Of all the tools in any angler’s kit, it is perhaps the humble pliers that are the unsung hero of any day by the water.
A good pair can make the difference between a successful fishing trip, and a nightmarish one.
But as there’s so many options to choose from, it can be a challenge finding the right set.
So, I’ll do the hard work for you and narrow it down to the 13 best fishing pliers of 2020. Regardless what you’re using them for, there will be one that’s right for you in the review below.
A buyer’s guide and FAQ section will follow.
Let’s dive in.
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Table of Contents
- The 13 Best Fishing Pliers of 2020
- Piscifun Aluminum Fishing Pliers
- Van Staal Titanium Pliers Kit
- KastKing Cutthroat Fishing Pliers
- Booms Fishing H1 Fishing Pliers
- San Like Split Ring Fishing Pliers
- Leatherman Wave Plus Multitool
- Cheeky Fishing 550 Pliers
- Plusinno Fishing Pliers
- Bubba Blade Fishing Pliers
- P-Line Adaro Aluminum Pliers
- Gerber Magniplier Needle Nose Pliers
- Accurate Piranha Extra Lite Plier Kit
- Calamus A7 Aluminum Fishing Pliers
- How to Choose the Best Fishing Pliers for You
The 13 Best Fishing Pliers of 2020
How to Choose the Best Fishing Pliers for You
Below you’ll find a handy guide on what to look out for when navigating the minefield of choosing the best fishing pliers for your needs.
Fishing pliers can be made out of a variety of materials, including machined aluminum or titanium for high-end pliers, to stainless steel models.
Some have been treated with additional coatings, such as Teflon, for extra protecting and to improve longevity.
For the most part, keen anglers are going to want something that’s made out of a tough, rugged, and durable material, so it won’t break easily, go out of alignment, or allow corrosive damage to take hold.
If you’re looking for something super-strong, search for fishing pliers that are made out of hard-carbon stainless steel. You can be sure they will take a beating and you will never even know it.
For lightweight options, go with aircraft-grade aluminum.
But the very best pliers will use a combination of materials to really nail the design and performance.
You should ask yourself how important weight is when it comes to choosing the right pair of fishing pliers for your needs.
While it’s not a deal breaker for many anglers, others do prefer something that is going to be as light as possible when added to the rest of their kit. It adds up after all.
Look for pliers that are made from aluminum/titanium over stainless steel if you really want the lightest tool you can find.
And check out this review of the best fishing backpacks, as many have a dedicated strap or carrying pocket to store and transport pliers – no matter the weight.
This is where you will need to decide if split ring or flat nose pliers are for you. And it depends on what you’re using the tool for.
As a rule of thumb, though, if you’re not working on split rings or rarely use them, then flat nose pliers are perfectly adequate.
But remember, the more functions that feature on your pliers, the less you’ll need to clog up your gear with extra tools.
Make sure that your fishing pliers have quality crimping jaws in the nose that offer good tensile strength for gripping and crimping build leaders, split shot weights, and other fishing-related uses.
Additionally, there is a school of thought that split ring pliers greatly assist in hook removal (a lesson that I happen to very much agree with) so that is something you should bear in mind.
And pick up a set with a generous nose length for getting into all those nooks and crannies – particularly if you’re fishing saltwater as those critters can have teeth.
Check out this review dedicated to saltwater fishing pliers for more information.
Side and Line Cutters
Not all pliers can cut all kinds of fishing line. The frustration of discovering this when you’re on the water is real, and not to be underestimated – it’s happened to the best of us.
Most pliers will be able to cut monofilament line. Taking a step up, and they should be able to snip copolymer and fluorocarbon line, but you might be faced with an uphill struggle when it comes to braid.
Make sure you’re fully prepared for that eventuality by having a set of pliers that are capable of cutting anything they can get their teeth into.
Also, it’s a good idea to find a pair of fishing pliers that allow the blades to be removed for convenient sharpening or replacement when it will eventually be required.
Thankfully, the vast majority of the pliers I’ve included in the review above will tick all these boxes.
Another vitally important part of the make-up of fishing pliers (or any pliers for that matter), the grip should be comfortable and easy to hold.
Look for over-molded handles with rubberized or textured covers to provide the best possible comfort and control. Thermoplastic rubber is ideal as it offers unbeatable grip in wet conditions without holding any odor.
