Fly Fishing Nippers

This post was last updated on December 3rd, 2022 at 07:42 pm

Are the Expensive Nippers Worth It?

Poor mans fly fishing nippers
Poor mans fly fishing nippers.

There are two types of people: Those who love to buy gear and only own the best, and the people who simply cannot afford the best and don’t care that much. I fall into the latter category. Paying a lot of money for nippers is not easy for me to do, however I have done it many times. I can think of at least 1 time where I forgot my nippers at home before a guide trip and had to buy the 20$ ones at the nearest fly shop to the river.

They lasted a couple days before someone either stole them or I misplaced. Probably the latter.  My usual routine is to get home, hang my nippers on the mirror of my car and go inside. Once in a while I will go inside before hanging my nippers in the car. This is a big problem, because I am not a morning person. If I take the line clippers off in my house, there is little chance I will remember them in the morning.

The life of a fishing guide in the heat of the season consists of sleeping, guiding, drinking a couple beers and sleeping again. There is no time for anything else..  So lets get to the point of this article eh?

One thing you don’t ever want to do is get into the habit of cutting fishing line and tippets with your teeth, because you will eventually do irreparable damage to them.  It’s always best to keep a pair of nippers on you at all times while trout fishing.

Shop for fly fishing nippers here!

What Type of Fly Fishing Nippers are Best, and are the Expensive ones Worth It?

Nice fly fishing nippers painted with brook trout spots.
These nippers are all you might be looking for. They are fairly inexpensive, super sharp and are painted with spots to resemble a brook trout. You can buy these nippers here.


The short answer is sometimes they are worth it. Personally after a day on the river without nippers, I become very angry. You never really realize how many times line needs to be cut until you don’t have anything to cut it with. I have resorted to burning it with a lighter, rubbing it multiple times on any sharp object I can find among other ways. The fact is that your quality of nipper does really matter if you are feeding 6x through a size 24 midge, however most other times it doesn’t matter. Cheap dull nippers will cut line just as fast, but will leave a thickened end on the line. This thick end could potentially give you problems feeding line through a small hook eye on the river.

Cheap Fly Fishing Nippers

Each time you go into the grocery store and stand in the checkout line what are the items you see? These are the items that are easy to forget, that you probably need. It just so happens that fingernail clippers are almost always among those “impulse marketed items”  so indulge yourself.. Go ahead, buy 20 pairs of nippers for the price of one. I started doing this a few years ago and have not regretted it. I literally have a pair of nippers in every pocket of my guide bag. No regrets here! I don’t fish extremely small flies and usually the cheap nippers make clean cuts.

This July I had a client get into my car with a hangnail. He went ahead and helped himself to the nippers dangling off the mirror in my car. Do you think I cared? Sure he dulled them a bit, but they cost me 99 cents. He even let his nails fly onto the floor of my car! Yes I cared a little more about that, that’s kind of nasty.

The Versatile Nippers With the Nail Knot Tool etc.

You can buy these great nippers at the Troutster gear shop in our nipper section.
You can buy these great nippers at the Troutster gear shop in our nipper section. They come with a built in nail knot tool and hook eye cleaner. 3 handy items in one small package makes these fly fishing nippers a must have.

These nippers have a little more purpose and I agree that they might come in handy on occasion. Personally I don’t use a nail knot tool, but they do make it easier for tying the knot. I wouldn’t expect someone who doesn’t fish on a daily basis to be able to tie a nail knot with their fingers.

That little thingy that clears the head cement out of the eye of the hook?

OK, I admit these things come in handy a lot. Usually I end up using another hook to clear the head cement, however that will dull the hook of the fly used to clear the head cement. That is a handy item to have around your neck. There is no way for me to say otherwise.


In summary, I am cheap and I lose expensive nice things. Clearly I find some of the extras valuable on nippers, such as the head cement clearing tool and the nail knot accessory. The extra sharp nippers do a great job with clean cuts and make threading line through your hook easier. For the type of fishing I do (2x-3x hopper dropper and streamer fishing) I don’t need all that fancy stuff. But the high end fly fishing nippers have a place, and they do a great job of being much more versatile than fingernail clippers.