I scoured the local stores and the internet hoping for a small multi-tool which had some small pliers and a small pair of scissors. I found none to my liking. Both Gerber and Leatherman make such a tool, but I didn't want to spend the money.
Having given up on the multi-tool, I set my sights on modifying a pair of scissors by grinding the pointy tips down and pinching the split shot behind the pivot. I still was unable to find something I liked. Either the scissors were huge, had plastic handles unsuitable for the split shot, or were rather dear.
What to do? Well, make something of course!
Step 1: Prototype
At this point, it looked good, time to proceed with the real deal!
Step 2: Tools & Materials
Hacksaw with fine tooth blade
Flat metal file
Rat tail file
1/8" drill bit
3/8" drill bit
Very small drill bit for lanyard hole
150 grit sandpaper
Old circular saw blade
6-32 machine screw
Step 3: Trace Prototype
Step 4: Cut Out Pieces
Step 5: Sharpening and Assembly
For assembly, I screwed the 6-32 machine screw through. There must have been a burr preventing it from sliding through. That burr turned out to be convenient as it allowed me to adjust the tightness of the joint until it felt about right. At this point I tried cutting a piece of paper; hot knife/butter, awesome! So, I cut off the machine screw so 1/16 or 1/8 inch protruded from the other side. Then I placed the head of the machine screw on a hard surface (back of vice) and peened the cut side with the hammer. This will keep the screw from backing out. If the hinge gets loose with time, a bit more careful peening will tighten it up.
One last thing. Go back to step 3. See all that rust on the saw blade. Carbon steel rusts. To attempt to prevent or at least slow the rust, I coated them with candle wax. I simply rubbed it all over, then used a heat gun to gently melt the wax. The wax shouldn't rub or wash off easily like oil would, hopefully it works to keep them rust free-ish.
Step 6: Use!
The scissors performed admirably. Sharp enough to easily snip line and cut worms. The worms do try to slide out of the jaws, a hook shaped blade might prevent that. The notch is perfect for the split shot. They don't slide out and I'm able to easily apply enough pressure to pinch them open or closed.
One complaint/possibility for improvement is that the handles tend to slip past each other. I'm thinking another small hole with another machine screw or bit of wire peened in will provide a stop to prevent that.
Another complaint/possibility for improvement is that they sometimes open up when not in use. I could install another stop to keep them from opening too far, but they'd still be able to open some. What I want to try first is running the lanyard through one finger hole, then attaching it. That way, when not in use, the lanyard would keep them closed. I'm not sure if that would be annoying for opening and using though. I'll update if/when I figure out a solution.
Step 7: Update
I drilled a hole through one piece, put a piece of copper wire through and peened it in place to act as a stop to preven them from closing too far. Seems to be working well.
I also tried out running the lanyard line through one finger hole, then tying off to the other in order to keep them closed when not in use. I don't like that, inhibits function and it is not being kind to the lanyard line.