Best Fishing Pliers For Freshwater & Saltwater Anglers 2022
One of the most critical pieces of fishing gear is a pair of fishing pliers. This simple but versatile tool is great for removing hooks from a fish’s mouth, cutting fishing lines, helping you build fishing lures, or manipulating treble hooks. Fishing pliers are a tool you can’t go fishing without and that you should always keep accessible in your tackle box or bag.
The best pliers for fishing will be crafted with either stainless steel or aluminum, and will be versatile and durable. We’ve tested products, gone fishing with them, read fishing pliers reviews, and compiled a guide to the best fishing pliers for your next fishing trip.
- Best Weight Distribution: Booms Fishing X1 Aluminum Fishing Pliers
- Best Choice: Piscifun Aluminum Fishing Pliers
- Most Lightweight: Wolfyok Aluminum Fishing Pliers
- Best Medium Duty: Sanlike Aluminum Fishing Pliers
- Best Design: Gerber Magniplier Locking Fishing Pliers
- Best for Saltwater Fishing: BITE Fishing Pliers
- Best Heavy-duty: Lews Aluminum Fishing Pliers
- Best Titanium: Van Staal Titanium Fishing Pliers
- Best Light Duty: ZACX Fishing Pliers
- Most Ergonomic: KastKing Cutthroat 7” Fishing Pliers
The Best Fishing Pliers
Booms Fishing X1 Aluminum Fishing Pliers come with a braided metal coiled lanyard, that you’ll want to attach to the sheath once the box arrives. The stars of the show here are the perfect weight distribution between the 7.8” plier end, and the ergonomic handle; these two combined make this set of aluminum pliers all that more comfortable to use, especially when handling large fish! We were lucky enough to catch a large red drum while out fishing with this tool. The handles are designed with contoured finger inlays which helped me retain full control of the pliers during use.
The line cutters on this set can cut braided line, monofilament line, and fluorocarbon line and feature line cutters, crimp sleeves, a crimp split lead, and a split ring feature in the nose. Aluminum is rust-resistant and this tool can be used for both fresh and saltwater fishing, although I only used them for freshwater fishing. Given their size, these top fishing pliers are best for small to medium fish. They make an ideal gift for fishermen.
Includes braided metal lanyard and hook attachment
Durable aluminum construction
Contoured handle for maximum dexterity
- BrandBooms Fishing
- Weight6.7 Ounces
Crafted out of highly durable tungsten carbide, the Piscifun pliers promise years of use with a high level of rust resistance. The business end of this device has a four-in-one use, including fine grooves to tackle different hook sizes, crimp sleeves and crimp leads – everything I might need at my fingertips without reaching for additional hardware. Last but not least, the line-cutters are durable and replaceable. Instead of purchasing a whole new set of pliers or line cutters, I can swap out the line cutters as they dull.
This tool was usable straight out of the box, and easy to use when removing hooks from a large tilapia a friend caught. On cold days, a rubber grip on the handle would be nice so that your hands aren’t on cold metal. For more must-have fishing gear, be sure to browse our list of the most popular fishing bobbers.
Super-fine four-use plier end
Sharp line-cutters are fully replaceable
Primary tungsten carbide construction
- Weight5.6 Ounces
A combination of lightweight aluminum body and stainless steel jaws with teflon coating make this reliable pair of pliers fairly rust-resistant and unlikely to bend under pressure. If you’re looking for a fast, light and affordable set of fresh or saltwater fishing pliers then the Wolfyok Aluminum Fishing Pliers might be a great choice for you. These split ring fishing pliers feature a finger inlay for all four fingers, as well as a raised curve at the end, which helps with a bit of extra pushing power when a hook gets awkwardly stuck.
