How to Use Fishing Pliers Safely and Efficiently

A pair of pliers is a piece that you should not miss in your tackle box. It comes in handy when flattening and tightening fishing hooks, cutting the angling lines, and joining monofilament and cable. The pliers make the work safe and efficient compared to when it is done manually. Besides, using your hands can hurt the fish resulting in mangled lips. So, inhumane, even if the fish is caught for commercial purposes.  Learning to use one is essential regardless of the angling you do.

Here you will learn the importance of having pliers, how to use them, and features to consider to get the best pliers for angling.

Why do you need a fishing plier?

Why do you need a fishing plier

The fishing pliers make work safe and efficient. Without one, you might have to use various tools that take up storage space in your tackle box, which needs much effort and can take longer. The angling can be used to do the following:

To pull hard to reach hook

Unhooking the hook is the primary reason for getting the pliers. You can safely remove the hook without injuring the fish and yourself using pliers. The hook can then be re-used, and the fish set free to its habitat injury-free.

To cut hooks and lines

A pair of pliers should enable you to cut hooks and wires properly. There is something that resembles scissors at the base that can cut all types of fishing lines. You will need to cut the wire, especially if the fish has swallowed the hook and therefore, cannot be unhooked. 

Sometimes you need to cut the hook if it is hooked up deep inside the mouth, gills, or gut. Removing the hook in such circumstances may touch on fish vitals and tear the flesh. This is done if the fish need to be released back to their habitat, besides the process should be humane. Try to cut off part of the hooks that are reachable and leave the rest in to avoid injuring the fish. 

To flatten the fish hook

There are barbs at the end of the hook that should be flattened when setting up your tackle. The barbs pose a danger to the fish and the angler. In some countries, you risk being fined if caught fishing with a barbed hook. Check that your hook is smooth by running a finger through it.


When there is a need to connect the monofilament line and cable, a pair of pliers should be used. When the jointing is not done well, you could end up losing the fish together with the monofilament and the hooks.

How to use fishing pliers 

How to use fishing pliers 

Now that you know how a pair of pliers is useful while out fishing. Follow the next steps to use the pliers to replace the hook appropriately.

  1. Start by opening the handles of the pliers to leave the jaws open
  2. Press the nose of pliers between the rings to open the split rings
  3. Ensure that the split ring’s pointed ends are aligned such that they are close to the end of the ring
  4. Hold the pliers with a firm grip. Now, slide the old hook around the ring such that it gets out through the split ring open end. Do this while ensuring the split ring is open for the hook to go through.
  5. Put the new hook by reopening the split ring and sliding it through. Keeping the hook in place on the split ring, slide the pliers around the ring while ensuring it stays open until the new hook is inserted. 
  6. Repeat the above steps until the new hook clears the ring and rightfully in place
  7. Detach the pliers form the ring
  8. When you have done the seven steps successfully your rod will be ready for fishing with the replaced hook
  9. In case your hook gets damaged, follow the above steps for easy and quick replacement.

How to Choose the Best Fishing Pliers

You need to buy pliers that are suitable for fishing tackle. Here are a few factors to put into consideration:

  • Materials

The best pliers should be made of either stainless steel or aluminum. However, if you are fishing in salty water, go for aluminum pliers that are less prone to rust. Check that the stainless steel material used is of high quality since there are several options.

  • Nose length

If you are targeting large fish, then the pliers chosen should have a long nose of around 8″. Otherwise, go for 6-7″ for freshwater fishing where small species are found.

  • Split ring tool

The old hooks are replaced using the split ring tools. It can be done without having to throw away the lure. Thus you cannot pick any pliers that do not have this feature.

  • Cutters

Preferably, buy the pliers that have line cutters and side cutters. The pliers will help you to cut everything you need including all types of fishing lines. Line cutters are used to cut all kinds of wires while the side cutters help in trimming the cables, hooks, and any other sturdy materials.

  • Ergonomics 

You need to buy a plier that is lightweight for portability. The handle should provide a firm and comfortable grip. Ensure it cannot slide when holding with wet hands since you will be using it in the waters.

Final Take

Undoubtedly, fishing is a popular outdoor activity across the globe. The pliers have become part of the activities calling for those interested in sport to learn how to use it. Luckily, using the pliers is pretty simple, following the steps highlighted above. You need to buy pliers that meet the recommended features for best performance.

Choose the pliers that are tailor-made for fishing to avoid any disappointments. Of course, it should also perform other tasks at home, like cutting and tightening. Once you get hold of a plier, you will perform fishing activities with safety and efficiency!

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