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Fishing Pliers: What to Look For, and 3 Good Suggestions

Fishing Pliers

Every tackle box should have a good pair of fishing pliers in it. Here are a few worth noting.

A solid pair of fishing pliers can be a seriously helpful thing for both you and that big fish you just caught. In fact, a good quality pair of pliers is one of the most important tools that you have available to you in the boat or on the shore, whether you're fishing freshwater or saltwater.

Fishing pliers can easily be one of the most overlooked pieces of equipment that we have, especially at the moment of truth when we desperately need them. Not only that, but there is a difference between a pair that rusts up tight after a few uses and one that will last for years and years without showing any signs of wear or tear.

You may not want to spend a lot on them, but cheap fishing pliers are made from lesser-quality materials and usually won't last. This is not to say that you cannot get a good pair of fishing pliers without spending a bundle, but there's a difference between some kinds and others.

Here are a few of the things to think about when purchasing a good pair of fishing pliers.

Qualities of Good Fishing Pliers

Fishing pliers need good grip. If you think that water is the only thing that will make you lose your grip when you're trying to use your pliers, then think again. Fish slime, oil, bait, sunscreen, bug lotion, and even your favorite lure scent can all have an adverse effect on a tool.

Whether you get a grip with rubber or titanium, the best models usually have a molded grip.

Nose length is also a factor to consider. This feature makes a difference when used on different species of fish as well as fishing locations. If you're freshwater angling for pike and muskie, you will want a pair that can reach deep into the mouths of those toothy critters and come back out with all of your fingers. If you are fly fishing for small stream trout, you won't need as long of a nose length of your pliers. For saltwater anglers, this is even more important as saltwater gamefish can be very large and very aggressive, even out of the water.

Cutters are important too. These come in the form of line cutters and side cutters, but they both have a solid purpose. Line cutters will work great for mono and fluorocarbon, but not always for braided line so it needs to be sharp enough for all three. Side cutters should be able to cut off hook shanks. This is where you'll need extra strong, extra tough pliers for the job.

Other considerations include a split ring removal tool. This is actually a custom feature and not generally a standard one. This can come in quite handy when you need to change or replace a treble hook on your lure without wasting a lot of time doing it with your fingers.

Also, a lanyard, or at least a lanyard hole, can come in handy too. We should include a sheath here as well, since we fish from piers, docks, kayaks, float tubes, and waders and often need hands-free options. 

Gerber Magniplier 7.5 in Needle Nose Pliers

These pliers are very comfortable and fit great in the hand. The cutters and nose of the pliers are replaceable, which makes them even better for the price. The cutters work very well for all three line types, including braid.

This pair of pliers is angled off-axis from the handle to improve line of sight during use, and gives better control when removing a hook. The Magniplier comes with a sheath and lanyard as well.

Bubba Pistol Grip Fishing Pliers

Fishing Pliers
Bass Pro Shops

This is one of the best gripping pliers, it's made with stainless steel jaws and tough carbide cutters. Bubba is one of the most well known names in the fishing industry and comes highly recommended by many users. These feature split-shot and leader-sleeve crimping cutouts and come with their own sheath.

KastKing Cutthroat 7 inch Fishing Pliers

fishing pliers

These pliers have a rubber grip on the handle and are very comfortable in the hand. The are made of corrosion resistant stainless steel with a teflon coating. The pliers have serrated jaws, crimping slots to secure a split shot, and a cutter to cut a leader or line.

Van Staal 6" Titanium Pliers

fishing pliers

If you're looking to really go big, this pair from Van Staal come in at just over $300. You can at least drool a little while looking these over. Saltwater or freshwater, it doesn't matter because these bad boys are the last pair of fishing pliers that you will ever buy. Made from corrosion-proof 6AL-4V titanium, these insanely lightweight pliers are engineered for performance and built to last a lifetime. The fully replaceable tungsten cutters easily and cleanly bite through braid, mono, fluorocarbon. The pliers come with a beautiful leather sheath that features a belt loop for easy attachment, and a unique lanyard that secures the pliers close to you.

The Best Fishing Pliers

There is clearly a difference between aluminum fishing pliers, stainless steel pliers, and titanium models that are the top of the line. As long as you factor in durability, corrosion resistance, or some combo of the two, you'll be narrowing in on a great pair of fishing pliers.

Just remember that a good fishing tool like this should cut every type of fishing line you use and have a great gripping ability. Whether it has a nylon sheath or a leather sheath is less important, but all comes down to function in the field.

A pair of fishing pliers may or may not change the course of your fishing trip, but one thing is for sure: the right tool at the right time can save you a lot of headaches.

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Fishing Pliers: What to Look For, and 3 Good Suggestions