As many pliers do, Wolfyok includes a metal braided lanyard and hook. They also did something unconventional here and put the line-cutters on the right-hand side of the pliers. This is an innovative placement that appears to work fine once you get used to it. Given the weight and 6.7-inch length of this tool, it’s best for smaller to medium fish and tasks. Here are also some of the best-selling fishing reels on the market. Be sure to check them out.
Includes braided lanyard and latch hook
Ergonomic handle design helps you retain control
Aluminum construction, stainless steel jaws
- Weight4 Ounces
Many fishing pliers are made out of similar materials and similar designs because the brands know what works. The Sanlike Aluminum Fishing Pliers took this tried and tested design, then beefed up the handles, added tungsten carbide line cutters and a camo pattern. The bulked-up handles allow larger hands more space to grab and additional control when removing stubborn hooks.
The plier end is fairly small but includes a line-cutter at the base, as well as wide grooves and crimp sleeves along the plier body to help with stubborn hooks and preparing tackle and lures. You know, the added aesthetic of the woodland camouflage doesn’t look too shabby either and helps you stay stealthy if that’s your aim. For more great fishing equipment check out our guide to the best fishing nets.
Includes a braided metal lanyard and sheath
Bulky handle helps with maximum grip
Wide grooves help with multiple hook types and cutting the line
- Weight7.2 Ounces
If you’re a regular Gear Hungry reader, then you know that Gerber is one of our favorite brands, as they have excellent hunting gear and the Gerber Magniplier Locking Fishing Pliers are no exception. The common design of the best fishing pliers was almost entirely thrown out the window for this sleek, innovative, mostly black tool to be born. These fishing pliers are high-end and equipped with a carbide line-cutter that you’ll have to work hard to dull. Even at that point, it can be sharpened to avoid paying for replacements.
The entire design is ergonomic, from the handles to the finger inlay. Your nose end is off-axis to provide better grip on hook curves, while the handles are spaced enough to give you better dexterity and withstand added tension. Lastly, you’ll find a coiled lanyard and nylon sheath to protect the needle-nose tips and spring-loaded handles. They also perfectly fit the pocket of your fishing shirt so you can have it handy at all times.
Off-axis nose and spaced handles improve performance
Includes braided metal lanyard and sheath with velcro closure
Carbide cutters take ages to dull, can be sharpened
- Weight12 Ounces
BITE Footwear did something out of the box and made a remarkable pair of fishing pliers. The BITE Fishing Pliers are all corrosion-resistant aluminum and offer a large center hinge with a short handle gap. What that means is you have to apply very little pressure to put them into action, allowing for fast and easy hook removal, even on big fish.
The tungsten carbide cutters are off-center, sticking out from the side of the pliers, and boast a wide end on either side. That allows you to sharpen them in the future without turning them into nubs. Lastly, the ergonomic grip and soft-touch handles make this easy and simple to use and keep your hands from touching chilly metal on cold days. They will be your favorite fishing equipment and something you pack first in your fishing backpack.
Full aluminum construction
Off-center line-cutters with a wide range of use
Ergonomic soft grip on both handles
- BrandBite Footwear
- Weight6.7 Ounces
Not into flashy fishing pliers? We don’t blame you, and neither do Lews: they put together a rugged, no-fuss pair of pliers, and included a braided metal lanyard and sheath to go along with it. Meet the Lews Aluminum Fishing Pliers. The real show-stoppers are the aircraft-grade aluminum handles and primary construction, stainless steel lined plier nose with serrated jaws, and 303-grade steel spring bearings. In short, these pliers are built to outlast just about every other pair you can find and include an ergonomic grip to help you get proper use out of them.
While they may not feature some of the bells and whistles, sometimes basic pliers are a win and this option is excellent for heavy-duty use. Our guide to the top fishing shoes offers more great fishing products so make sure you check it out.
Aircraft quality aluminum handles
303-grade stainless steel spring bearing
Includes sheath and a wire braided metal lanyard
- Weight10 Pounds
Are you ready to treat yourself? Van Staal is a high-end line of fantastic tools and home products, and their fishing pliers are no exception. Crafted out of nothing but titanium, these pliers withstand rust, the test of time, and every drop and bump along the way.
