with Abel reels for quite some time I never felt compelled to try one of their pliers, mainly because of the high cost. That all changed on a trip to New Mexico where I was fishing for Browns in the San Juan River. I got one of the hooks stuck in my jacket and had to use my non-branded pliers to cut the hook out, when I tried to do this one of the blades snapped. The guide I was with handed me his pliers, a pair of Abel #4 pliers, and it cut through the shank like a hot knife through butter. It was right then that I knew I had to try a pair.


Though each pair of Abel pliers comes with a lanyard the leather holster is a 40 dollar option


Abel manufacturers two different sizes of pliers and the “#2” is 5.5” in length and is designed for freshwater applications, light saltwater, bass angling and fly fishing. The larger “#4” pliers are 6.5 inches in length and are designed for the complete range of freshwater applications, saltwater and fly fishing.


A standard black finish side by side with the customized trout pattern


While the #2 pliers can cut 175 pound braided wire the #4 pliers are able to cut a maximum of 250 pound wire. The smaller #2 pliers weigh in at 2.9oz. and the larger #4 pliers weigh 4.1oz. Both pliers come with replaceable jaws which includes the steel cutting surface. The only other differentiator is that the larger #4 pliers comes with a built in bottle opener. While all Abel pliers come with a curled lanyard the leather sheath is a 40 dollar option.


A look from the top


Real World Tests: To test the Abel #4 Pliers I split my time fly fishing for Cutthroat Trout and using conventional gear for Largemouth and Striped Bass. I targeted these species both in California and Nevada and tried to test the pliers in a wide array of applications ranging from cutting mono, fluorocarbon leaders, braided line and even wire.


There are also different holster options, the one on top is designed to also hold the "Abelblade" knife


Operation: My first pair of Abel pliers was the standard black finished version, but my curiosity as to how well the customized finishes would hold up eventually led me to purchase a second pair with a rainbow trout fish graphic. I also got a matching Abelblade knife in the same pattern. The first thing I noticed when holding the pliers was how solid they felt. Unlike many pliers that come from molds or are stamped Abel machines their pliers much like their fly reels, the result is a tool that feels particularly refined.


Ms. Casey holds up the customized trout combo


Next Section: The field tests continue, ready for a dip?









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