Which Kind of Fishing Pliers are Best for Me?

Should you get the basic needlenose pliers or consider more expensive models?

A good pair of pliers is arguably the most important piece of gear in your fishing kit. You need them to remove hooks from fish, and to clip your line and trim your knots. But it’s important to know what kind of pliers you need before you buy.

If you don’t fish in saltwater and you’re good at taking care of your gear, wallet-friendly steel needle-nose pliers will last you a long time (and won’t make you cry if they sink). On the other end of the spectrum are specially manufactured babies made of titanium, aluminum, and other exotic materials. They’ll last a lifetime, even in harsh saltwater conditions, but after one wrong thrash from the fish you’re landing, they’ll be lost to the water just as quickly as the cheaper ones.

Fortunately, there are loads of mid-priced models somewhere in between that are still durable and adaptable. Here are three good ones to consider for your next adventure.

Easier to Use

Pliers with ergonomic grips and springs that keep them open help you handle them with one hand more easily. Rapala

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A cheap pair of stainless steel needle-nose pliers don’t have the same bells and whistles as higher-priced models—and you’ll have to maintain them to keep them sharp enough to cut braided line—but they do a great job of removing a hook from a fish’s mouth without hurting the fish or you.

Long-Lasting

These are corrosion resistant and great for long-term use. Piscifun

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If you’re a saltwater angler or just having gear that can kick around your tackle box without rusting shut, a more fully featured pair of fishing pliers might be your best option. Many companies now offer corrosion-resistant aluminum pliers at very reasonable prices. They often come with useful features like split ring tips, special braid-cutting tools, and built-in lanyards that help reduce the chances of dropping them in the water.

Added Protection

A sheath with a belt clip is included to deter wear and tear and still allow for easy access. KastKing

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If you’re no stranger to hand or finger pain, consider an ergonomic option. A textured rubber handle will provide comfort and control, and a thin-grip profile and spring-loaded jaws allow for easy one-handed use.