Pliers are an essential piece of gear for any fishermen. They are needed for multiple different situations. From working with line, to safely unhooking fish. In this article professional fishing guide Shawn Chapin takes a closer look at our pick of the best fishing pliers on the market.
For those who like to cut to the chase, Shawn’s top pick is the KastKing Speed Demon Pro. read on to find out what’s important in a pair of fishing pliers and why the KastKing took home the crown.
To find the best fishing pliers we reviewed the following models:
- Bubba Blade fishing Pliers
- Plussino fishing Pliers
- KastKing Speed Demon Pro fishing pliers
- Booms Fishing X1 fishing pliers
- Piscifun III fishing pliers
- Manley Pro saltwater fishing pliers
What to look for in fishing pliers
Let’s take a look at important features to consider when looking for a pair of fishing pliers. Different anglers will need different features, we will give you our advice so you can pick the best pliers suited to your needs.
The materials that the pliers are made of is something to consider. Aluminum is lightweight and won’t rust or corrode like steel but it comes at the cost of strength. Stainless steel is strong and corrosion resistant but at the cost of being heavier. Special coatings such as titanium, or teflon are also great additional features to reduce corrosion. Textured Slide on grips help out greatly when using the pliers and is also a great option to look out for. The cutter blades are also important in terms of material, tungsten carbide blades will hold up and have longevity when cutting things like hooks or wire, standard mild steel cutters will dull quickly and fail to work properly.
Features are what really sets fishing pliers apart. Some features will be more important to some anglers more than others, it depends on what you do on the water on a regular basis.
Line cutting capabilities are essential for virtually any angler, so it would be wise to select pliers with this feature. Crimping capabilities are important to anglers who need to make leaders while out on the water, if this is something you do regularly a pliers with this feature will be really beneficial and you won’t have to carry a separate crimping specific tool with you. Split ring teeth are essential if you need to remove hooks or split rings on your lures on a regular basis. Other features like tuning slots are just icing on the cake for fishing pliers, which also come in really handy if you are making your own lures either from scratch or using a lure making kit.
Find a pair pliers with as many features as you need and narrow it down from there. Lanyards and clips along with belt holders will help you from misplacing the pliers and searching for them the moment you actually need them, as well as preventing you from losing your grip and losing the pliers overboard if fishing from a boat or kayak.
The side cutters on most pliers will cut monofilament and fluorocarbon but most will struggle with with cutting braid. To deal with braid you need a high quality line cutter, but we reckon you are really better off bringing scissors for the braid as no matter how good the pliers, the side cutter won’t consistently cut thin braid.
Length of the nose
This is decided by the type of fish you are pursuing. Big and toothy fish need longer nose pliers, but be aware that you get less force and control when you go for longer jaws. Long jawed pliers aren’t as versatile.
Split Ring Tool
It is great to have a split ring tool on your pliers when you need to change or replace a treble hook on your favorite lure. I’d be wary about buying a pair of fishing pliers without this feature.
Pliers with molded grip material offer more grip – which is important when dealing with fish slime, water and mud.
Lanyard & Sheath
Kayak fishing pliers should always have a lanyard. A sheath can be handy too, but sometimes it is overkill and just gets in the way. It is a matter of personal preference really.
Saltwater pliers need to have superior rustproofing and corrosion protection as standard. For saltwater use, choose pliers with a decent anti-corrosive coating. You won’t regret spending a few extra dollars on this – if you don’t have it your pliers will be rusted out after a few trips.
Our best fishing pliers: Detailed Reviews
The Bubba blade has an overall length of 7.5 inches with 2 inch long jaws. The pliers features patent pending no slip handles with great texturing, this allows you to keep a firm and tight grip on the pliers at all times, even in adverse weather conditions or when your hands and the pliers are wet. Along with the grips, the pliers are incredibly lightweight due to being constructed from durable aerospace aluminum, giving you excellent durability and strength. The jaws themselves are stainless steel and have a coating as well consisting of titanium nitride. The pliers are spring loaded, reducing the amount of fiddling you have to do when you have only one hand available. And to top all those features off, the Bubba Blade fishing pliers also has side cutters, crimping spots, a carbide cutter, and a hole in the handle for a lanyard.
