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The Best Saltwater Pliers – At-a-Glance
I know you can’t wait to check out all the awesome pliers in this article, but let’s first explore some of the features and factors you should be looking out for.
Made from quality materials – saltwater pliers need to be up to the task.
Weight – how heavy are they?
Nose type and length – does it have the features you need?
Line cutting – make sure it’s capable of cutting the line you use.
Grip – in wet conditions, nobody wants tools slipping out of their hands.
Storage and carrying options – do they come with a pouch or lanyard?
Cost – be sure to stay within your budget.
Using the points above (and a dash of personal preference), I’ve come up with my top three picks for the best saltwater fishing pliers on the market.
Up first are these ultralight aluminum fishing pliers from Piscifun. Designed for use in fresh and saltwater, they’re made with aviation-grade materials, offer a great selection of features, and come in at an outstanding price point.
A close second would be KastKing’s Cutthroat pliers, which are made from corrosion-resistant stainless steel, with tungsten carbide cutters. And you can’t argue with this many five-star reviews.
Last but not least, I’ve gone for these SAMSFX saltwater fishing pliers, also made from aviation-grade aluminum, and featuring plenty of nice touches to make things easier on your hands.
Do you agree with my choices? Read on and see if you can find your top three saltwater fishing pliers.
When a tool is made out of something as reliable as airplane material, you should be pretty sure it’s darn reliable.
Think about it…
Airplanes have to cope with all sorts of conditions and have to be as light as possible. The same can be said to be true of the best fishing pliers for saltwater.
These fishing pliers are constructed with high-quality aviation-grade aluminum. Areas that are subjected to any extra pressure are reinforced with hard wearing, and corrosion resistant, stainless steel.
In a pair of pliers, you want something that can be used in a wide variety of roles. Aside from ensuring you have a vice like grip these pliers also have a few nice extra features.
A fine point on the nose of the pliers allows you to open split rings with ease, great for removing old bits of rusted or terminal tackle.
Is that all?
No, there’s more… Tungsten coated blades in the rear of the jaws will make light work of any fishing line, regardless of thickness, they will even cut through steel wire traces, hooks, and thick sea fishing line.
The pliers are very lightweight.
Several tools in one.
The hollow handles are useful if you want to hang the pliers from a Karabiner on your fishing backpacks.
The included carry pouch.
The bolts inside the jaws create an uneven surface.
These pliers are pretty affordable and also act as cutters and splitters as well as pliers. Whilst aluminum is a softer metal, it is supplemented by hardened areas.
I’m not sure about the bolts on the face of the jaws, but for removing hooks they should work extremely well. Check this video for more information
One of the worst things about saltwater fishing is that it tends to eat away and damage whatever it comes into contact with. If you are going to invest, the last thing you want is rust on one of the best saltwater pliers money can buy.
So, what is the answer?
Well, KastKing have constructed these pliers entirely from easy to clean stainless steel. They feel a lot stiffer than some pliers I’ve used, and steel is well known as a harder metal.
These pliers are purpose built with fishing in mind, with a lot of clever little features. With wet hands pliers can become slippery. Fortunately, KastKing have elected to coat the handles of the pliers with durable and grippy rubber.
Does it have extra features?
The pliers aren’t only great for removing hooks. They are good for tying them on too. The jaws feature four holes, perfect for anchoring your hook whilst you apply tension to tighten your knots.
The line cutter is also interesting; they’ve gone against the grain and instead of creating a ‘blade’ further inside the jaws, have made a useful little notch. Pop your line in, squeeze the handle, and it is cut cleanly and quickly.
Clever extra features in the knot tightener and line cutter.
Stiff and strong construction.
Risk of pinching your thumb in the line cutter.
Rubber tends to dry out in salt water.
These pliers offer reliable quality. They are affordable, but slightly more expensive than other pliers that offer similar features. Whilst the rubber handles are a great feature when new, when exposed to sunshine and saltwater I’m not sure how long they will stay looking good.
