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Anyone who’s gone fishing and forgotten their pliers at home knows firsthand just how invaluable these seemingly simple tools can be. As with any key item in your tackle box, quality is absolutely integral to a good experience. You could go with a cheap pair of pliers you found at the local dollar store, but you will get what you pay for. If you’re serious about fishing, you need to be serious about your pliers.
A quick glance at Amazon will show you that there are hundreds of pliers you can choose from. Prices can range from just a few dollars to a few hundred dollars. Materials, features, manufacturer and even grip style can all factor into how you make your decision. It’s a lot to consider and you just want to cast a line and get to fishing, not spend an hour or two researching pliers, right? Luckily, there are some definite standouts.
Let’s break down what the top picks in the industry. They offer up every possible feature you could need no matter what kind of fishing you like to do and what your budget is. Afterward, there’s a handy buying guide so you know what to look for when you head out shopping.
Van Staal has a reputation not just for quality but for very high quality. The trade-off for this is that you’re going to be paying for the difference. Van Staal’s titanium pliers are, as the name suggests, made from titanium alloy which offers unparalleled strength and versatility that should ensure these are the last pair of pliers you’ll ever need to buy.
Van Staal’s pliers are able to handle the worst that even saltwater can throw at you and remain corrosion-free. The titanium alloy keeps them feeling light for their size so that they don’t have the same clunkiness you might get from similarly designed stainless steel versions.
The line cutters are tungsten and even come with a set of replacement blades, and Van Staal includes a quality leather sheath and a lanyard as well so you can keep them handy on your belt or around your neck when you’re busy casting.
Amazon doesn’t carry them anymore, but you can still snag a pair on Van Staal’s website in either the 6” or 7” size.
One of the biggest selling points of the Piscifun aluminum fishing pliers is that they are available at a price point that should make any angler happy. They come in black and silver, giving them a sleek look if that’s a concern for you and they’re also good quality, versatile pliers.
The grip-friendly handle features holes at a variety of distances to allow you to clip on a lanyard, and the compact hinge means it’s easier to use and less likely to get snagged on hooks or other gear. They’re fairly lightweight at under 6 ounces, made from aircraft-grade aluminum. The jaws are made from stainless steel and feature a variety of groove sizes to tackle different hooks and crimping needs. As a bonus the cutter is lined with tungsten carbide for added strength to get through even the thickest of lines, and they can be removed for replacement or sharpening fairly easily.
Made specifically for saltwater fishing, the Manley professional saltwater fishing pliers have a protective coating on stainless steel and aluminum for maximum corrosion resistance. They’re also designed for a larger hand size so if you’ve found that other pliers have been hard to manage because of a tiny size then you’re definitely going to want to try the Manley pliers.
Featuring a carbide steel cutting blade and spring-loaded handle, they’re also available at a reasonable price point to help your wallet.
Very corrosion resistant Designed for larger grips
Smaller lanyard Grip may be too large for small or medium hands
Booms went all out designing their fishing X1 aluminum pliers. The ergonomic handle and the plier end have been designed with balance in mind so that when the pliers are resting in your hand you don’t have to deal with that top-heavy feel you might get from some other brands.
The grooved plier jaws and as well as the snub nose allow for grabbing and removing hooks of all sizes, and the durable aluminum is very resistant to dings, scrapes, and corrosion.
Comfort was obviously a key factor in the design with these pliers, and the contoured finger inlays ensure that you have a good grip at all times. Booms also includes a braided metal lanyard which is extremely durable and much more reliable than many of the cheaper plastic lanyards you’ll find with other pliers.
ZACX adds more bang for your buck with a fish lip gripper and multi-function pliers at a price nearly anyone can afford. Combined with a sheath and lanyard, this set makes a great gift for the casual angler and won’t break the bank.
The pliers themselves are multi-functional, made from aluminum with machined handles to reduce the overall weight and jaws that can handle split rings as well as crimping leads and cutting lines.
They may not be designed for reeling in trophy fish, but for your basic needs, this is a great set.
Multi-function with four pieces
High quality for the price
One of the first things you’ll notice about the Wolfyok aluminum fishing pliers is that they put the cutter on the right side of the pliers. It’s a small design difference from the standard, but it can actually make it more convenient for cutting lines in a lot of situations.
The ergonomic handle features comfortable finger inlays and the jaws are titanium coated stainless steel to ensure strength, as well as corrosion resistance. Wolfyok also offers a one-year warranty and is noted for having some of the most responsive customer service in the business.
A variety of colors
Lower quality sheath
May not cut some higher strength lines
Looking quite a bit like a pair of needle-nose pliers that you might find in any toolbox, the P-line Adaro fishing pliers are made with high-strength aluminum and have proven themselves to be durable for many anglers.
The inside of the hinge features a high-strength braid cutter that’s likely to chew through whatever line you’re working with if you need it, up to 500lb nylon/braided. The handle is also anodized so you can get it in colors like blue, red, or silver for a little bit of added coolness and style.
The jaws on the P-Line Adaro have a coated carbon steel tip and the line cutters are tungsten carbide. There’s a built-in spring in the hinge to help you open the jaws which also keeps them feeling smooth and efficient in your hand, not sticky and awkward like some cheaper pairs can get.
Good price point
Clean feel and efficient handling
Lower quality sheath
Grip can be uncomfortable and slippery
The Bubba brand is probably most famous for their knives, but they brought their patented grip technology to these fishing pliers which ensure the safest and most comfortable grip on the market.
Featuring titanium coated stainless steel jaws with an extra sharp tip, aluminum construction, and side cutters made of cobalt tungsten even without the no-slip grips, these are strong and durable pliers. The firm but comfortable rubber-like material from which they make their grips is what sets them apart from the crowd. Even in the wettest conditions, there’s little chance you’ll lose your grip on these.
