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15 Best Fishing Pliers For All Anglers

Fishing pliers are one of the most important tools of the trade. Every experienced angler knows the value of a reliable pair of pliers and that they make life much easier for you, and for the fish on your line.

While these tools might at first seem straightforward and simple, their designs are far-ranging and most effectively utilized when paired with their respective fishing styles. Our top list has tracked down the best fishing pliers for every angler so you can select the perfect fishing companion for the tackle you employ, and the species you target.

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Selecting The Right Pair Of Pliers

When purchasing fishing pliers, there are a few main details to consider in order to end up with the pair that's best suited for your personal needs as an angler:

Saltwater vs. Freshwater: This one's obvious - if you're fishing in saltwater or brackish environments, then you'll need a pair of pliers that offer particularly excellent corrosion resistance in order to stand up to the harsh effects of the ocean.

Exclusively freshwater anglers can get away with owning a pair of pliers with inferior corrosion resistance, but anyone fishing the salt would be a fool to purchase pliers that are not ocean-approved if you want to get your money's worth.

Target Fish Species: Consider the type or types of fish you're going to be targeting out there before pulling the trigger on a new pair of pliers. 

Fish species with large, deep mouths and particularly toothy (and therefore dangerous to handle) species will require a pair of pliers with some extended reach. You'll want to keep your fingers and hands clear of anything that could potentially slice you open and ruin a fishing day, so make sure your pliers have the range to pop out deep-set hooks if your target species are feisty and tough to handle.

Alternatively, if the fish you're targeting are more or less safe to handle and typically do not swallow the hook, then you might enjoy the added portability, torque, and grip strength of a stouter, more compact pair of pliers.   

Choice of Tackle: Your choice of pliers might be swayed by the type of tackle you employ to get fish in the net.

Bait fishermen who employ catch-and-keep tactics to entice their target species to swallow the bait will be wise to buy a long nose pair of pliers for reaching those deep, gut-hooked fish.

Fly fishermen and other anglers who prefer to use artificial baits and lures that are intended to hook the target species in the corner of the mouth (externally) might be more interested in a pair of stouter, more precise pliers for getting up close and personal.

Integrated Features: Not all pliers are created equal in terms of added features, so be sure to consider an option that supports your tactics and tackle choices on the water.

Bait fishermen employing split shot and weights will likely want an integrated crimper, while anglers who utilize tough braid and/or large diameter mono or fluorocarbon lines will be wise to select an option with particularly capable integrated cutters.

Think about the tasks you most often need to complete while on the water and chances are your pliers just might replace some of your other fishing tools as well!

Personal Preference: At the end of the day your choice of pliers is, of course, a matter of preference. While you can make a selection to match up with your fishing tactics and target species, you likely already know what you're looking for in a pair of pliers! 

Freshwater Fishing Pliers

While there are countless different types of freshwater fishing styles and contexts, we wanted to highlight a few of our favorite options that are particularly awesome for exclusively freshwater fishermen.

Saltwater Fishing Pliers

As we've mentioned above, saltwater anglers should not have any tools in their tackle box or onboard their vessel that are not exceptionally corrosion-resistant due to the potent nature of saltwater environments.

If you want your pliers to last, it's foolish to purchase anything not saltwater approved, otherwise the ocean will have you returning to this list to shop again next season!

Some of our top picks for built to last, saltwater pliers, include:

Fly Fishing Pliers

Depending on your target species, there likely won't be much of a difference between the type of pliers fly fishermen, and all other anglers choose to utilize.

If you're a fly fisherman seeking a tool for removing tinier flies and hooks for applications like stream fishing for trout, then you'll likely want to go with a pair of fine-nosed forceps rather than pliers. Some of our favorite options for removing tiny bugs include: 

If you're chasing big and mean species of fish in salt or freshwater and tossing bigger flies, then most of the pliers on this list will be suitable for you - but a few of our top picks for more streamlined fly fishing applications include:

Top Quality Fishing Pliers

While we realize spending a pretty penny on a pair of pliers might seem ridiculous at first, it's a worthy investment when you really break it down.

Your pliers are one of your most-used tools (we hope!), and have everything to do with not only convenient unhooking of the fish you catch but also the health of your hands and health of the caught fish. Being a responsible angler includes owning equipment that inflicts minimal damage on the fish you plan on releasing, so don't settle for a janky pair of cheap pliers that might slow down the catch and release process.

While the price point of some of these pliers is almost laughable considering all they do is pop out hooks, remember that the top-tier options will last a lifetime, and feel superior in your hand until the day they finally retire - if that day ever comes.

Passionate anglers who appreciate good ergonomics and mindfully built fishing tools will furthermore never look back after pulling the trigger on a top-quality choice.

We realize the cost of some of these choices is hard to swallow, but rest assured a performance pair of fishing pliers is a worthwhile, investment type purchase. Some of our favorite top-notch options include:

Cheap Fishing Pliers

While we recommend treating new fishing pliers as an investment type purchase and steering clear of the cheapo options, there are a few budget choices out there that give you more bang for your buck than the other highly affordable options. 

Casual, weekend warrior type fishermen might not get enough time on the water per season to really see the differences in quality and lifespan, so if you don't get a ton of days in or are new to fishing altogether, you might consider a more budget choice in order to redirect your fishing funds towards more fun gear like rods, reels, and tackle!

Keep in mind any budget fishing tool will have a much more limited lifespan than higher-quality options, so if you decide on a cheaper unit than be sure to thoroughly rinse it after saltwater use and maintenance it every so often with some lubricant/oil.

Some of our favorite cheap fishing pliers that we've found are worth buying include

Other Essential Fishing Tools

If you're breathing new life into your gear locker, then be sure to check out our lists of the coolest fishing gadgets, electric fillet knives, nets, fishing gloves, and more!

Our gift lists for fishermen, fly fishermen, and boaters also feature some awesome tools and apparel worth checking out!