Fishing is all about problem solving. Whether we are actually fishing or looking at tackle, it’s all about solutions. If we can get several things done in any easy way, then that’s a big plus.
But we will also want value…
Fortunately, SAMSFX have given us all of these things, not just offering pliers, but a few other solutions as part of the package. For the money, you get a really nice pair of pliers, a retractable zinger to keep your equipment close to hand, a sheath and lanyard, and a multipurpose tool.
The pliers are constructed of aluminum, the jaws are made of rock-solid titanium, which can be replaced if they degrade or are damaged (which isn’t very likely). The pliers are spring loaded, and lockable. The lock can be easily engaged and disengaged with the touch of a thumb.
But, what about the other things?
Well, a handy ‘nipper’ gives you the option of sharpening your hooks, clipping loose line, tying knots really easily, or even cleaning gunk out of your hook eyes.
Little extras always sweeten the deal, and you don’t need to worry about losing it, as there is room for it in the belt mounting custom molded sheath. If you would like to see it in action, have a look at this preview.
Lots of value with multiple tools.
I really like the locking mechanism.
Convenience in one package, with lanyard, chord, belt pouch and zinger.
As a very minor point, as everything is constructed from aluminum it might not be quite as stiff as stainless steel.
It’s really nice when you get a bit extra for your money. Everything included with the package does a reliable job. The hook tyer is one thing I didn’t know I needed until I actually used it. If they made this in stainless steel, it would be absolutely flawless.
For some seriously heavy-duty pliers that are built to last, look no further than this titanium bonded option from Cuda.
Super powerful, they’re made from rugged aluminum alloy, and finished with a corrosion-resistant titanium coating for the ultimate in durability.
The non-slip scale pattern grips are a Cuda specialty, and the compound cutters are capable of slicing through mono and braided line.
You’ll also find a wire cutter at the handle junction, and each cutter can be fully replaced as and when necessary.
These pliers are top-of-the-line, but I wouldn’t expect anything less from Cuda.
As tough and durable as they come.
Ballistic nylon sheath and lanyard included.
Very highly rated.
I think this is a gorgeous set of saltwater fishing pliers that should last a lifetime. They look quality, they feel quality, and they have a powerful action and weighty heft – without being too heavy. Top marks to Cuda, because I think I’m going to buy a pair myself!
Yes, I know what you’re going to say, and to be honest I nearly didn’t include these Van Staal pliers purely because of the eye-watering price point.
But this is a review about the best saltwater pliers, and it doesn’t get much better than this.
Made from corrosion-proof 6AL-4V titanium, they’re designed to last a lifetime (and they damn well should for this kinda money)!
Durable without being too heavy, they have a super-powerful grip, with spring-loaded handles that are ready to go. The tungsten cutter is fully replaceable, and will make short work of just about any kind of line.
Beautifully smooth, Van Staal has made an experience as much as they’ve made one of the best saltwater fishing pliers on the market.
Once you’ve managed to catch your breath over the cost, you realize that these fishing pliers from Van Staal might just be the best tool you’ll ever own. See it as an investment, because these guys make some of the finest saltwater fishing gear in the world.
If you are a fisherman who is constantly on the move you will probably want something that is slightly smaller. These pliers might just be what you are looking for. The pliers are basic and constructed from just two parts, no screw mounted jaw plates here. They are spring loaded and lockable too!
A really neat feature is that the jaws have the slightest of bends. Although they aren’t the longest of our line-up, the angle of the jaws still allows you to get to those hard to reach places.
This tool features all of the things you would expect from a pair of saltwater fishing pliers. Line cutting, ring splitting and crimping are all included.
Due to the lack of length you might have to squeeze just a little harder to achieve the desired effect, but a smaller size will always require a little compromise.
Really compact and perform well.
Non slip rubber handles.
Simple and solid construction.
They might be just a little too small for some fishermen.
