Fishing pliers are one of those easily overlooked pieces of gear. Anglers don’t really think about them until they are in desperate need of them. The best fishing pliers can remove hooks, bend wires, change split rings, cut line, and more.
However, if you choose a crappy set, you may find yourself with a rusted shut hunk of metal and no way to cut off the crankbait hook your buddy just buried into your forearm. You don’t need to drop $100+ to buy a set of titanium pliers, so here’s what to look for in a good set of fishing pliers.
Quick Overview: 5 Best Fishing Pliers
- Bubba Blade Fishing Pliers – Editor’s Choice: excellent grip, strong aluminum handle, and tough cobalt tungsten cutter
- MadBite Lighted Fishing Pliers – Strong AL pliers with carbide line cutters and a handy detachable LED light.
- Piscifun Fishing/Split Ring Pliers – Best cheap aluminum pliers option.
- Buck Knives Splizzors – Unique fishing scissor with pliers nose and multi-tool design.
- P-Line Adaro 7.5″ Fishing Pliers – Simple, reliable aluminum pliers and carbide snips.
Must Have Features
- Material – You want pliers that won’t rust shut, so good choices here are stainless steel and aluminum. Cheap stainless steel can still rust, so go for quality like 420HC Stainless Steel. Cheap aluminum on the other hand, can bend under high forces, so look for aircraft grade aluminum alloys.
- Line Cutters – Basic pliers have a side cutter that will cut monofilament, and fluorocarbon, but if you use a lot of braid you will get frustrated if they aren’t sharp. Look for dedicated line cutters that are sharpened and hardened in order to cut braid.
- Side Cutters – You’ll want a strong side cutter to cut off the shank of a hook should it become buried in your gear or worse, in your flesh. Cheap pliers will be too dull or break under the pressure of hook cutting. You want beefy fishing pliers to get this job done.
- Nose Length – Keep in mind the nose and handle length for deep hook removals. This will depend mostly on which species you’re after. Saltwater pliers should be longer since you’re typically dealing with larger and toothier fish.
- Good Grip – Water, fish slime, and fishing lures can all make things slick to handle. When you need your pliers to unhook a fish, it’s not fun to fumble around. Pliers with molded grip material are more secure in the hand when you need them the most.
- Split Ring Tool – This is a bonus feature, and can come in real handy when you need to change or replace a treble hook on your favorite lure. Without it, you are left to fumbling around with your fingernails to open up and install split rings.
- Crimper – Some heavier tackle requires a crimped connection. look for pliers with a crimping notch in the jaws.
- Lanyard – A lanyard is a must for expensive fishing pliers, especially if you fish from a kayak or on big water where waves can pitch the boat suddenly.
1. Editor’s Choice – Bubba Blade Fishing Pliers
You may have heard of Bubba Blade for their patented grippy fillet knives, designed for the harsh saltwater fishing environment. Bubba Blade also has fishing pliers, and I was very interested to give them a try.
The pliers check all the boxes for good fishing pliers. It has a strong aluminum frame, titanium coated stainless steel jaws, a cobalt tungsten side cutter, and crimpers for terminal tackle.
What sets the Bubba Blade apart from the rest are the grips. The patented grips are made from a firm but soft-touch rubber material that feels great in the hand.
It’s practically impossible to drop these pliers, which is great while handling big fish and lures with treble hooks. For that reason the Bubba Blade has become the main pliers on my boat.
The MadBite aluminum pliers might be one of the most innovative fishing tools I’ve seen in a while. It features a bright 18k millicandela LED light attached to the top arm. Point the light directly where you are trying to work. If you fish at night, or just like having additional visibility to what you are working on, you would love the MadBite Lighted pliers.
The body is machined from high strength aluminum alloy, and has tungsten carbide jaws and cutters. All cutting parts are hardened, so you can make quick work of a fish hook, wire, or large diameter fishing line. The LED light is fully waterproof in its sealed housing, and operates on a small watch battery that you can find in any store.
With the Splizzors, Buck Knives has attempted to create an innovative tool by melding a multi-tool with a fishing pliers. Did their efforts work? Judging by the user reviews, it is clear that the Splizzors are a high quality fishing tool that would be a great addition to serious anglers tackle box.
The Splizzors are 8.5” inches long, made of corrosion resistant 420HC Stainless Steel, and feature large soft grip handles so you don’t have to worry about fumbling your expensive pliers into the lake. The nose is long and narrow, which aides in deep hook removals. The scissors are very sharp, which is perfect for cutting braid, and have replaceable and sharpenable blades.
As for multi-tools, if has several, such as crimpers for split shots, bottle opener, and a lanyard hole. The Splizzors are backed by Buck Knives famous “Forever Warranty”.
The P-Line Adaro is a high quality aluminum fishing pliers. I personally own a pair of these pliers, and can vouch for their strength and durability, as well as the awesome braid cutter located on the outside of the hinge.
Speaking of the hinge, it has a built in spring to help open the jaws, and adds a feeling of quality and smoothness to the pliers.
The frame is machined from high strength aluminum, and is anodized in 3 great looking colors like Silver, Blue, and Red. The jaws are capped with a coated carbon steel tip, and the line cutter of Tungsten Carbide. If you are looking for reliable pliers at a good price, these are a great choice.
Piscifun has produced a sharp looking pair of aluminum pliers. From the holes in the handles, to the compact hinge, there is a lot of attention to detail in these pliers, leading to one of the lightest freshwater or saltwater fishing pliers out there.
These babies are made from high strength aluminum, stainless steel jaws, and a tungsten carbide line cutter, each of which are easy to swap out once worn out. You can shred through the toughest braided fishing line with ease, and enjoy smooth operation thanks to a keep open spring in the pivot.
These would also make a great pliers for kayak anglers for several reasons. First they are light, they have a carabiner lanyard attachment, a sheath, and a split ring tip which makes for a formidable all in one fishing tool.
Bite Fishing Tackle offers an aluminum fishing pliers that is CNC machined from aluminum alloy, and heat treated for maximum hardness and strength. The tungsten carbide cutters are super sharp, and easily replaceable.
The Bite pliers look a lot like the P-Line Adaro, but with one key differences. The Bite models have soft touch grips molded onto the handles, which are amazing for increased comfort and handling of the tool. The jaws are black stainless steel, and replaceable via several small screws on the outside of the jaws.
The Bite pliers come in 2 variations, 7.5” blue or red, and 6.5” blue with a split ring nose. If you fish a lot of baits with treble hooks, the 6.5” model would be a nice choice for those inevitable times when you need to change a split ring or replace a hook.
Bonus – Boomerang Braid Snips
If you prefer to use a smaller tool to cut your braided line, or don’t like fishing with scissors, than the Boomerang Braid Snips is the tool for you.
While not technically a pliers, they do one thing exceptionally well that some pliers don’t. Braid Snips are small and allow you to make precision trims of tag ends of line so you tie perfect fishing knots.
You know those things you see a lot of hard core fishermen wearing around their necks, dangling in front them while they fish? Those are braid snips with a neck lanyard. There is a reason those hard core fish heads use them, and that is convenience and precise cutting.
*Last updated 2019-07-23 at 16:27 / Product Links & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API