Fishing pliers are critical kit. Sure, I can catch fish without them, but I increase my workload and frustration. I also increase the likelihood of injury to myself and the fish. Ever tried getting a fish hook from a pike or couda’s mouth without pliers? What about a shark? Scary! Those teeth will take a careless finger.
Removing deeply lodged hooks without pliers is nearly impossible without inviting serious injury or death to a fish. Good pliers are also essential for cutting line, opening split rings, general rigging, and running repairs.
I’ve compiled a guide to the 10 Best Fishing Pliers. These are the top picks for every angler's tackle box. Without pliers, your fishing gear is perilously incomplete.
My Review Process
Pliers for fishing are an important utility - functionality is king. However, owing to the environment in which they’re used, top-shelf anti-corrosion credentials are essential. With that in mind, my key criteria are functionality and durability relative to the price point.
Fishing pliers needn’t cover the full range of tasks, such as braid cutting, split ring opening, and crimping. Great if they do, but it’s not critical. Most of all, the nose must offer a secure grip for hook removal, regardless of length. And they should have cutting blades or side-cutting function for cutting thick fluoro leader.
Equally important is that grip ergonomics must be sound. Your hands will often be wet and very slippery, and you’ll often be dealing with big mouths full of sharp big teeth. Ergonomic grip design is often a determining factor in the plier's functionality.
There are several pliers that could have taken first place. But in a tight race, the Piscifun edged out the others due to their versatility. They offer every type of angler, from surf to fly, great functionality, and durability at a great price. They’re incredibly popular and for a reason.
They offer excellent cutting of all types of fishing lines, including wire. Grip strength from the titanium-coated stainless steel Jaws is excellent. As is the ergonomic gripping comfort and security from the machine-cut aluminum handles.
Other features include split ring opening and replaceable tungsten carbide cutters for mono and braid. There’s a coiled lanyard and sheath that’s not the best quality, but serviceable, nonetheless. At 7.1 inches, the size is right in the Goldilocks zone and they’re a joiy to grip. I love these Piscifun pliers because they’ll suit every angler. Feature packed, universal appeal, with broad functionality and durability.
These are beautiful pliers, and I love the alloy/rubber handles. They’re ergonomically sound and a joy to grip. Featuring replaceable anvil tungsten carbide side cutters, mono, and braid cut easily, and the blades stay sharp. At 7.5 inches, they suit the widest range of fishing applications. The half-striated jaws (replaceable) deliver excellent purchase on deep-set hooks, with the rubber grip inserts giving you the confidence to grip and pull hard. Like many brands, the links connecting the lanyard to the sheath and pliers aren't particularly durable and secure. It’s simple to reinforce with your own split ring or carabiner.
With alloy pliers now dominating the market, it’s nice to see a solid set of stainless steel pliers. These are perfect for the average angler chasing a smaller class of fish using finesse techniques. The side cutters make short work of braid, mono, fluoro, and thinner gauge wire.
Featuring split ring openers, ideal for small hard body lures, the rubber handles provide plenty of grip for opening stubborn rings and retrieving deeply set hooks. I like the locking feature on these, as well as the spring loading. While the blades aren’t replaceable, they can be sharpened - no big deal.Supplied with a reliable lanyard and sheath, the Booms H01 is ideal for those looking for cheap compact pliers.
These corrosion-proof, titanium pliers are designed for anglers fishing in excess of 200 sessions per year – year in year out. Yes, they’re built to last and built for sustained performance in high-demand, high-action fishing environments.
For most anglers, the second mortgage you need to purchase these pliers is totally unreasonable. But expect to get at least 7 to 10 years use out of these.
Outstanding ergonomics and a solid grip make these suitable for pros, deckhands, and for anglers on an open budget who demand only high-end kit.
These pliers from KastKing could easily have taken top spot. Perfect for all types of fishing, the 8.3-inch stainless steel pliers with split ring functionality, offer every possible function. They’ll easily handle all types of rigging, cutting, lure tuning, crimping, and hook removal.
I found the holes for cinching clinch knots incredibly useful – simple but so effective. But it’s the handle I found so comfortable and secure – a relief from the hard feel of so many alloy models. They might wear a little faster, but that’s a small price to pay for grip safety and comfort.
Booms 11-inch stainless steel long nose pliers have one purpose only – removing hooks that have lodged deep down the mouth of a massive fish. There’s no substitute for length in this circumstance, and the Booms longnose has a sturdy grip for plenty of gripping pressure and easy manipulation.
These pliers aren’t for rigging and cutting, but they are a must to complement your go-to pliers when chasing big fish with big teeth.
Gerber is famous for crafting outstanding tools. Their Magnipliers are an ergonomic masterpiece, allowing for great sightlines, leverage, and reach when removing hooks from tight spaces.
The all-alloy slimline construction with reversible and replaceable carbide cutters will suit more discerning anglers who appreciate excellence in craftsmanship. They’re built to last, hence the high-end price point. Some might question the price based on the limited features. But the Magnipliers are gold when it comes to hook removal from all fish types and sizes.
Many anglers carry an arsenal of tools on their belts and in their pockets – especially waders and adventure anglers. With the Leatherman Wave Plus, you can do away with a litany of bulky tools, replacing them all with one multitool.
Leatherman is a household name in precision multitools. The Wave Plus Multitool Pliers packs 18 tools into one set of pliers, allowing everything from hook removal, complex rigging, and complex gear maintenance on the run. Nothing rates higher in popularity and performance than a Leatherman.
The Intimidator series from KastKing offers 8 great models. The bent nose is fantastic, but it’s the 7” split ring with braid cutters model that I want in my kit. When I’m casting big metal slices, jigs, stickbaits, and poppers, I’m doing a lot of split ring work and tuning.
