Product Reviews

Hammerhead Gear Retractors

by Al Campbell

Last spring Hammerhead Industries sent me a selection of retractors called Gear Keepers for a review. Normally, I could test a similar product and form an opinion in a week or maybe two, but not this time. This time I was testing products with some lofty claims from the manufacturer. I didn't quite believe they could live up to the promises on the package. Let's look at the claims and how the tools performed.

  • Corrosion proof - OK, this isn't a bold claim, but I've used products that didn't meet this standard. Hammerhead's products surpassed the standard with stainless hardware, stainless springs and nylon coated stainless steel cables. Obviously designed for saltwater use.

  • 60lb break strength - This was a fun test. Buford, my basset hound, weighs about 60 pounds, but he wouldn't have anything to do with my plans, so I had to settle for a harness and 60 pounds of lead shot. (Hey, some of us reloaders have resources that come in handy for other things too.) Yup, it held sixty pounds and more, but the hook I used to test it didn't fare so well.

  • Secure mounting - I've lost a few tools from my vest in the past. For some reason, the little pins usually found on retractors like to bend and come loose. Not so with these tools. The attachment devices used on Hammerhead retractors are secure enough to rip the front off your fly vest before they fail. The handy fly patch on some of the keepers is nice too.

  • Actually, everything performed beyond my expectations. In all my years, I've never had the chance to test a more durable line of retractors. And, fishermen aren't the only ones who can benefit from Hammerhead products. They make a line of retractors and gear keepers for scuba divers and hunters as well. They also make a line of accessories that attach to their retractors as well as a neck strap that holds attachments.

    Buying a Hammerhead retractor isn't cheap, (they cost about $20 apiece), but you'll never have to replace one because it broke or fell off your vest. I call that a good investment.

    If you're interested in a retractor that holds tools like a jealous gorilla, contact your local fly shop. If your local shop doesn't carry them, contact Hammerhead Industries via e-mail or their phone number is 1-888-588-9981. If you want to mail them, the address is:

    Hammerhead Industries
    1501 Goodyear Ave.
    Ventura, CA 93003

    For more information visit the Hammerhead web site.~Al Campbell

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