These needle nose pliers are fantastic fishing pliers that truly shine in their durability. Their hefty 15.2 ounces aid in durability and allow them to be used for difficult to remove hooks and big fish. The handles have inlays for your fingers to help with control and prevent slippage, while the steel wire cutters sit on the side. They can be replaced or sharpened, it’s all up to you. Lastly, Van Staal also includes an open-top leather sheather to go along with it. Be sure to also check out our list of the top-rated fishing watches for more great items like this.
Full titanium construction
Includes a leather sheath (open top)
Steel side line-cutters
- BrandVan Staal
- Weight15.2 Ounces
The ZACX Fishing Pliers are one of the most popular pliers in this category. Made from anodized aluminum, they’re designed to be used in both saltwater and freshwater without rusting. The ergonomic and lightweight design makes them perfect for those situations when your hands are already tired. Plus, they have an improved spring-loaded handle that makes them easy to operate with one hand.
In addition to the pliers, you get a polyester sheath and lanyard to keep them attached to your pants, tackle box or bag. You also get an upgraded fish gripper, which makes it easier to remove hooks from the fish’s mouth. When you examine the nose of these saltwater fishing pliers you’ll find a split ring tip, sharp teeth and crimp and press leads.
Made from anodized aluminum
Improved spring-loaded handle
Sheath and lanyard included
Upgraded fish gripper included
- Weight12 Ounces
KastKing is one of our favorite fishing brands. Run by a bunch of fishing experts, their products are designed to make fishing easier and more enjoyable. The KastKing Cutthroat 7” Fishing Pliers definitely achieve that goal. The pliers are made from corrosion-resistant stainless steel and come with a comfortable rubber handle to make them easier to grip. They’ve also got a pair of carbide cutters that will make quick work of cutting fishing lines.
In addition to the pliers, you get a polyester holster and an extendable lanyard to stop you from losing them. Our favorite features are the versatile nose and rubber grip on the handle. The rubber grip is welcome in the cold hours of the morning when you don’t want your fingers to get any colder by touching metal.
Made from corrosion-resistant stainless steel
Comfortable rubber handle
Tungsten carbide cutters
Polyester holster included
Why Trust Us
While fishing is not my personal strong suit despite my vast outdoors experience, it is my dad's. So, for this guide I turned to the best angler I know, my father. To test products, we went fishing together and combined my knowledge of the outdoors and gear testing with his understanding of fishing. Together we made a great team and made friends at the lake who also used our gear and gave feedback for a more well-rounded fishing experience. Between the ragtag testing crew I assembled, there was about 60 years of fishing experience.
Who This Is For
This guide is for the novice to intermediate angler. More advanced fisherman and women will have their own preferences but that doesn't mean they can't use this guide as a jumping-off point. When assembling your tackle, this guide is a great resource for finding the best fishing pliers for your needs. We offer salt and freshwater options, needle-nose style pliers, and the best split ring pliers. We also offer a variety of materials to consider when buying fishing pliers. In this guide, you'll find titanium pliers, aluminum pliers and stainless steel fishing pliers.
How We Picked
To curate a selection of the best fishing pliers, I first looked for the top sellers and most well-reviewed options. From there, I consulted anglers I knew and asked their opinions. When adding products, I wanted to ensure we had some options in a variety of materials, weights, and heavy/medium and light duty. I belive in well rounded guides that serve as many people as possible.
How We Tested
Well, the best way to test fishing pliers is to go fishing! I opted to go to Braunig lake with my father while visiting him over the holidays. We used live bait and hoped to catch carp, bass or red drum. While fishing, we met several other folks and allowed them to use the gear we were testing as well and collect their feedback. The more input, the better.