But don’t go too large – many household or classic tool-box pliers have giant handles, and this grip profile is too big for the fine control you will likely need when you’re fishing.
A non-slip grip is essential to preventing slipping accidents, especially as you’re going to be around water and/or when your hands are cold.
And speaking of, check out these excellent fishing gloves which can be really useful additions to your kit, and seriously help you to get a grip.
The very best fishing pliers will have superior rustproofing and corrosion protection as standard. This is particularly essential if you’re fishing in saltwater – as that stuff ruins everything.
Saltwater is not a tool’s best friend.
Look for fishing pliers that have been specially treated to protect them against the elements, as aside from misuse, this is the number one cause of ending a tool’s life prematurely.
Let’s be honest, if you’re going to spend a fair bit of coin on good fishing pliers, and they don’t come with its own pouch (at the very least), then something is amiss.
Good tools should have protective covers or pouches to help them last longer and maintain performance.
Likewise, a lanyard is equally helpful when you’re in the field/on the water, as you don’t really want to be dropping even the most durable of tools.
Especially if there’s a risk that it might go overboard.
The cost factor of a product has rarely been more important than when it comes to fishing pliers.
This is for the simple fact that you can purchase high-end models that will set you back hundreds of dollars, and super-cheap versions that will only be a couple of bucks.
So, a word of caution – you don’t need to spend a fortune on this tool.
But you should never purchase something that’s in a bargain bin either.
Decent fishing pliers are available at around the $20 mark. If you want to splash out for the very best product available made with cutting edge technology – that’s perfectly up to you.
Just don’t go too far the other way – you will seriously regret it when the rot sets in, they’re not properly aligned, or they couldn’t cut a piece of string.
What are fishing pliers used for?
Fishing pliers are mostly used as a hook removing tool. However, they’re so versatile they can be applied in multiple situations and scenarios to help you out.
They can also be used for crimping, cutting fishing line, fashioning lures, fixing bait, or even removing anything a fish might have swallowed.
What they should NOT be used for is a better question – and the number one answer to this would be – as a hammer.
How to use fishing pliers?
There are multiple ways in which you can use fishing pliers, and to explain them all might well take several articles.
Check out the video below for one example of how to use split ring pliers to replace treble hooks.
How to take care of fishing pliers?
Great question – taking good care of your pliers will ensure they last you for years to come.
Regardless of if you’ve been saltwater fishing or not, get into the habit of always cleaning your pliers with freshwater when you get home. Use a steel brush/wire wool, and then rinse and dry them thoroughly.
Then, it’s always a good idea to add a light coat of oil to keep the tool operating a peak performance with a silky smooth action.
Once in a while, give them a blast of an anti-rust, lubricating spray, such as WD40.
Store your pliers in a clean and dry environment – and always use the pouch or bag provided. Don’t throw them naked back in with the other tools – you wouldn’t like that, and neither do they.
What are the best fishing pliers?
You’ll have to decide the answer to this question yourself from the products in the review above. It really is subjective and depends on personal preference.
But the best fishing pliers will be durable, sturdy, with multiple tool options and capable of cutting through braided line.
They also need to be fully corrosion-resistant – especially if you’re fishing in saltwater.
And don’t forget – they need to fit with your budget.
How do you use split ring pliers for fishing lures?
A question that’s much easier to explain visually, so watch the video below for a guide on how to use a pair of fishing pliers for adding split rings to lures.
Where are Van Staal pliers made?
Premium fishing company Van Staal offers high-end fishing products that are pretty much the top of the food chain – and the most expensive as a result.
Van Staal has component manufacturing facilities in China, but pliers will be put together in the US.
Can you use any pliers for fishing?
Meh. You can give it a go if you like – it’s certainly better than nothing.
But dedicated fishing pliers are a fisher person’s best pal. You will never see pro anglers leave home without them.
I heartily recommend not cutting corners on this one – the benefits of owning a pair of proper fishing pliers are numerous.
And you will come to regret it if you try and soldier on with any old pair of tool box pliers.
You can spend as much or as little as you like when trying to find the best fishing pliers in 2020, as prices can vary wildly.
So too can the quality.
I hope this guide has helped you sort the wheat from the chaff. Just remember to never go too cheap on this tool – buy the best you can afford.
Let me know which product you’ve gone for and why.
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