You will find one way or another that nimble and bare hands are not enough to tailor your angling setup. That is why an angler’s toolbox is quite filled to the brim. Many tools, including a pair of fishing pliers, are your life savers before, during, and after your fishing trip.
However, if you are still trying to huddle the best angling tools brands have to offer, then you are going to find yourself on a long ride.
We are here to help you cut through the chase and share the best fishing pliers we have tried through an in-depth guide for your next purchase.
Our Picks: Best Fishing Pliers
|ZACX Fishing Pliers|
– Exceptional performance in both saltwater and freshwater conditions
– Easy to handle fish lip gripper
|KastKing Cutthroat 7 inch Fishing Pliers|
– Line cutter on the side
– Anti-slip grip handles
|Piscifun Fishing Pliers Aluminum Braid Cutters|
– Very lightweight and budget-friendly
– Replaceable cutters in case of damage
|KastKing Intimidator Fishing Pliers|
– Ergonomic grip
– Also comes with a fish lip gripper with unique handle
|TRUSCEND Premium Fishing Pliers|
– Line cutters in the side
– Lock-switch feature for “opening and closing” fishing pliers
What are the pliers for?
No matter how many times you’ve gone angling, each trip will always be unique, and fishing pliers are one of the many tools that can fix any problem that may arise with ease.
Fishing pliers are multi-function tools that can…
- Cut hard clipped line or steel leader or tag ends
- Remove your deeply-embedded hooks or fix them
- Flatten your barb
- Adjust reel and rod
- Unhook your catch
- Open split rings
- Deal with your tackles
- And more!
Each fishing plier can address a variety of situations you may find yourself in. Some will work best in freshwater, but you find them incompatible in saltwater.
Like many other fishing tools, picking the best fishing pliers for you will depend on the gear you prefer, your most frequented fishing location, and the techniques you are most comfortable with.
We promise it’s not going to be an accessory that will just take up storage, but rather an all-around tool you will find very handy when the time comes. We could not even count the times we hoped we brought a pair of fishing pliers with us when we went out fishing with incomplete items!
Parts of a Fishing Plier
Maximize how this hand-held device can serve your best interests by getting to know how each nook and cranny works. Read this short briefer on your pliers’ assets so they can help you with their specific tasks.
- Handles or Grips. This is where you hold the pliers or move them to do whatever function is on its tip.
- Pivot Point. Both sides of your handle are joined together diagonally at this juncture.
- Line Cutters. Most anglers use their best fishing pliers for cutting lines. Picking pliers that offer efficient line cutters are a must so braids, hard lines, or any other lines are easy tasks for your pair.
- Multifunctional Jaws. You can crimp, press, flex, or handle your hook or anything else you feed at the jaws. Like the name itself, you may find more uses for this part than we could ever have.
- Split rings. There are plenty of pliers types, but if you get one with split rings, they’re convenient when keeping damages away from your gear or your catch. This is pretty helpful when handling any rings.
What should I look for in fishing pliers?
There are many fishing pliers in the market that you can choose from — those that do the basic functions with efficiency, boast extra features that will be worth every penny or are made with materials that can withstand any task in or out of the water.
When we were scouting for the best fishing pliers that can match our preferences and our fishing lifestyle, we primarily took these qualities listed below into consideration.
You would want to be able to reach your hook whether they are easy to retrieve in your fish or are stuck deeper than regular pliers could reach. Plus, have that strength and scope to strengthen your hook or line and get other things done.
You can choose to buy pliers with different nose lengths, but depending on the catch you usually bring home, it would be best to get one that is longer than the average nose length.
As we’ve briefly discussed above, your pliers’ line cutters might take the brunt of your angling trips. You want to be sure that the ideal pair of fishing pliers for you is sharp to cut your line without doing unnecessary damage. When we chose our pliers, we made sure that they could bite hard enough for heavy braided lines but also cut with the exact precision we were aiming for.
While the best fishing pliers cut lines exceptionally well, it kind of ends there. They would not do much for bending or cutting hooks or your steel leader. You are going to need another pair of fishing pliers for that, or just get the stainless steel pliers with built-in wire cutters.
Steel cutters are quite the first aid when you get hooked, too. We haven’t tried getting hooked and nor do we ever wish to need one that can cut it out from us. Hope you will never need this feature ever too, but for precautionary measures, best to carry one that can do more than cutting the lines.
Most fishing pliers are made of carbon steel — they’re cheaper than quality materials, easier to produce, and can do most of the pliers’ intended use. If you’re on a tight budget, then choosing one for your toolbox won’t be that bad.
However, carbon steel rusts easily with moisture and salt. Using these in saltwater will kill your tool in no time so better get pliers with better corrosion resistance. We recommend getting pliers made with either of the two:
- Aluminum – They’re a keeper when wading off rust but can be weak against hard lines and steel unless paired with teeth and grippers made with something hard (usually tungsten carbide). When used improperly, jaws can be misaligned, or worse, damaged beyond use.
- Stainless steel – Best for handling gripping, cutting, and all the other hard stuff easily, and can be cheaper than aluminum pliers under certain manufacturers. However, they have moderate corrosion resistance and are heavier than the former.
Short-trivia: There are fishing pliers that combine aluminum’s weight and stainless steel’s strength. Titanium pliers are the most corrosion-resistant fishing pliers. They might be lightweight but can handle anything beyond cutting light lines. As usual, quality comes with a price – some titanium fishing pliers start at 1 grand!
Most fishing pliers are spring-loaded, but we double-check whether the fishing pliers we are eyeing to try are spring-loaded or not so we can manage our expectations when it comes to handling them.
It is not a must though, but savvy anglers know that the grip or handle is easier to open and tame than the fishing pliers without springs.