Features To Look For In Fishing Pliers
Material - We like to see high-grade aluminum and stainless steel, or titanium, but titanium is less common (and typically more expensive). Brands that use shoddy materials for the main body of their fishing pliers aren’t the types of companies that put great detail and care into the supporting components, like springs and spring bearings. Furthermore, aluminum and steel can handle the tension of your hands constricting on the handles without warping over time. The only caveat is that you need to ensure the aluminum is aircraft grade or it runs the risk of bending and warping over time.
Durability - This is where material heavily indicates how long you’ll have these pliers. If your spring or spring bearings aren’t good quality, but the primary material is stainless steel, then you’ll be on the fast track to having a useless set of stainless steel pliers. Durability comes from brand dependability, and quality materials from tip to grip. Titanium and stainless steel offer the most durability but aircraft-grade aluminum is close behind.
Weight - Weight can be both a benefit and a hindrance. For small hands or a fast and light fly fishing trip, you may want to opt for a lightweight set of pliers. When it comes to torque, durability and working with larger fish, you'll want a little extra heft to your aluminum pliers or stainless steel fishing pliers.
Grip - Your grip does more than just make contact with your skin more pleasant; it helps with proper tension application and prevents your hand from slipping. Depending on how much pressure you use to keep the hook in place during extraction, you’ll be relying on your grip to pick up the slack. A good grip will have individual finger inlays, and either a rugged end (found on full-bodied aluminum fishing pliers) or a soft touch rubber coating. I'm personally a fan of rubber coatings to reduce fatigue and limit how cold your poor hands get.
Additional tools - Most notably, you’ll want to look for a line-cutter included in your fishing pliers. Not all of them feature this, but it cuts down on extra weight, bringing along an extra tool, and often helps you out with precious time in between casting out your fishing line. You’ll be able to cut your line without finagling with your fishing vest, and for catch and release fishers, this is critical time to get the fish back in the water.
Lanyard - Where else are you going to put these? Your lanyard isn’t essential, but it isn’t bad either. You’re going to see just about every brand include a metal braided lanyard, standard hooks, and in some cases, they’ll also toss in a sheath to keep your pliers protected when not in use. When you're handling aluminum or steel, you’ll want to ensure that the locking mechanism works well (or that there is one to begin with) before you simply hang this off a lanyard on your fishing vest.
Side and line cutters - A line or side cutter can be made with a variety of materials but our preference is tungsten carbide. Tungsten cutters will be more durable and last longer. We also recommend finding a model that you can either sharpen the blades when they dull or replace them. You'll often find the cutters nose of the pliers or you'll find a side cutter on, you guessed it, the side!
Rustproofing/corrosion protection - Given that your fishing pliers will undoubtedly come into contact with water, corrosion resistance is a must. Quality fishing pliers must not rust. Stainless steel, titanium and aluminum pliers will all offer some corrosion resistance with titanium and stainless steel offering more.
Length - The most common length we see in the best fishing pliers is six inches to eight inches long. When choosing your length, you'll want to think about the size of your hand and what feels comfortable and the type and size of fish you'll be catching. You may need some extra length to grab a stubborn fish hook.
Split ring tool - Split rings are often used to assemble fishing lures, replace treble hooks and assemble tackle. Small split rings are difficult to open by hand and many fresh and saltwater fishing pliers now have split ring tips or you can also find split ring pliers. This split ring tool on the nose allows you to open these rings easily, without fuss. If you are using pre assembled lures and tackle, you may not need this but in general, a split ring tip is a handy fishing tool that you may need someday.
Crimper - When assembling a rig or lure, crimping jaws can be handy. While it is possible to crimp with your regular needle-nose pliers for fishing, many of the best fishing pliers also feature specific crimping tools in the nose which are helpful is you regularly build your own rigs or lures.
Fishing Pliers FAQ
Q: How do you remove a hook using pliers?
