By Brooks Paternotte
When the small package arrived from the good folks at Montana Fly Company I knew I was in for a treat. I already had plans to put some of their River Steel streamside tools through their paces this spring and summer and quickly added the River Steel mitten combo forceps/scissors and the River Steel wide bodied tungsten carbide nippers to my lanyard.
My first trip was only a quick evening of largemouth fishing on a local farm pond here in Maryland. The nippers were immediately put to use as I rigged my 10’6” Tenkara rod with a hand-tied leader. The wide body and the exceptionally sharp tungsten blades made the task a snap and I was able to get fly in the water quickly. I found that the nippers handled everything from the 20# butt section to the 4x fluorocarbon tippet with consistent ease.
Not before long I hooked a nice largemouth on a foam frog pattern and brought a 3 pounder to hand. I grabbed for my River Steel forceps and was pleased to find them easily detached and put into action. They were able to find the bend of the hook and quickly remove the fly. Within seconds, the bass was back in the water safely. With the tool still in my hand I was able to cut my tippet with its scissors, trim the frayed line and retie my fly for the next fish.
That night I caught and released about a half dozen largemouth in the 2-3# range safely and easily. The streamside tools from MFC certainly proved their worth.
To make sure they did not just function well under spring bassing conditions, I next tested the streamside tools on the spring and free stone creeks of Pennsylvania. Once again, they performed well. I particularly liked the dexterity of the river steel forceps when attaching and detaching tiny split shots for nymphing. In addition, they were able to gently remove even the smallest of flies without destroying them like other more cumbersome tools.
Finally, I took the tools north to Quebec for my annual Atlantic salmon pilgrimage and they did not disappoint. The nippers worked well on our Maxima leaders and tippet and could trim blood knots perfectly allowing for much lower profiles on those connections. I was also happy to see that my partner for the week was also packing a pair of river steel forceps; between the two of us we successfully released dozens of grilse and salmon from five to twenty-five pounds without incident. Occasionally we would find that a fish had taking one of our hair dressed doubles deep in its mouth and the scissors on the river steel forceps helped us to cut the line quickly releasing the fish without unnecessary stress or injury.
Given their price (both tools list for under $20) and functionality in varied conditions, the MFC streamside tools are good additions to your fly gear. And for only a couple bucks more, you can even get these tools in your favorite camo or trout pattern – a perfect gift for that fly fisherman in your family. So check out all of the great gear from MFC’s website and get after it.