There's one accessory pretty much every angler should carry, and that's a good set of pliers. I'll spare you the boredom of listing the obvious reasons why pliers are such a necessity for anglers, but there's certainly a wide variety to choose from these days. Ranging from cheap and basic to expensive and refined, there seems to be an increasing demand for the latter. After all, you have a precisely-made rod and reel, so why not follow that up with an equally-precise pair of pliers? The problem is, some of these tools can be quite pricey, costing $200–$300 or more! For those of you looking for a high-quality instrument at a much more modest price, Hansom Tackle, recently acquired by 3-TAND, offers some more down-to-earth options. In this accessories review, we'll dive into their AP-6 pliers to see if they truly deliver great performance at a reasonable price.
Starting with the basics, the AP-6 pliers are comprised of a machined and anodized red aluminum frame with built-in contoured rubber hand grips. The jaws are made of stainless steel and are replaceable, and you'll find small tungsten-carbide side cutters for quick clips. At the ends of the handles are holes for attaching a lanyard like our sample pliers. To sum it up, the machining and construction is clean, smooth, and very satisfying overall.
The AP-6 pliers are rated at a weight of 3.2 ounces making them quite light in hand. The action of the pliers is smooth and wobble free with a solid, strong feel when opening and closing. When the jaws are closed, the pliers will softly spring back open on their own if hand pressure is released—a very handy feature at times. Speaking of usage, the pliers are quite comfortable thanks to the smooth, contoured surfaces. There's also two large "bumps" in front of the rubberized grip portions which offer solid gripping points for extra leverage and also seem to help the pliers seat more securely in the sheath, too.
The cutters clip fishing line easily (not recommended for metals/wire) and the ridged jaws have plenty of grip for hook removal. The overall length of the jaws is slightly shorter than on my comparably-sized pair of needle-nose pliers, but with the cutters mounted on the side and not inside the jaws, the usable ridged portion is actually longer! I never encountered any issues regarding their size and most angler's shouldn't either.
This is an excellent pair of pliers that I enjoy using. Is there anything I'd like to see change? A quick-release clip attaching the lanyard to the pliers (rather than the large split ring) would be handy for fast, simple disconnect of the pliers from the lanyard. I'd also prefer a belt clip on the leather sheath in place of the large leather belt loop. While the belt loop is about as secure as you can get, a clip would allow fast detachment without having to undo your belt. It would also enable you to wear the sheath without a belt.
AP-6 pliers are available with either a USA-made leather sheath or a black nylon "tactical" sheath, both of which include an attached lanyard with generous extension capability. Remember the earlier part where I mentioned the reasonable price? At just $64.95 (with nylon sheath) or $74.95 (with leather sheath), the AP-6 pliers give anglers an affordable option in the world of precision pliers!
Overall Length: 6-1/2 inches