Nail clippers the most-used tool on this boat

The author has three nail clippers hung at strategic spots on his charter boat. (Contributed photo)

Look in any fishing boat and you’ll find plenty of tackle and tools. The tackle depends on the type of fish the boater wants to catch and the fishing tactics normally used to catch them. Some fishing boats can get by with little more than a collection of hooks and line, others come replete with hundreds of items costing thousands of dollars.

Tools are a little more standard, boat to boat. A kit containing pliers, knives, screwdrivers and wrenches can pretty well fix what needs to be repaired or handle most routine chores on board.

So when I thought about what tool on my boat is most useful, the answer made me chuckle.

Sure, if I have a spark plug problem, having a spark plug wrench moves way up the “most important” list. If I need to remove a hook from a fish, the needle-nose pliers are the tool I grab. But what tool do I use the most?  What tool do I make sure I have close at hand, spares on board, and what do I grab when I’m going to fish on someone else’s boat in case they don’t have any?

A fingernail clipper.

Nail clippers won’t fix the motor or help with fish hook removal, but they serve two basic functions. Least important is their ability to snip a chipped or torn fingernail, though mine have served that purpose more than once. More important is their line-clipping ability.

Nothing clips monofilament or fluorocarbon line better. They work on braid, lead core and copper line almost as well.

Sometime on every fishing trip, I’ll need to clip a line. Several times on most excursions the need to snip off a lure, cut back a leader or otherwise sever a strand of mono or fluoro line will arise. I tie direct to jigs and plugs that don’t spin so each time I change from one to another, out come the clippers.

Actually, the clippers are already out. I say clippers, plural, because there are three of these handy tools close at hand at all times. Instead of just laying around any ol’ place, each clipper is tied in place with a lanyard – one on the port side and one on the starboard on the back deck where most line-cutting is done, and another is strung permanently at the helm so I can clip and tie line when I’m piloting the boat.

A check on eBay shows clippers from less than a buck each to tools costing more than $20. I have no idea what a $20 clipper brings to the game. The buck-a-tool ones work well enough for most of what they are asked to do.

Can you ask any more from a tool?

Categories: Blog Content, Michigan – Mike Schoonveld

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