- Long Length
- Amazing textured handles
- Frame would be stronger with stainless steel construction
- Belt clip would be better than a loop
Made from 6061 stainless steel these pliers will have great corrosion resistance, add on a teflon coating and they will be virtually impervious to corrosion. The Plusinno has 4 times the bend resistance compared to other aluminum models and is 60% harder than aluminum pliers, giving you maximum durability and reliability. Other features of the Plusinno are tungsten carbide cutters for mono, Fluoro and Braid line cutting, Crimping spots, split ring teeth, ergonomic grips, and a lanyard with a clip to fasten to you or your boat or kayak.
- Stainless steel construction
- Teflon coating
- Great features
- Pliers aren’t spring assisted.
- Handles might be awkward for some
The KastKing Speed Demon Pro is jam packed with tons of amazing features, and for this reason, it’s on our list. Let’s talk about these features and how these pliers will help you as an angler on the water. The Speed Demon is highly corrosion resistant, the pliers themselves are stainless steel, but to top that off, the pliers are also teflon coated, giving unprecedented corrosion resistance and reliability. The Speed Demon has excellent polymer non slip grips to give you a solid grip in any weather condition. Along with these features the pliers come with crimping spots so you can make leaders on the fly while fishing, tuning baits in the built in tuning slots, holes in the top jaws for cinching knots, wire cutting capabilities, line cutter capable of cutting mono, fluoro and even braid made with high quality plastic fibre, and an extra long tooth on the tip of the pliers for easy split ring opening. The Speed Demon comes with a high quality coil lanyard and even a carabiner to attach it to anything, along with a belt attachable carry case.
- High Quality Construction throughout
- Tons of features for various angling needs
- Top knotch lanyard and carabiner
- Teflon coated stainless steel
- Slightly heavier due to steel construction
The X1 is an all aluminum handled pliers and has been designed with multiple holes in the handle to give the angler a plier that is incredibly lightweight, while the jaws are made from stainless steel. The X1 is capable of removing split rings, Cutting lines including braids, single barrel crimping spots, and has the capabilities to make split leads as well. The pliers are also spring loaded and keep an open position to make it easy to use when you only have one free hand available. The X1 also has a high quality coiled tether connected to a carabiner style clip to fasten it anywhere you can, rest assured that you won’t lose it to the depths if it slips from your hands while you take a hook out of a fish’s mouth.
- Very lightweight
- Can crimp single barrel sleeves
- High quality lanyard and clip
- No side cutters
- No texture or non slip grips
The Piscifun III were designed to last, made with high quality aircraft grade aluminum, and jaws made of Titanium coated stainless steel. The pliers also have tungsten carbide cutters, multiple crimping spots, split ring teeth, and near perfect jaw alignment with no flexing, aiding you in twisting hooks from writhing fish. The Pliers is spring loaded, and comes with a coiled lanyard as well as a nylon sheath.
- Titanium coated stainless steel
- Precise jaw alignment
- No high-grip textured handles
The Manley Pro saltwater pliers keeps things simple and straight to the point. Being 7.5 inches in length the Manley Pro is great for removing small hooks and gripping things quickly. The Manley has an advanced coating to stop corrosion from the harshness of saltwater. The Manley Pro also features carbide cutters that work for mono, fluoro and even braid. To finish it off, the pliers do come with a high quality coil lanyard and carabiner clip that’s particularly use for boat or kayak use.
- Corrosion resistant coating
- Carbide cutter
- Lacking crimping spots
- Lacking split ring tooth
Our Pick for the best fishing pliers
The KastKing Speed Demon Pro is our top pick for the best fishing pliers, it is loaded with amazing features and comes in at a stellar price. The Speed Demon comes with every essential feature needed in one small package, and is constructed with high quality materials. They even look cool! With the unique and high quality orange grips, belt case, lanyard and carabiner clip. The lure tuning slots is another thing that really sets these pliers apart.
Final thoughts on fishing pliers
Fishing pliers are essential for any angler, not only to assist you in a multitude of roles, but also from a safety aspect, if you have a writhing fish with hooks flying around, keeping your distance and removing them from a fish with a pair of pliers will save you trips to the emergency room. With larger fish, use Boga Grips or an alternative to grab the fish properly by the lip to steady it while you remove the hook. Not only is angler safety a reason to have pliers, fish health is as well. Catch and release is paramount to the gamefish we love to fish for and deeply hooked fish and hook removal in the least damaging way possible is crucial to a fish’s survival post release. From maintenance to safety, to fish care, fishing pliers are a necessity that you should not neglect, it’s worth having a good pair of quality pliers, and if you care for it, it will last you for years.