I found the sheath to be too narrow to easily stow the pliers one handed.
If you are more of a casual fisherman and want something small and handy ‘just in case’ then this set could be ideal. If you are going to be using a pair of pliers constantly it might pay to go a little bigger on the size.
When I first saw these, I thought that somebody had stolen them from a dentist. The pliers are long, thin, and precise. If you are looking for saltwater pliers for fine work these could be a top choice.
What makes them good?
These pliers are designed with smaller fish in mind, and smaller fish have smaller mouths. The pliers have been designed with a slight bend, this, along with the slimmer jaws allows you to reach angles that other pliers can’t get to.
The pliers are especially lightweight. If space saving is something that matters to you then these will easily fit inside a pocket of your pants or a fishing vest.
They also feature a line cutter and a ring splitter.
Are these as good as some heavy-duty fishing pliers?
Whilst these are good, high-quality pliers, I don’t think they are going to win our award for top-rated saltwater fishing pliers. The reason being, you can’t always be sure that you will only catch smaller fish, and they are not quite substantial enough if you do manage to catch something a much bigger.
The thin nose might make them more maneuverable, but sometimes you need a really firm grip and pliers with bigger jaws ensure this.
Thinner jaws make fine work easy.
Low profile and space saving design.
Not as substantial as I normally like.
Only suitable for small to medium sized fish.
If you are only targeting smaller species or prefer to go for precision over strength then these pliers may very well be an ideal choice. For a fisherman on the go they take up very little space, are lightweight and are ideal for traveling.
Instead of filling your pockets with bits, it might be better to have every tool you could possibly need all in one great attachment.
This high-quality multi-tool will perform most tasks with ease. Constructed from rock-solid stainless steel it is built to last a long time. When not in use it utilizes a butterfly technique to fold down to a compact size.
For the money you are getting quite a bit of value, as there are 10 tools built into the pair of handles. Whilst they are not purpose designed for fishing, they will perform pretty much any task.
There are wire cutters at the back of the jaws and for finer work like cutting line or splitting rings, it contains a pair of scissors within the handle.
Due to the size of the handle and the number of tools held within, it isn’t the lightest pair of pliers, but considering the number of things included, I think this is probably a fair trade off that will ultimately save you space.
A tool for every occasion (including a bottle opener).
Thick handles and solid construction.
Integral screwdriver for tightening loose tackle.
A little heavier than I would like.
Removable parts, such as the tweezers, may be easy to lose.
Jaws on the pliers are very thick.
With these pliers you are making a compromise between functionality, weight saving, and space. But that said you’ll be minimizing the need to carry other various bits and pieces.
It will do the job, however, if you want a dedicated pair of fishing pliers another option might be better. When I came to try them, I also wished that the pliers were ever so slightly thinner.
If something has absolutely swallowed your hook then you need pliers to be able to reach right in there to get it out. For that you will need pliers with longer jaw. For this reason, I decided to look at these.
Aren’t they pretty basic?
Indeed, they are. But this is one of the best things about these pliers. They are custom designed and perform their task exceptionally well.
The jaws of the pliers are carbon coated, with the aim of reducing any corrosion or rust in key areas, which could cause them to seize. One really neat feature is that the pliers are spring-loaded, so their resting position is open. For ‘open’ read ‘ready to use’.
The two-tone design is both eye catching and distinctive, so there is no danger of not being able to see them. The handles are perforated, this serves three purposes. First, it reduces weight. Secondly, it allows you to mount them from a chord (or the included steel coated lanyard), and finally, they make an ideal way to pull your hooks to get those knots nice and snug.
A crimping tool is located smack bang in the middle of the pliers so whether you are adding beads, crimps or lead weights, squeezing something small should be easy.
One feature that we felt might be slightly lacking is the ability to cut wire. Although the rear of the jaws features a tungsten lined cutter, it isn’t recommended to cut anything thicker than fishing line.
