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Tool Review

Making the Cut? The Ardent Rigger Tool (continued)

Located on the side of the tool, the hook sharpener was probably the best feature. The sharpener is designed with a v-notch that cradles the hook point and makes the task much easier. About the only gripe here is that the surface area of the sharpener could be longer, but in this case that would mean a whole redesign of the housing. As it is, it works relatively well and gets the job done.

The hook sharpener was efficient, but could be bigger.

On the inside of the tool is a seemingly handy belt clip with a jig-eye cleaner that's built in. Unfortunately, the design of both really promotes frustration! The curved belt clip is quite difficult just to put on, and trying to wear it on an elastic waistband is basically a futile effort. In addition, it should be slightly longer so it grabs the belt or waistband more securely. Lastly, if you place your thumb on the top of the clip for added force when pushing it on, the jig-eye cleaner is right there and sticks into your finger—ouch!

This feature begs for a redesign!

The jig-eye cleaner was a bit of an oddity. While it should work to clear certain styles of larger jig eyes, it is useless on smaller eyes that are recessed into the head slightly, such as on every single one of my football jigs!   

Located on the bottom of the tool, the extendable line threader is a neat addition that works as advertised. The long, thin wire extends out from the housing via a thumb-operated slide mechanism and features a tiny hook on the end. This is very handy for threading line through a casting reel levelwind as well as picking out a dreaded backlash.

This is a creative feature, however I still would rather just use my fingers.

Take notice of how the right (bottom in the picture) side of the jaws is blocked off by the lanyard eyelet.

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

Ardent Rigger Tool Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Not a high quality or precisely made item, it broke within just a short period of normal use. We were concerned this was an anomaly so we even bought a second one to test and the clippers broke within the first week of use as well 4.5
Performance Parts of the tool did not perform as expected 4
Price If everything worked as intended it would be a "fair" price, but with the issues it was "sub par." We would rather pay more for a tool that lasts 4
Features Great features; if everything functioned! This tool has good intentions but is simply not tough enough for even weekend warriors 5
Design (Ergonomics) Comfortable to hold and stays out of the way but there are some questionable ergonomics with the lanyard eyelet getting in the way of the cutter 6
Application The tool could still sharpen a hook, slice braid, and pick out a backlash even after the cutter lever snapped. Overall the tool would address a wide range of applications if it was built more robust 6

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

+ Lightweight and compact - Clippers were not good and quickly broke
+ Handy lanyard - Belt clip and jig eye cleaner are not user-friendly
+ Decent hook sharpener - Cheap feel
+ Made in the USA  


Conclusion: Anglers are always on the lookout for gadgets that make fishing easier. While the Ardent Rigger was designed to be one of these gadgets, it unfortunately missed the mark in a pretty big way. It was a disappointment since it promised to deliver many handy functions, but it ultimately wound up falling short in regards to both design and overall quality. While the initial concept for a multi-functional rigging tool is a good one we would like to see Ardent take another stab at it with a more robust, functional design. There are a lot of Ardent products we like including the company’s recent reel designs and the Smart Cull Pro Culling System but unfortunately the Ardent Rigger Tool just doesn’t make the cut.    

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