FISHING PLIERS may be the most ubiquitous tools in all of angling. Whether you're a panfish specialist in Missouri, a blue-water charter skipper in Florida, or anything in between, you need a pair. They make unhooking fish much easier than using your fingers. They'll also flatten hook barbs, grab line or hooks securely for tightening knots, and cut all types of fishing lines. In an emergency, such as when you've stupidly impaled yourself with a big treble hook, one of these will even cut heavy hook wire. I tested seven popular models. (Note that I haven't included multitools. They are hugely convenient but rarely as effective as pure fishing pliers.) Unless you already know that I'm a parsimonious old Yankee, you'll be surprised at which pliers came out on top.