Choosing the perfect fly fishing accessories can be confusing, especially to inexperienced anglers. This is mainly because you need to have multiple equipment, gadgets, tools, and lines to optimally enjoy your fly fishing outing. A fly fishing multi-tool is one of the most important things in an angler’s tackle box or vest. However, since some fishermen don’t know what to look for in a fly fishing multi-tool, we’ve taken the liberty to give you our top five picks and a few tips on how to get the best fly fishing multi-tool.
1. Best Overall: LEATHERMAN Wave
The Leatherman Wave is a favorite among most experienced anglers and outgoing people who love engaging in outdoor activities. While the multi-tool may not have the specific fishing features you may be looking for, it’s a high-quality multi-tool. The multi-tool has scissors for cutting through fishing lines and is extremely durable.
- Flathead screwdriver
- Leatherman Bit Driver Extender
- Electrical Crimper
- Can Opener
- Diamond-coated File
- Replaceable Wire Cutters
- Needlenose Pliers
2. Best Runner-Up: Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier
This is an affordable fly fishing multi-tool that comes packed with several important features. It’s a lightweight and rugged multi-tool that you can use all day while fishing. The Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier has a cutout design that reduces its overall weight. Moreover, the multi-tool is integrated uses a Saf.T.Plus locking system, which ensures that users are not accidentally injured when using the multi-tool. That also means that you can quickly and easily deploy your multi-tool while fishing without too much difficulty.
The manufacturer is known for being so creative in terms of craftsmanship. If you’re looking for a fully-featured multi-tool that is constructed with purpose in mind rather than flashiness, then this is the right multi-tool for you. It comes in a no-nonsense, sleek titanium color which makes carrying it around a breeze. The spring pliers of this multi-tool will always be easy to use, even if you’ve spent a long day on the water.
- It measures 3.5 inches long when closed and 6 inches when opened
- Weighs 9oz.
- Stainless steel handle
- Its sheath material is made from Ballistic nylon
- Lifetime limited warranty
3. Best for Versatility: Victorinox SwissTool Spirit Plus Ratchet
If you love planning for fly fishing trips with friends and family, then this multi-tool is a valuable addition to your tackle box. The versatile multi-tool comes with a whopping 24 other tools that you’ll definitely find useful while out on the water.
Whether you’re scaling fish, cutting lines, or fixing some broken items such as fishing reels, this multi-tool makes everything very easy and quick. The multi-tool also has a screwdriver, wire cutter, reamer, blade, and multiple saws. Its sturdy build can safely fold all the tools under two metal strips and still look so nice in terms of craftsmanship.
- Lanyard Hole
- Multiple saws
- Weighs 5.75oz
4. Best Budget: Rapala Fisherman’s Multi-Tool
Among the premium multi-tools on our list, this is the most affordable option you can find on the market. Unlike some of the other multi-tools out there that are multi-purpose, the Rapala Fisherman’s Multi-Tool is specifically designed for fishing outings.
So, if you want a tool that doesn’t give you several tools that you probably won’t need for your fly fishing expedition, it’s advisable to consider opting for this particular multi-tool. For example, the multi-tool has retractable line scissors and a jig eye buster that can be very useful to anglers. We noticed that the tool somewhat felt weird during testing, but after subsequent tries, the multi-tool seemed very user-friendly.
- Retractable line scissors
- Carabiner clip
- It comes with a beverage wrench
- Weighs 2.4oz
- Jig eye buster
- It has a soft-grip handle
5. Best for Experienced Anglers: Leatherman Wave Plus (Black)
This is an upgrade to the original Leatherman Wave model. The multi-tool comes with 18 tools that you’ll find very useful during your fly fishing expedition. Four of the 18 are outside tools. There is a stylistic combination of metal file, flat-blade knife, saw, and serrated knife.
Aside from the four outside access tools, you can still open the multi-tool to access the other remaining 14 tools. The multi-tool also comes with useful ruler markings on the out edges of the multi-tool handle.
- Several pliers
- Made in the USA
- Replaceable wire cutters
- 25-year warranty
- Serrated knives, files, screwdrivers, a wire stripper, scissors, bottle openers, among other tools
Factors To Consider When Buying the Best Fly Fishing Multi-Tool
Fly fishing requires you to have more than just a knife and pliers. Therefore, you need to re-evaluate your fly fishing needs carefully, so you can rest assured that you have everything you’ll need to be packed before leaving for the trip. In other words, the best fly fishing multi-tool should match your specific needs and never disappoint while you’re out on the waters.
