A few years ago, around the same time I was trying out the Econoscale versus paying for a real Boga Grip, a friend of mine in the fly fishing industry mentioned that he was pretty ticked off, because one of his suppliers of high end ($150+) fishing pliers was selling an extremely similar product to a large big box store for less than a third of the price. He wasn’t offended so much by the reality of that situation (which happens all the time), but rather that he couldn’t order enough units to get such a good price himself. He understood that if he could get the supplier’s best price, he could own the fly fishing pliers market by offering a substantially equivalent product at such a low price point.
Well, as you can see, I pried the name of the lucky big box store out of him, and I immediately ordered a pair of Gander Mountain Titanium Pliers for my own review. That was three years, several hundred hours, and a proportional number of heavy knots and big striped bass ago. This budget versus luxury competition went the other direction from the Boga Grip runoff: in fact, my Gander Mountain pliers still look and perform exactly like brand new. Actually, my only complaint about them whatsoever is that the holster clip kept pulling out (a problem I solved in 2 minutes with a drill bit and a rivet gun).
Now, make no mistake, these aren’t Van Staal or Abel-quality pliers. They do not have a jewel like finish and the jaw bite, while very tight, isn’t perfect enough to pluck your eyebrows (which is actually true of the highest end pliers). Nevertheless, these offer 99% of the functionality–especially when used as actual fishing pliers–of the highest-priced competition. I have experienced no dulling of the cutting blades despite typically using 15 to 20 pound fluorocarbon, but even if you do manage to wear out a set of jaws, at $40 MSRP, you’d still have to go through three to four pairs before getting into the high end price point.
Rating: Five stars out of five.
Purchase: Only from Gander Mountain.