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Tool Review

Job Done - Accurate's Redesigned Piranha Extra Lite Pliers (continued)

Operation: So what elements go into a quality pair of fishing specific "pliers?" Let's start with the basics, strong jaws, sharp cutting blades, and the ability to ward off corrosion. The original Accurate Piranha Pliers could do all of this and from first glance they look almost identical in form factor to the Extra Lite model. The difference are the handles which have now been machined aggressively inside the handle, reducing weight while still remaining strong enough to provide plenty of leverage and pressure. When comparing the original 8" models the weight savings amount to a reduction of .8 ounces.


We buried the pliers in the sand, subjecting it to hours in the surf


The Piranha Extra Lite Pliers have ergonomically shaped handles which feel comfortable in hand, and also provide a solid grip even when the pliers are wet. The pliers are also spring loaded so they stay open, making it easier to apply pressure and make cuts with the tungsten carbide cutters, which are located the lower outer edge of the jaws.


Saltwater and fine sand couldn't do much to these pliers


These cutters can handle mono and braid quite easily but we also found that they were also capable of cutting through light wire as well. After a season of use these cutters did start to noticeably dull, and while I could still cut through braided lines I found myself applying extra pressure to make the cuts and they were nowhere near as clean as they were when the pliers were brand new. The good news is that replacement cutters are available, and it only takes two screws and less than a minute to swap them out.


Surprisingly sand did not penetrate the joint and the pliers still felt smooth when compressed


During tests I found that the standard jaws were quite large in diameter, which is great for working with larger hooks and working barbs out of saltwater fish, but when it came to precision work or removing finesse hooks the jaws tended to feel too big and a little cumbersome. The jaws also do not have the ability to help swap out split rings, but Accurate offers a "Jaws Kit" which can swap out the original jaws with a split-tip set of jaws which enables anglers to work with split rings. This kit retails for 15 dollars and comes with a pair of new screws. The ability to swap out the jaws ensures that in the unlikely event you snap the front of your original jaws you can quickly and easily return your tool to working condition.


The standard jaws are just a tad wide for finesse work, but very durable and good for inshore and offshore applications


During our tests we subjected these pliers to accelerated destruction tests including dropping them on lava rocks and even burying them in the Hawaiian sand and surf. We deliberately did not rinse them off and was surprised that the pliers did not rust at all. Even after being submerged and buried in the sand the tolerances of the pliers and the sealing of the joint and spring were so good that they continued to be easy to open and close, never exhibiting any gritty feeling whatsoever. The spring on the Piranha Extra Lite provides just the right amount of resistance, enabling the pliers to open up and not feel like you have to squeeze aggressively and exert any wasted energy clamping down or cutting lines. 


With pliers in pocket and fishing on the Big Island of Hawaii


Price and Applications: The new Piranha Pliers come in two sizes and while the 7" version is just a little bit more compact and lighter (.6oz lighter than the 8" to be exact), the added leverage and cutting power of the 8" model makes this a better choice for most anglers, including bass anglers that can use that extra length to extract barbed hooks from deeply hooked fish.


A Bluefin Trevally caught with a little help from the pliers


Both Piranha Extra Lite Pliers come backed with a one year warranty for the original purchaser that warrants that the pliers are free from defects in material and workmanship but doesn't cover damage or problems caused by misuse. So if you happen to run over the pliers with your truck your pretty much out of luck (though we did exactly that during our tests, and other than a few cosmetic scratches the pliers continue to perform just fine).


Ratings: (We've re-calibrated our ratings standard for 2008 and have included a key at the bottom of the following matrix as a guide)

Accurate Piranha Extra Lite Pliers Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Excellent materials and construction throughout. These pliers are machined aggressively and still feel solid in hand 9
Performance Overall strong performance in both fresh and saltwater applications. Excellent resistance to sand, grit and saltwater. The blades did dull after a season of use but the option to change out jaws and cutters is a big plus 8.5
Price At 99 dollars for the 8" model these pliers certainly fall in the premium category. They are more expensive than most pliers, especially when you consider the fact that the sheath and lanyard are options, but they do not feel like mass produced pliers and are made in the USA. 6
Features Excellent balance of light overall weight and power/cutting strength. The replaceable jaws and cutters are quality features and our biggest gripe is that you have to pay extra for the accessories 8
Design (Ergonomics) Very good ergonomics. The spring provides just the right amount of pressure and the handles are machined to provide a solid grip 8
Application Great for saltwater applications. Freshwater anglers may find the standard jaws a little too big and will need to pay extra for the spit-tip jaw option 8.5

Total Score

Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here

Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

+ Excellent materials and construction + Doesn't come standard with sheath and lanyard
+ Light and Ergonomic + Want all the options? This pair of pliers is expensive all in
+ Provides plenty of gripping power  
+ Cutters are able to slice through mono, braid and even wire. They dull over time but can be switched out  
+ Durable and corrosion resistant  


Conclusion: The Piranha Extra Lite Pliers look and feel like a premium product, and even after a season of use, and deliberate abuse, the pliers continue to perform beautifully. The only maintenance we have had to do is a few drops of oil between the joint and one replacement of the cutting blades, which retailed for $12.00. Overall these pliers are built with the same level of quality that we have come to expect from Accurate, and are able to hold up to just about anything that you can throw at them in fresh and saltwater environments. Just be sure to invest in the safety lanyard ($15.00) and the nylon sheath ($29.00), because no matter how tough these pliers are they simply wont do you any good if they are dropped over the edge of the boat. If there was one thing that we could change about these pliers it would be to include both these options standard, but like a high end sports car if you want all the bells and whistles your going to have to pay for them.


Designed for angling enthusiasts in both the fresh and saltwater, the Piranha Extra Lite Pliers deliver plenty of performance in a lightweight package


If your looking for a basic "tool" that gets the job done then the Accurate Piranha Extra Lite Pliers are going to be overkill. These pliers cater to the same audience that buy the company's reels, anglers that want, and demand, a premium precision machined product. Building aerospace components is in the company's DNA and it shows through in something as seemingly simple as a pair of pliers. Anglers that fish both freshwater and saltwater that are looking to invest in a high-end pair of pliers will find that the Piranha Extra Lite Pliers do so much more than just get the job done. 


Looking for the Piranha Extra Lite Pliers? Try Tackle Direct









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