Review: Fishpond Swiveling Retractor

By Scott Richmond

Last fall I waded into a steelhead run on the Deschutes River and saw a shiny object lying among the rocks in shallow water. It was a clip-on retractor--a "zinger"--with nippers attached.

Another angler had recently left the run; no doubt the zinger became detached from his vest. I picked it up and put it in my pocket in case I ran across the owner. I didn't see him again, so I kept it.

I feel no guilt about using the some else's lost tools because over the years I've donated my share to the river, many of which were probably found by other anglers.

One reason I've lost tools is that the pin latch on traditional zingers is unreliable. They are easily ripped off by tree branches, flailing arms, fly bags, or simple bad luck.

Fishpond, a purveyor of numerous fly-fishing accessories, clothing, and luggage, takes a different approach to zingers. I've been using the Fishpond version for several months--purchased on the recommendation of Nick at Royal Treatment Fly Fishing--and have found it to be an excellent addition to my gear.

The Fishpond zinger uses a push button locking pin. A sturdy pin sticks out the backing plate; poke the pin through a wader strap, fish bag, vest, shirt, or anything that isn't your skin (unless you're into that sort of thing . . .). Push down the button at the top of the zinger and insert the pin. Release the button and, viola, you are attached much more securely than with those old-style zingers with their flimsy, unreliable clasps.

A further advantage of the Fishpond zinger is that it will rotate 360 degrees, which can be convenient.

I like this little accessory so much that I have two of them: one for nippers and one for floatant.

Because it comes from Fishpond you know it's high quality, fashionable, and expensive. But a zinger that falls into the river is even more expensive because you have to replace it--and the tool attached to it. Unless, of course, you're lucky enough to find some else's.

Scott Richmond is Westfly's creator and Executive Director. He is the author of eight books on Oregon fly fishing, including Fishing Oregon's Deschutes River (second edition).