Pliers that are light as a feather, float and resistant to rust…sounds like a great idea. Early models, however, had their flaws but the HybridX version is a different animal entirely.
- Co-Molded Metal Inserts
- Tungsten Carbide Cutters
- Rust Resistant
- Cuts Braided Line & Mono
- Soft Grip Handles
- High Visibility
- Comes with Safety Lanyard
On the Water Test
One summer in Alaska, I lost 6 sets of pliers over the side while unhooking unruly kings, so the idea of floating pliers had some serious appeal. I picked up one of the early models with plastic jaws…and while they floated, the pilers just didn’t have enough rigidity to allow me to pull big hooks out of bony salmon mouths.
After that experience, I had gone back to regular pliers until the HybridX, with its metal inserts, came out. While not as stiff and strong as standard pliers, the new XTOOLS model has proved that it can handle big hooks and big fish this spring during striped bass season.
The metal jaw inserts feature knobby teeth that give you some extra gripping power when grabbing ahold of hooks, which is a nice feature as well.
The only downside, really, is the fact that the teeth make it hard to pinch the barbs down on all but the largest of hooks.
The HybridX’s are billed as rust resistant and, obviously, the handle and outer jaw are completely rust-proof. The inserts are the only part that can corrode and I started getting a little rust spot at the point where the teeth screw into the jaw. Of course, after fishing in saltwater for a few days, I completely ignored the manufacturer’s suggestion that says “Rinse with mild soap/water and dry completely after each use.” Oh well, no biggie…my fault and it’s only a small spec of rust.
In this day an age, pliers had better be able to cut braided line and with these razor-like tungsten carbide chompers at the base of the jaw, you can burn through today’s superlines easily. Thin-diameter stuff like 20-pound braid is oddly a little tougher to cut that the heavier lines because it is so thin. The cutters get through it, but you just have to squeeze a little harder…which leads me to a major downside. Over time, my pliers have gotten loose and I have to squeeze extra hard to get them to cut — which is a problem with the plastic handles that flex.
Okay, so maybe the XTOOLS 6-inch HybridX pliers aren’t quite as tough as a standard stainless model. However, when you consider the fact that they float and won’t rust (if you rinse & dry ’em after each use) make up for it. In addition, the foam handle is more comfortable than on any other set I’ve used and that briad cutter is really helpful.
Maybe the coolest feature, however, is the fact that HybridX’s are so stinkin’ light. You can toss ’em in a pocket in your jacket or waders for bank fishing and not even notice they’re there. They’re so light that you may not even notice when you drop them…it happened to me last summer on a fishing trip in Alaska. I realized they were missing and went back to find them, which was an easy chore thanks to the bright blue and green color.
Overall, the HybridX from XTOOLS is a cool product with only a few small downsides.