I spend my own money on the stuff that I review here and would tell you if I was given a specific product for free or for testing. Everything below is my personal opinion and experience with the gear in question.
I hit a bad patch with scissors. My favorite Wiss Nippers finally became dull which led to my impulsive and ill-advised purchase of some cheap scissors from Michaels. After that dance with regret I purchased a second pair of Wiss Nippers which became dull almost immediately. I came to the realization that I would need to actually step up to getting a decent pair of scissors. I am someone who believes in the power of good tools but I have resisted applying this point of view to my fly tying gear. I do not see how an expensive whip finisher will help me, and an expensive bodkin feels like an insult. But, in the face of three dead pairs of scissors, I needed to make some kind of decision.
The internet is a dangerous place, filled with information, slander, opinion, and downright lies. That’s true for politics, movie reviews and, so I learned, fly tying tools and scissors. From the downright exhaustive to the hopelessly uninformative, there are thousands of words written about the qualities (inherent, objective, or perceived) of any number of pairs of scissors. After putting in the time I wrote up the pros and cons, weighed all the options, and decided on the Rising Fly Fishing Tools Stellar Scissors 2.0. I also ordered a pair of Nippas and a Simple Hackle Holda, but those are reviews that will wait for a different day.
In the hand the Stellar Scissors have a good heft. Solid without being heavy. Delicate without being flimsy. The finger holes are slightly asymmetrical so it took me a bit of flipping back and forth until I figured out which was I liked to hold them but once I got that sorted the scissors kinda disappeared into my hand. That fact, right there, is likely some of the highest praise I can level at a tool. When the tool itself is so well designed that it works seamlessly with you, you have a winner. I’d never owned a pair of scissors with a tension adjustment knob but I’m a convert. What I really like is stiff action on the scissors since I tend to use the blade tips as calipers to measure materials on the hook. That only works if the tension on the blades is enough to hold them still when you open them, and the Stellar Scissors do just that. They aren’t hard to close, they don’t fall open, they simply have a very good range of tension adjustment in the blades.
If you’ve ever bopped around the Rising site you know that they do a lot of work on their gear before it ships, sharpening nippers, aligning scissor blades, and so on. The tips of the blades are buffed bare metal, unlike the black finish on the rest of the scissors, and they have clearly been polished and aligned by a real person. Again, I respect that level of care. They don’t have to do that, the scissors would have still been a high-quality item without that step, but they did it and the tool is better for it. One blade is straight and sharp, the other has micro-serrations. I think of this as a middle ground between a true razor scissor and a straight-bladed common scissor. And they are sharp. Holy hell, scissors this sharp are a pleasure to use. If you ever want to come face to face with how many times you have to use a pair of scissors to tie even a single fly then get a pair of dull ones and try to settle in. With sharp scissors in hand I find that I can stop thinking about how frustrated I am with a tool and enjoy the process. You need to know that the vise will hold the hook, that the hook won’t bend, and that the scissors will cut cleanly and easily. If you can get those things figured out then the rest is all gravy.
I held off on writing this review until I had logged some serious time with the Stellar Scissors. They looked great online and in the package, but I needed to know if they would actually hold up. Turns out, they do. They are just as sharp as they were the day that I got them and I have tied a couple hundred flies with the Stellar Scissors in hand. I reflected long and hard to see if there’s anything that I had issue with and the only thing I could come up with is that the tips are not as fine as my Wiss Nippers. But that’s pretty much it. And if the trade off involves losing the ability to really tuck in behind a bead on a size 22 fly versus improved usability, durability, and general quality, I’ll take it.
So what does all of this mean? I believe I made the right decision when I chose Rising’s Stellar Scissors. My trust in their product has been repaid with a tool that is easy to use, sharp as can be, and generally a pleasure to own. I would buy another pair in a instant if I needed to. And the icing on the cake? Laser etched engraving on the blades! Not only are they a great tool, but the guys over at Rising hooked me up with some personalized Blue Lines scissors. Heck, they didn’t even hook me up. That’s just how they do business at Rising and I wouldn’t want them to change it for the world.