Good size and long jaws to ensure maximum reach.
Cool looking design.
Affordable with extra features, such as the included lanyard and carry pouch.
Not recommended for cutting wire or thick hooks.
These would have been perfect, had they only had a slightly more heavy-duty line cutter at the back. That said, if you aren’t ever going to be fishing with wire or really thick hooks, go for it.
These pliers are pretty high quality, and they look it too. They should work well in most scenarios.
A Quick Saltwater Fishing Pliers Buying Guide
Is this your first time buying saltwater fishing pliers? Well, my aim is to make sure that you will know what to look for if you want to buy the best fishing pliers of 2023.
There are a few things that it really pays to watch out for. Ideally, you will want to find:
High Quality Saltwater Fishing Pliers
Construction is king. First, look at build quality. With saltwater fishing pliers, you are looking for every part (including the jaws) to be substantial.
Remember they will be subjected to a lot of pressure under your grip.
Anything that bends, flexes or breaks is not going to be up to the task.
High Quality Materials
Look for fishing pliers that are made of aluminum or steel. Whilst aluminum is slightly softer it is great at resisting corrosion.
Most pliers made from aluminum compensate for this slight softness by lining or coating key areas with another harder material, such as tungsten or carbon steel.
Fishing Pliers with a Good Grip
Depending on what you are doing, you may need to give the pliers a really hard squeeze. If your hands are wet or slimy from handling fish then this is going to be difficult if the handles aren’t grippy.
Look for a rubber coating or if you want something more permanent go for knurling or a pattern etched into the handles.
If you can find one tool that does a few things then this is a great feature in my book. If you can use your fishing pliers to cut line then you won’t need to waste time with scissors.
They can also be useful for troublesome hooks. If you have the ability to cut through the hook shank to remove it, you can make your life a whole lot easier.
The Lightest Fishing Pliers
All fishermen are guilty of having too much tackle. The last thing you need to be doing is adding yet more weight.
If you have heavy-duty fishing pliers (and you should), look for features that reduce the weight, such as perforated handles or aluminum construction.
Of course, nobody knows everything. But sometimes, I like to share a little of my experience in order to make it easier.
I’m now going to look at some common questions:
How do you use saltwater fishing pliers?
For unhooking a good grip is vital. You will want two really firm points of contact. The first is between you and the handles of the pliers. The second is between the jaws of the pliers and the hook. If you can achieve that it will be easier to unhook a fish.
But there is more to it…
You do not just pull a hook out. A really effective technique is to pinch the hook by its bend, or towards the eye, and invert it so that the weight of the fish does most of the work.
If the fish is hooked awkwardly move your pliers and hold the fish with your free hand.
How do you unhook deep hooked fish with saltwater pliers?
The technique is similar, however, for really deep hooked fish you may have to perform a little magic. But It can be done.
Check out this video to learn exactly how to remove deep hooks.
How do I clean saltwater fishing pliers?
Whilst stainless steel is pretty hardwearing it does need some care from time to time. Saltwater is very corrosive and left unattended will cause rust and damage to your pliers.
Ok, how do we stop it?
It’s pretty simple actually, always ensure after a hard day of fishing that you rinse your pliers in fresh water, dry them, and give them a light coating of oil. WD40 or mineral oil is my preferred choice.
If you have neglected your pliers, don’t worry about it. Watch this video to see how you can restore them to their former glory.
Aluminum or Stainless Steel saltwater fishing pliers?
The choice is yours. As I have said. Stainless steel is harder and more durable than aluminum, but it is also heavier.
Think what you are looking for. Weight saving, strength or something in between?
Pliers, like most tools are about personal preference. Some features, in our review of the best saltwater fishing pliers of 2023, may be essential to one fisherman, but not to another, so it all depends on how you intend to use them.
If you have any tips on how to unhook fish using pliers, or have used any of our ideas, it would be great to hear from you, so feel free to comment below…