The replaceable tungsten carbide cutters will cut all lines. But it’s the heavy-duty crimping tool and split ring tool that makes these pliers ideal for big lure anglers. Surprisingly, it’s not supplied with a lanyard and sheath. They’ll fit in a pocket, a good tackle box, or you can purchase an aftermarket lanyard and sheath.
This is a great value pliers kit from SAMSFX. It has everything you need for rigging, from line cutting, crimping, and split ring opening. It’s ergonomically sound and delivers a secure feeling in your hand as well as a strong grip in the jaws - great for hook removal. Fly anglers will appreciate the bonus fly-tying tool. Great fly-fishing pliers - awesome for the bargain price. Again, sheath longevity might be questionable, but that’s not a big deal.
Why You Need A Good Pair Of Fishing Pliers
Every angler should carry a quality set of fishing pliers. While regular pliers are OK, fishing pliers with strong cutters are more appropriate for fishing applications. Here are the 3 key reasons why you need a good pair of fishing pliers.
1. Your Health & Safety
For years I watched my dad use his teeth to cut mono fishing lines. Bad idea. With pliers by his side, he might have saved a few broken teeth.
Removing hooks from the mouths of fish with sharp teeth is hazardous. With fish like barracuda, pike, and sharks, it’s downright dangerous. You risk severe lacerations or worse – the loss of a finger or hand when you attempt hook removal without pliers.
Opening split rings and replacing treble hooks requires force. Without pliers, you risk embedding hooks in your hand.
2. Fish Health
For catch and release, removing embedded hooks from deep in the mouth of a fish is nigh on impossible without a good set of fishing pliers.
Without pliers for clean, efficient hook removal, you risk doing great harm to a fish, reducing its chances of survival, or killing it outright.
3. Catching More Fish
If your line’s not in the water, you’re not catching fish. Fishing pliers provide excellent rigging efficiency as well as the ability to fine-tune lures and rigs quickly.
With good fishing pliers, you can tie complex, high-performance rigs much faster, giving you more time in the water - the key to every successful fishing trip.
Fishing Pliers Buying Guide
Fortunately for us, there are a lot of great products out there, and it’s hard to go wrong with fishing pliers. Here are some key purchasing criteria to keep in mind.
You can get serviceable pliers for under 10 bucks. For quality, multifunction pliers there’s a lot to choose from around $20 to $40.
Between $40 and $100 expect multifunctional, lightweight designs with superior anti-corrosion credentials. Above the $100 mark, high-end ergonomics and construction materials are a must. Pliers at this price point have to feel great and last for years.
If you fish a lot of lures or tie more complex rigs regularly, split ring nose and crimping functions are ideal. They must also include blades appropriate for cutting braided lines, monofilament fishing lines, fluoro leader, and steel leader.
But for many anglers, an ergonomic grip, with secure jaws and side cutting is enough to cover their needs. For example, a crimping tool is great for closing splitshot weights, but easily achieved with any nose shap.
Saltwater Pliers vs Freshwater Fishing Pliers
Most pliers are constructed from anti-corrosion materials. By and large, the higher the price point, the more corrosion resistant. At the highest price point, expect no rust at all.
Once you’re over $100, expect them to be corrosion-proof. If you want pliers that endure, only buy saltwater fishing pliers. For me pliers that are suitable only for freshwater fishing are unnecessary.
Most fishing pliers are made from a variety of lightweight alloys for corrosion protection and easy handling. Many brands will have different materials, such as stainless steel (often replaceabl) for the jaws for better grip and durability.
Stainless steel pliers are very durable if at times a little heavy. Materials such as aircraft-grade alloys and tungsten are generally reserved for more expensive brands and models.
Lightweight aluminum pliers are inexpensive and durable, and always a good bet.
Tungsten carbide blades are pretty well the standard these days for blades. They’re not all constructed equally, however, so stay-sharp durability can be a bit of a lottery. To avoid replacing pliers regularly, look for reversible and replaceable blades.
If you’re removing hooks from big fish with big mouths and teeth, look for long nose pliers with a total length of up to 11 inches. 7 inches is a standard overall length, and you’ll be choosing between standard and needle nose. 7 inches is the Goldilocks length and suitable for the vast majority of fishing applications.
I like the maneuverability and dexterity afforded by needle nose. However, there’s a lot to be said for the purchase afforded by standard nose widths. This will often come down to feel – therefore a personal choice.
Ergonomic grips can make a set of pliers. But we all have different ideas as to what constitutes grip comfort.. Comfort is important, but I also look for non-slip grips. Some anti-corrosion coatings and anodizing can be slippery – I tend to avoid these. A solid grip is vital, as is a safe grip. An aluminum handle will often have a well-shaped ergonomic design, great for gripping, but can be cold to the touch in winter.
Be aware that plastic and rubber overlay grips will allow salt and sand to get between the grip and the handles. This can cause corrosion if not cleaned properly. Spring-loaded handles are great, but the spring can invite weakness and corrosion.
Lanyard & Sheath
In nearly all cases, the lanyard, and sheath will die long before your pliers do. The key thing to look for is the strength of the link between the chord and pliers, and the sheath and pliers. These are often weak points. I always change out the factory links with my own strong split rings or carabiner for peace of mind.
Final Words On The Best Fishing Pliers
Every angler should carry pliers. Fortunately, there are countless worthy options in every price bracket. My winner today, the Piscifun Aluminum Fishing Pliers, has very strong competition. But for price-relative functionality, they were hard to beat. My runners-up are the KastKing Intimidator Fishing Pliers, and the Gerber Magnipliers – awesome options from contrasting price points.
*The information on this site is based on research and first-hand experience but should not be treated as medical advice. Before beginning any new activity, we recommend consulting with a physician, nutritionist or other relevant professional healthcare provider.