At 8 inches in length, the PENN bull nose pliers are bit heftier than some of the other options available. Made from stainless steel, there’s also a black nickel-titanium coating for added strength and corrosion resistance. The line cutters are able to cut through mono and braided lines and they’re also replaceable to ensure that when they do get dull, you don’t need to toss the entire tool and buy a new one.
Aside from being ergonomic, the handle also has a non-slip grip which many competitors overlook. In wet conditions, that can make all the difference.
Knot cinching feature in the handle
Rompson’s needle nose plier set actually features two pairs of fishing pliers for a remarkably affordable price. The first thing you need to keep in mind when checking these out is that these are not meant for a serious fishing trip where you’re going to be tackling marlin or anything like that.
The big selling point behind the Rompson F1 pliers is that not only are they affordable, but they are also a great way to get someone into fishing for the first time. These are the pliers that you want to buy if you’re expecting to have a rowdy weekend at which not all your gear is going to make it home, or you’re teaching a child the ropes for the first time and giving them a starter set of gear.
These aren’t meant for cutting metal lines, but they do get the job done for your standard cutting or mono and smaller braided lines, and the price is extremely reasonable.
Two pairs together
Very reasonably priced
Great for beginners
Not designed for serious cutting
Fishing Pliers Buying Guide: What You Need to Know
There are several thousand different fishing pliers on the market ranging in price from below $10 to around $400 for a single pair. With such a range of options, it could potentially be frustrating to narrow down what’s going to best suit your needs. Especially if you’re not the angler who is going to be using these, and you’re looking to buy them as a gift for someone else. There are some things that you want to keep in mind when looking at any pair.
Aluminum: Most modern pairs of fishing pliers are going to be made of aluminum. Aluminum is lightweight and corrosion-resistant but also relatively strong. As with anything, construction and machining will also have a great effect on how this works.
Stainless steel: Stainless can add some strength to a good pair of fishing pliers, but it will also add extra weight. Corrosion is sometimes a concern with stainless steel, especially in saltwater fishing. High-quality stainless steel should be able to stand up to that, however. It’s not uncommon to find aluminum handles with stainless jaws to maximize strength while minimizing weight.
Titanium: Titanium is a metal that shows up less frequently than aluminum or steel but offers superior strength and weight over the other two. Often the price will reflect this, so there are some brands that will opt for titanium jaws only.
Cheaper materials do exist and you’ll want to avoid those at all costs. If the product doesn’t clearly state that it’s made from either aluminum, stainless steel, or titanium it may not be worth the risk of buying. Even if they look solid, extended use can easily warp the metal, and the springs may fail quickly.
A good grip is not something to dismiss or underestimate. No matter how high quality the rest of the construction is if the grip is poor the pliers will be all but useless.
You want to find an ergonomic grip, ideally with some finger inlays that give it a natural, comfortable feel in the hand. Non-slip grip material will also maximize usefulness. Size is also a consideration, as if the grip is too wide for your hand they may be hard to manage.
Remember, these are being used in slippery and wet conditions. The more easily they fit your hand, the more likely they are to stay where you want them.
A good pair of pliers is useful for more than simply pulling out hooks. Ideally, you’re going to have pliers that can cut lines of various materials and sizes, as well as bend hooks of different sizes and manage jobs like crimping and manipulating split rings.
Not every pair of pliers has cutting blades but it makes it quite a bit easier if they are included, especially high-quality ones that are made with something like tungsten. If the blades are able to be replaced or sharpened, that’s even more efficient overall and will ensure a lot more usefulness from the pliers.
As we mentioned above, the material that the pliers are made from obviously has a great impact on durability, but there are other considerations. For instance, a spring-loaded pair of pliers may have a longer life and more durability than non-spring loaded. It can become tiring and a hassle to have to manually open and close your pliers. That may be your only option if they don’t have that spring that makes the job a little easier for you in tight situations when your other hand is busy.
You want to make sure that all parts of the pliers are made with the same high-quality materials, not just the handles and the jaws. If that spring is cheap metal, then it’s going to fail quickly. If the cutters can’t be replaced, then you’ll have to buy separate cutters at some point in time. These are incidentals you need to keep in mind when trying to determine whether a pair is worth your time and money.
We’ve all seen somebody who has a tackle box that weighs 50 lbs or more, bogged down with so much gear it seems like a chore to even head out on a fishing trip. Pliers are the kind of thing you want to have on you at all times, so you don’t want to have a lot of added weight. That’s why materials like aluminum are used to decrease weight without sacrificing efficiency. The lighter the weight, the less likely they are to become cumbersome or get in your way.
There’s an old adage that you should buy the highest quality that you can afford at the time. This applies to everything from fishing pliers to dining room tables to televisions. Functionality also needs to factor into how much you’re willing to invest.
As we mentioned in our guide above, the Rompson’s pliers are a great option for beginners and come in at a very low price point specifically because they’re not meant for serious, hardcore fishing.
The Van Staal pliers are hands down the most expensive we have recommended, but their materials, durability, and versatility are reflected in that. These are pliers meant to last for years and handle the toughest jobs.
You get what you pay for, as they say, which doesn’t mean you need to break the bank on a pair of pliers, it just means you can tailor your purchase to your level of skill and interest easily.
The final thing you may want to consider when buying a pair of pliers is how they look. As you can see some manufacturers went out of their way to make them more stylish than others. It doesn’t affect functionality at all, but it is a nice feature to have sometimes.
My grandfather first took me fishing when I was too young to actually hold up a rod on my own. As an avid camper, hiker, and nature enthusiast I'm always looking for a new adventure.
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