You can easily be best friends with spring-loaded pairs even when using them with one hand!
This is very helpful – emphasis on the very – especially when you’re prone to losing your things or generally on the clumsier side. Keeping your fishing pliers tied with a lanyard will save you a great deal of time looking for them or a huge amount of money.
Can you use regular pliers for fishing?
We got asked this question a couple of times and our answer remains the same: of course, you can!
Fishing pliers are not at all different from the “normal” pliers on Target or Walmart or your local hardware stores, but when you intend to buy one solely for tweaking your angling stuff or assisting you during a catch, we do suggest buying fishing pliers made for heavy-duty.
These are usually those that are priced mid-range or higher. It tells you about how long they can last and how much they can do for you. You may find one above your budget but we can guarantee they’re worth the investment for all the things they can do for you.
Best Fishing Pliers To Go For
This is the best fishing pliers we can recommend for both amateur and pro anglers. It can withstand rough conditions both in saltwater and freshwater. It’s also lightweight so carrying this along with your other tools in your best fishing backpack with rod holder is convenient.
What we loved about this package is the fish lip gripper. It was apt when we needed an extra hand for hook retrieval. The easy “pull” system for opening the grip is convenient when all your strength is directed to your other hand gripping the pliers and pulling your hook.
Its sheath can be wrapped around your waist too, like a tool bag, so you can pull them easily or store them when idle.
We do think the handle could have a better grip so it does not easily slip. Thanks to the lanyard, it’s still sitting in our toolbox instead of rusting away deep in the waters.
If you’re looking for stainless steel fishing pliers, then this one is a good place to start!
This significantly does better than readily available aluminum pliers and can also handle both freshwater and saltwater environments. For stainless steel fishing pliers, the thickness is not too much so it is also not that heavy to carry around.
We loved how the grips are stable and secure enough for us to handle. It’s spring-loaded so it’s not too hard to press but also not loose on the rings, hooks, lines, or whatever it will be handling on its needle.
It somehow falls a step back from other line cutters when it comes to dealing with hooks and steel but it can handle them okay with proper handling. We do prefer the line cutter’s placement over others because they’re on the side instead of near the a-line, requiring less flex and grip when cutting the lines.
For anglers on a tight budget but are in dire need of braid cutters, this might work just fine for you.
Among all our picks, we got this with the lowest price tag. It looks almost the same as KastKing’s cutthroat fishing pliers, but this is the lightest we have on the box.
The tungsten carbide cutters finely cut light and even braided lines. Cutters are also replaceable, so you may find this more budget-friendly beyond the first-buy price tag.
They worked well on the kayak, too, saving this pair of pliers a permanent space in our toolbox. Treble hooks and j-hooks are easy feats for this one.
We only had to manage the nose a few times here and there to make sure they still function well. Its ends are not as strong as other best fishing pliers but for sure are a notch better than regular pliers.
The overall look of KasKing’s second fishing pliers on our list can indeed be “intimidating”, with the planes bulkier and bigger than the others. However, it’s not as intimidating as you think when serving you during the fishing trip.
It has a straight nose that’s perfect for reaching deep. One short-armed angler friend said it kept her more hooks and baits than she usually does. This also comes with a fish lip gripper so you get two valuable angling items for a competitive price.
An extra feature we loved about this pair is that the handle has an unusual shape that’s more grip-friendly.
This may not be your top pick when you love to reel in bigger bass. It can be quite weak compared to large catches and the fish lip gripper might not handle it as much as the other pairs.
If not on summer sale, this would have been twice the tag of the first four pliers we liked! Other variations are relatively cheaper than this one, but we do want to try the unique handle makeup.
Its grip has a squarer angle than most pairs of pliers, but it has a lock switch at the adjacent side of the line cutter which we think is handy for keeping the toolbox in presentable order.
The combination of aluminum gray and gold lining at the center made the pliers look more sophisticated. Line cutters are also on its side like KastKing’s Cutthroat fishing pliers.
We do think the sheath does not come at par with the fishing pliers’ quality. The belt clip comes off easily and instead of a hard-modeled sheath, we got one in fabric.
Fishing Pliers Care Tips
The best fishing pliers should last you for years – yes years – without any problem. But, that all depends not only on the materials it was made from but on how you take care of your tool.
Stainless steel is sensitive to certain elements that catalyze oxidation, and hence the rusting.
Here are some tips to keep your best fishing pliers in tip-top shape:
- Rinse your pair with freshwater every after use, especially when you bought them for saltwater fishing.
- Wiping them with light oil or anti-rust spray occasionally will keep rusting at bay. You may want to do this more often if you are a heavy saltwater angler.
- Make sure to keep them dry and warm in a humid-free environment.
- If rust or corrosion is already evident on the nose or jaws of your pliers, apply solvent like WD40 with a steel brush.
- Use them! Keeping them in storage for too long will do the same damage as not taking care of your pair. Better that it rusts or ages in use than idle somewhere in the house.
Will aluminum pliers rust?
Aluminum itself corrodes but does not rust. Any material with an aluminum oxide coating can be relatively highly resistant to corrosion. The metal might only be exposed thanks to weathering conditions and other environmental factors. Though this will take quite longer than other materials to occur.
Each decision-making process solely relies on what you think is best. Like we usually say, you know your angling preferences better than anyone so do not be afraid to try what you think is the best fishing pliers.
Our most recommended pair of fishing pliers: ZACX Fishing Pliers. It has the overall durability, efficiency, and tenure we wanted. We got the value we expected from the price that did not hurt our budget.
Honestly, the others are close matches. Depending on the fish species you fancy and the other fishing conditions at hand, you may find either of them handy for many situations.
If you find one that is better than our list, let us know so we can try them and share how it will work for us when we update our list of best fishing pliers!