A: You might not be able to catch and release the fish if the hook is too deep. If it isn’t, then you’re going to want to act quickly, but calmly. Using the needle-nosed end of the pliers, grasp the hook at the point where it curves. Gently twist it in the direction of your line (away from the point of contact in the fish to avoid digging the hook in further). You might have to wiggle your hands slightly if you’re getting increased resistance from the hook.
Using fishing pliers allows you to have a hands-off approach, for the most part. Fish have a slimy mucus exterior that protects them, so for catch and release fishers, it means you only have to put one hand on them while the other maneuvers the pliers and removes the hook. It’s better for the fish, and quicker to get them back in the water.
Q: Do you need spring-loaded pliers?
A: If your spring-loaded pliers encounter an issue with the bearing, or just start to wear down after all that use, then they’re still going to be viable to use. You can still manually open them, close them on the hook and apply tension: they’ll still work just fine.
However, if you buy spring-loaded pliers, you’re expecting an easier time. The spring keeps them open, so you simply retrieve them from their sheath or your fishing vest, they pop open, and you have fast access to get rid of the hook.
Whether or not to go with spring-loaded handles or spring-loaded jaws is truly a matter of preference. There’s debate on the pros and cons, but this tool is extremely simple, and going with a manual pair over spring-loaded isn’t going to prohibit their viability, or decrease your skill with them.
If you love fishing, make sure you also check our guide to the best fishing kayaks.
Q: How to care for your pliers?
A: Most fishing pliers are made out of steel or aluminum but you will also run into titanium pliers. You aren’t going to see a lot of ABS plastic or engineered hard nylon here. You’re obviously aware of metal’s number one enemy, the water. More importantly, saltwater. Even with the highest grade stainless steel available for purchase, you can still greatly damage your fishing pliers if you leave them out in improper conditions.
Assuming that you’ve found yourself an excellent pair of steel or high-grade aluminum fishing pliers, these are all the steps you can take to ensure they stay up to par, and working for you, not against you. These tips go in no particular order.
- Everything in its place: Don’t make the mistake of leaving your pair of fishing pliers hanging in your fishing vest. It’s not going to do you any favors. Not only does it leave them susceptible to falling (if you hang your vest on a rack), but they’re also more likely to get knocked around by passers-by. Get a designated space, and don’t leave them in your vest.
- Grease regularly: If you’ve snagged some fishing pliers that seem more like a Swiss Army Knife, then you’ll need to spend extra time greasing each moving part appropriately. Rust doesn’t just form on its own; it’s easier to creep into your pliers when you aren’t greasing them in the first place. Oil and water don’t mix, so not only are you keeping your fishing pliers operational, but you’re protecting them from unknown splashes and contact with the water.
- Understand what you’re cutting through: It’s very easy to make the mistake of overestimating your pliers. If you opted for a lower grade aluminum pair, and you’re trying to cut through steel wire, you’re only going to damage your pliers and end up frustrated as can be. Keep a mental inventory of the metal grades of wire and fishing line that you’re using, so you don’t make a simple mistake and ruin your pliers forever.
- Sharpen quarterly: If you’re getting these because you’re a hardcore angler, you’re not going to let three months go by without using them. If you fish as often as we do, you’ll notice that even from proper use, the edges of the pliers are going to get dull with time and application. Sharpen them regularly, and pay attention to any additional aspects (fold-out knives, for example). Keep in mind that some cutters, even on expensive fishing pliers are supposed to be replaced, not sharpened so consult the manufacturer before sharpening.
- Don’t use for other tasks: These aren’t all-purpose pliers, and they shouldn’t be treated as such. Fishing pliers are made for a very specific purpose, and when your introduce them to other uses and potential chemicals (depending on what you’re doing), you’re doing more harm than good. Even if they worked to fulfill the need for that task you were working on, you could have caused some major damage to the plier tines. If you plan on going ice fishing, check out our selection of the best ice fishing shelters that can come in handy.