Some of the critical factors to consider include:
Weight and Size
It’s important that you settle for the right weight and size of multi-tool depending on how long you’ll be out on the water. If you’ll be slogging across streams and thickets the entire day, then a heavy multi-tool may not be the right tool for the outing. In such situations, choose a lightweight multi-tool that won’t weigh you down as you enjoy your fly fishing expedition out there. The perfect tool, therefore, is a compromise between overall performance and its weight. The perfect multi-tool is a compromise between weight and its capabilities.
Sometimes, you’ll find yourself in situations where only one hand is available to handle the fly fishing multi-tool. Therefore, a multi-tool that you can effortlessly handle and use with one hand will be very handy equipment to any fisher. You should be able to operate the multi-tool with one hand yet be able to execute several tasks without too much difficulty.
It’s unfortunate that some fly fishing multi-tools don’t have scissors but have blades. While you can use the blade just as you would use scissors, it’s much easier to use the latter when fishing while on a rocking boat.
Furthermore, a multi-tool that has scissors is great for opening your snack packs as you fish. While you can comfortably use line cutters to cut through fishing lines, the scissors in your multi-tool will do a better job, especially in winter fishing. Spring-action scissors are particularly the best when it comes to fly fishing multi-tool features.
It’s critical that you invest in a durable fly fishing multi-tool that’ll last you for years without wearing out. For instance, a multi-tool made from corrosion-resistant high-end titanium model is more durable than one made from stainless steel. But, remember you’ll need to choose the right multi-tool based on your specific needs and budget.
With the needlenose pliers, an angler can easily manipulate the hook. Most multi-tools on the market have this feature, and so it shouldn’t be a problem finding what you’re looking for. You can equip jig baits and insert tees into rings by using the narrow ends of the multi-tool pliers. Having some pliers in your new multi-tool is extremely important to your fishing trips.
A file will come in handy when you want to sharpen hooks, particularly whenever they get bashed on rocks. Snags will make your tees, hooks, and doubles blunt from time to time as you continue fishing. Therefore, using diamond files that are special hook sharpeners is very critical.
This is the most popular tool in the tackle box of many anglers. Sometimes, you may need a large to fix something like an outboard engine. But, it’s optional, and you don’t have to fret much about it.
Interestingly, weird and unexpected things happen whenever you go out to fly fish. For instance, a hook can go through your fellow fisherman’s ear! The pliers-based nippers will come in handy in such situations.
American multi-tools have saws that can be very helpful when you’re out on the water. You can, for example, decide to saw out a seat for your fishing box from some random plywood piece. You may have noticed that seats made from foam boxes break so quickly, and you’ll soon need another one that you can saw out yourself.
If you love combining wine with your outdoor activities, then consider buying a multi-tool that has a corkscrew. But, in general, this is an optional feature for fly fishing multi-tools.
While most of the anglers out there use boats with lights and headlamps when they go fishing, you may also need a tiny flashlight. Although some fishermen may argue that it’s not that important in a fly fishing multi-tool, if you find one with a flashlight, you’re good to go.
You’ll need to cut through fishing lines while fly fishing. Hence, with a wire cutter, the experience will be easier and even more enjoyable as compared to using your teeth. In fact, a wire cutter will come in handy, especially if you’ve heavy-duty or braided fishing lines. Consider purchasing fly fishing multi-tools that come with replaceable blades.
A tool that is spring-loaded is easier to use than one that is not. So, you should consider settling for manufacturers that offer spring-loaded tools.
Like when looking for any product to purchase online or in physical stores, price is always an important consideration. You should always look for a product that will help you make the most out of your money. Expect to pay around $20 to $150 for a great fly fishing multi-tool. You should perhaps steer clear of very cheap multi-tools that may end up costing you more down the road because you’ll be compelled to make repeat purchases every time they break.
Today, there are several online marketplaces and privately owned stores that sell multi-tools designed for fishing. While there may be many fraudsters and scammers looking to target potential customers of multi-tools, there are other credible marketplaces such as Amazon that you should check out.
