I also did use the screw driver through the oil filter method and even though I had thoroughly drained the oil prior, it still got messy and I still think using channel lock pliers was the easiest. I saw no point in spending more money on another tool that has only one use and doesn't even do a better job.
The only other type of pliers that might have been a bit more suitable are these:
Mike, were the threads looked OK? If the threads were rusty or messed up, that could have been the cause. Also do the oil changes when the engine is still relatively warm (not hot to touch though). If you tightened it when everything was cold then it expands, plus the heat, perhaps it bonded a bit too tight?
Another idea is to try K&N filter next time, they come with a nut welded in the front so you can just use a socket wrench or a regular wrench.