Fishermen typically own a lot of tools. Some of the products make perfect sense and some are simply a waste of money. Whether you enjoy chasing bonefish on the flats or blue marlin over the horizon, there are a number of items that are absolutely essential for continued angling success. Among the wide ranging tools of the trade, anglers can’t make the cut without quality mono cutters and sharp shears.
Ordinary scissors are designed to cut hair and paper, not spines, bones and heavy leader material.
While they are certainly interchangeable to some degree, don’t be under the misconception that mono cutters and shears are the same. Even though both tools are designed to cut, there are a number of inherent differences between the two tools as each was developed and manufactured for a particular function.
Mono cutters are typically spring loaded and feature a locking mechanism for easy open and close one hand operation. Leading mono cutters include non-slip handles and serrated blades. With mono cutters, the user wraps his entire hand around the tool, allowing for maximum grip and compression. The best mono cutters marketed to saltwater anglers cleanly snip through everything from 20 lb. line through 500 lb. leader material, and they do it much more effectively than the small line cutters incorporated into typical fishing pliers. Mono cutters will also cut through braid, but razor sharp micro scissors are better suited for this particular task. Even more important to remember is that mono cutters are not designed to cut wire or cable. Unless there is a wire cutter incorporated into the tool, don’t even try or you will risk severely damaging the edge.
To ensure you are outfitted with the perfect pair of mono cutters, we set out to compare and test more than a dozen products on 20, 30, 40, 50, 80, 100, 150, 300 and 500 lb. test monofilament line, ultimately narrowing down our selection to only a handful of cutters we found worthy of finding a permanent home in your tackle bag or sheath. Our selections were based on comfort, durability, features and ease of cutting.
Shears on the other hand are generally opened and closed with finger power and feature long, slender blades. While they can effectively cut mono, heavy line often slips or gets jammed between the two slender blades. Where shears really shine the brightest and give anglers the edge they need is in proper bait preparation. Clean slices with minimal resistance result in strip baits that are streamlined and swim with a natural flutter. Whole ballyhoo, sardines and goggle eye can easily be cut into multiple pieces when creating tempting snapper and grouper baits or a bucket full of fresh chunks for your next dolphin or tuna adventure. Shears are also perfect for slicing through crab shells when creating irresistible offerings for bull redfish and hefty black drum. Sharp shears also cut canvas, strapping, rope and more.
Whatever you do, do not attempt to substitute a quality pair of stainless steel mono cutters or durable fishing shears with household scissors. Ordinary scissors are designed to cut hair and paper, not spines, bones and heavy leader material. Using such toys in the harsh marine environment only leads to frustration, so outfit yourself with the right tool for the job and you will have a firm grip on the task at hand.