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Tool Review

Rapala Sportsman's Combo: A foundation to build your tool collection upon...

Date: 12/28/01
Tackle type: Tools
Manufacturer: Rapala
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 9.03 + Best Value Award!

Introduction: There are two kinds of fishing tools: those that help you prepare your tackle for fishing and those that you utilize while actually fishing. Rapala introduces an affordable set called the Sportsman Combo (RTC-6PCHS) that has the basic tools to address both these applications.

Sportsman Combo Components

Fishing Pliers Nickel plated finish, soft grip handles, split shot crimper, crank tuner, 6 1/2" length
Neck Lanyard 36" (Branded)
Fishing Clippers Oversized thumb grip, blade, and bird-nest pick, crank tuner
Hook Sharpener Fine grit, aluminum oxide stone (retractable)
Jig Buster Plastic with chrome spring
MSRP $13.99

Impressions: The Sportsman Combo belongs to Rapala's accessory line which consists of both "Sportsman" and "Proguide" lines. The Proguide tools feature a black finish, tools for more detailed applications, and higher quality materials, but is priced higher.

We chose to review the "6PCHS" because it has all the elements of a good starter set with tools that can handle 80% of all basic Angler's needs. First impression of the tool set is that it is well thought out with lots of small but noticeable bonuses built onto each tool. (like the bird nest pick and split shot crimp)

The elements of the combo: The Rapala "Sportsman ComboPack" comes with:

Rapala's Combo Pack has almost everything you need to get started

The Breakdown:

Pliers: The Rapala pliers are nice and feel like a much more expensive set of pliers with the soft grip and added value features. The side of the pliers features three slots for tuning cranks, but we found using the traditional pliers teeth was still easiest for fine tuning. The cutter is sharp and able to even cut through 20lb braided steel saltwater leader with no problem. The splitshot crimp is a welcome improvement over standard pliers and it is now easier to get split shots tight on the line quickly. Most impressive of all is the fact Rapala coats the entire pliers with Nickel so it is much more able to resist rusting.

We still felt tuning cranks was easiest with the nose rather then using the slot tool (see slots on side of pliers)

Clippers: While most fisherman simply use a standard nail clipper the Rapala takes this idea one step further with the multi-functional clipper/tuning tool. The Rapala clipper is finished in black and the blades are actually flat making it easier to cut lines. The clipper has n enlarged thumb grip so working the pliers with gloves is not an issue. What impressed us further was the inclusion of a line pick to help work out those nasty bird nests on bait casting reels and a multifunctional blade. The clipper also has slots for fine tuning crankbaits (just like the pliers).

The Rapala line pick is great for working out nasty birdnests

Hook Sharpener: The Rapala hook sharpener is actually a aluminum oxide stone put into a pocketknife format. It is easy to use and small enough to stow away in any tackle bag. It was able to sharpen my hooks in 3 to 4 strokes.

3 to 4 strokes and the hooks were as sharp, or sharper then new!

Jig Buster: The one tool in the kit that wasn't necessary. The jig buster has a cool name but all it is intended to do is punch holes in jigs where the factory paint has sealed the line ties over. We found using the "pick" on the clipper could do this job just fine. Too bad Rapala couldn't have substituted this tool with a mini scale or tape measure.


Neck Lanyard: A simple but useful tool that allows Anglers to put all these tools (with the exception of the pliers) around their necks for easy access. The Neck Lanyard is high quality and is branded neatly with the red Rapala logo.



Rapala Sportsman Combo Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Great quality, and Rapala really goes the extra mile with grips and coatings to make sure these tools will last! 9
Performance Works well for both tuning and during fishing when you need to fix, tie, and cut lines and lures quickly 9.2
Price A great price for 5 tools that can be the foundation of any Anglers toolset 9
Features All the features (and then some) required to tune and fish most lures 9
Design (Ergonomics) These tools are obviously not standard tools repacked for fisherman. these are tools designed for lure maintenance and fishing 9
Application All the tools are great at home or in the field , with the exception of the jig buster which is easily replaced by the pick or any sharp hook 8.5

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Great construction L Do you need a jig buster?
J Many applications  
J Designed for fishing  
J Added value features  
J Great Price  

Conclusion: The Rapala Sportsman Combo is a great value for what you get. With the exception of the jig buster (which is cool, but easily replaceable). The tools are a great foundation for any Angler that wants tools to help tune tackle before and during fishing. These are practical tools at a affordable price and like Rapala states "not just repackaged hardware tools, every tool is designed for specific tasks." So many added value features and good construction for such a low price make this a set definitely worth considering, and a worthy recipient of our Best Value Award!


           Until next time....Tight Lines!









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