On the other hand, it’s wise to do some research around a particular brand, especially if you want to buy directly from the manufacturers or their authorized online stores. Ensure that the manufacturer you want to work with is a reputable household name in the world of producing quality multi-tools.
Last but not least, it’s crucial that you choose a multi-tool that is particularly designed for fishing. Multi-purpose multi-tools may have certain features you don’t need or lack the specific features you’re looking for in a fly fishing multi-tool. Your best bet is to go for multi-tools labeled “outdoors” if you don’t get those specified for fly fishing. Also, you need to think about the exact tools you usually need when out fishing to choose a tool that meets those specific needs.
Is carrying a multi-tool illegal?
If the multi-tool has a large knife or locking knives, it might be illegal to carry your multi-tool in some states or countries. For example, there are specific circumstances in which you’re allowed to carry a multi-tool in the US. In general, you’re not allowed to carry sharp objects including, but not limited to multi-tools, in your carry-on bags. Instead, you should have them packed in checked bags and carry them for a reasonable excuse.
While federal laws do not forbid these multi-tools, the laws in your state or municipality might suggest otherwise. You won’t get in trouble if you pack your multi-tool in a fly fishing tackle box and be able to prove that you headed out for a fly fishing outing. Don’t be tempted to suspend it on your belt and go with it to a bar, as that can be translated to using the tool for unlawful purposes.
Why do I need a fly fishing multi-tool?
If you often go for multi-day fly fishing trips, you may need this tool to help you fix something while out on the waters. Several other basic tasks, including cutting through the fishing lines, require you to have a good multi-tool with a wire cutter.
Without the right multi-tool, some of the small tasks that you can handle in three minutes will end up being 30-minute hassles. Furthermore, you don’t need to focus on purchasing the high-end models that are very expensive when a simple multi-tool can get the job done. Remember, a multi-tool is a versatile tool that you can use to handle various tasks in your home other than just fly fishing. If you’re not abusing the multi-tool, it can last for decades.
Can I purchase it as a gift to a friend or family member?
Both beginners and seasoned anglers need multi-tools to make their fishing experiences more enjoyable. No matter the fisher’s fishing experience, technique, or preferred species, multi-tools are very important additions to their fishing armor. So, since the tool can last for decades, you can imagine the number of times the individual will think of you! It’s a thoughtful gift to any angler.
Do fishing multi-tools corrode?
Since your new fly fishing multi-tool will occasionally come into contact with water, you should be worried about corrosion and, therefore, its longevity. Hence, you need to ensure that the fishing multi-tool you purchase is made from corrosion-resistant stainless steel.
However, the ability to be corrosion resistant is slightly dependant on how the multi-tool was handled during the manufacturing process. If you settle for well-known multi-tool makers such as Leatherman, you can be confident that all the tools in your multi-tool will never corrode. This is true even if the tool is frequently used when fishing in saltwater.
But, remember, if you use your multi-tool saltwater, you’ve to thoroughly clean it with fresh water before storing it in a dry place. In other words, if you properly take good care of your multi-tool, it can last a lifetime. Be wary of the cheap models of fishing multi-tools from less known brands that can start showing signs of corrosion even if they were advertised as made from stainless steel.
Is a Leatherman a good fly fishing multi-tool?
When it comes to manufacturing the best fly fishing multi-tool, Leatherman is a leader in this market. That is why the company gives you a whopping 25 years warranty on their products. That means that they back up their products so strongly because they believe their tools can last almost a lifetime.
They offer a range of models so you can choose whichever model suits your needs. Their tools are extremely sturdy, durable, and affordable. If you don’t abuse or break the multi-tool, it can serve you for several years. However, you need to know that their multi-tools are quite pricey because they quality materials and employ high-end manufacturing processes that smaller manufacturers can’t afford to try.
A fly fishing multi-tool is a versatile tool that’ll allow you to do cut lines and detach hooks almost effortlessly. Fly fishing is an enjoyable outing that you can enjoy with your close friends and family members in fresh or saltwater bodies. But, getting your hands on the best fly fishing multi-tool on the market requires you to do your homework thoroughly, read through quality product reviews, and engage with other buyers extensively before investing your money. If you have any suggestions of other fly fishing multi-tools that you liked, consider sharing your ideas in the comment section below.