My earliest memories of fishing go all the way back to Lake Murray in South Carolina some 35 years ago now. It became a lifelong passion, but man, did I learn some bad habits along the way. Namely, using your teeth for cutting line and pinching lead split shots. My dentist and I have mutually agreed there are better ways, and one of them is the new Gerber Neat Freak Braided Line Cutters.
I wasn’t an instant convert to braided line. The need to learn new knots and the cost over monofilament were obstacles. Once I replaced the line on my favorite spinning reel with Spider Wire for the first time, it was game on in a whole new way.
Along with the no-stretch and strength-to-diameter benefits of braid also came the need for better cutting methods. There are a lot of options out there, including pocket knives and nail clippers, so why give Gerber Neat Freak a shot?
Precision Line Cutting
One of the reasons a lot of guys use nail clippers is to ensure the tag line of the knots gets clipped tight. It’s critical on both the lure and if you’re running a blood knot or uni knot for a fluorocarbon leader. The slight serration on Gerber’s blades grab hold of the braid and clip it clean. It also allows you to clip it acceptably tight.
Blunt Nose Tip
It’s a little thing, but by blunting the nose of the blades, Gerber reduces the risk of stabbing injuries. Whether you’re riding out the wake in a kayak or rolling with the waves offshore, there’s an element of instability that can make a point more dangerous.
Split Shot Crimper
When I matured from using my teeth to a more dentist-friendly form of pinching split shots, I turned to my fishing pliers. The only real issue is getting a tight enough crimp. By putting the crimper between the handles, your grip force goes directly to the split shot. I find I can get a better pinch this way.
I don’t use the bottle opener nearly as frequently as I’d like to. Whether I’m on the kayak or a boat, glass bottles are usually a no-no and we stick with aluminum cans. Still, it’s handy to have back at the dock or when I’m beach fishing.
The number one rule of kayak fishing is that you clamp, clip, or tether anything you’re afraid to lose. Sooner or later, you’re either going to drop something or end up in the water yourself. It’s usually hand tools like Gerber Neat Freak Braided Line cutters or fishing pliers that get dropped, never to be seen again. Having a lanyard hole adds a layer of security for lose willing to use it.
Ergonomics – AKA BearHand Control System
For something that looks like child safety scissors on steroids, the Gerber Neat Freak has some attention to detail in the handle. You’ll notice a tab running off the back. That’s helpful to wrap your ring finger around for additional control.
While it’s not obvious at first glance, the front of the same handle gives you enough material to rest your forefinger comfortably while your cutting.
All told, it’s not as comfortable as an ergonomic pair of shears, but it’s a solid design that helps keep the length compact.
Price and Value
Direct from Gerber, the Neat Freak will set you back $19.99. That’s not a ton in today’s world, but I get that a lot of recreational guys don’t necessarily want to add another tool to their tackle box. I’d make an exception in this case. They don’t take up a ton of room and it’s one of the two tools I use a lot along with my pliers.
Who isn’t using braid these days? Okay, I see your hand back there, fly fisherman. Not worry, the Neat Freak cuts mono just fine.
For us kayakers, changing baits is more frequent since our rod storage is more limited. But even if you’re fishing from the boat or shore, you get line fray or just need to switch things up. That makes Gerber Neat Freak Braided Line Cutters an awfully useful tool.
No matter where you’re fishing, I’d recommend you tether this to your belt loop so you don’t lose it overboard. It’ll also keep them close at hand. The multiple functions of cutters and split shot crimper make it a win in my tackle box. Even after a few weeks of use, it’s made it onto my “don’t leave home without it” list for all my fishing trips.
Gerber Neat Freak at a Glance
- Model: 31-003272
- Braided line cutter with micro-serrated blades
- Split shot crimper
- Bottle opener
- Lanyard hole
- Blunt nose tip
- BearHand Control System
- Price: $19.99