How To Use Fishing Pliers – The Safe Way

Fishing pliers are one of the most underrated fishing accessories. No one pays too much attention to it unless it’s needed. But if you ask any seasoned angler, he’ll swear by his fishing pliers. Seasoned fishermen consider them as one of the most indispensable fishing accessories. 

A fishing plier is a multi-tool. Apart from helping you pull out hooks from the fish easily, they have a host of other uses. Many of them are modified to improve the efficiency of many basic tasks in fishing. All these features make fishing pliers one of the most indispensable fishing tools.

Let’s take a look at some of their uses-

use of fishing pliers

Don't let your fishing adventure become a nightmare: Safe handling of pliers.

Turn a normal hook into a barbless one

If local rules dictate that you go barbless, easily flatten or crimp your normal barbed fishhook. Use the flat part of the fishing plier to flatten the barb. For many avid anglers, this feature is very important. No need to carry a separate set of barbless hooks.


A fish plier will come in handy to quickly crimp wire leads and sleeves. It can be used to create a tight joint between two fishing lines. This will ensure that you don’t lose any catch due to weak crimped joints.

Changing and tightening fish hooks

With proper practice, you’ll become a pro at swapping and tightening fish hooks with a fish plier. With the right plier, you can quickly open split rings, remove old hooks, and slide on new ones in a jiffy. It is the ultimate fishing companion!

Cutting fish lines and hooks

If your fishing plier comes with a well-edged cutter, they’ll make excellent tools for cutting fishing line. Select one that can cut different kinds of fishing lines. Sometimes, it becomes necessary to cut the fish hook. Some pliers have features for that also! They are sturdy and can cut the hard fishing hook easily.

Remove fish hooks safely

Once you’ve hooked a fish, you need to get the hook out ASAP with minimal damage to the fish. This is because-

  • For obvious humane reasons.
  • For catch and release (pulling the hook out as gently as possible to ensure the fish has a higher chance to survive).
  • To save your hooks, and
  • You don’t get hooked by the hook!

How to use fishing pliers - the safe way

How to use fishing pliers

Catch and release made easy: The safe way to use fishing pliers.

Accidents can happen while fishing. You must have seen videos of angler painfully snared by their hooks. You can use the fishing pliers in this scenario too! Disinfect the wound well, apply a bandage, and continue fishing if up to it. Using fishing gloves will minimize many fish hook accidents.

It is important to remove the hook safely as soon as you’ve landed the fish. For this, you need to learn how to work fast with your fishing pliers. Get familiar with your pliers and watch some YouTube videos to build speed. Over time, you’ll get better with some experience.

Here are some steps to follow to safely catch and release-

  • Closely monitor the fish line while fishing. If you are alert, you drastically minimize the chances of the fish swallowing fish hook deeply.
  • Avoid playing with the fish till it gets exhausted. Land it as quickly as possible. A tired fish has fewer chances of survival. Use a landing net to land the fish quickly with minimum stress.
  • Check if it’s safe to remove the hook. Sometimes, if the hook is buried deep inside, it will do more harm than good if removed. In such cases, you need to use a set of pliers to cut off a significant portion of the hook before releasing the fish back.
  • Grab the hook with a pair of pliers while the fish is still in the water. Twist your wrist to unhook. Don’t pull! If you do, you’ll pull out a chunk of its meat along with the hook!
  • If unable to keep the fish in water, hold it upside down to prevent it from struggling.
  • Use needle-nosed pliers, hemostats, and other hook removers for quick and efficient hook removal.
  • Let the fish recover before it is released. Hold the fish underwater in your landing net and release it once you see that it is ventilating properly.

Some parting thoughts

Fishing pliers bring two things for the fisherman- safety and efficiency. The above section has dwelt into the various uses this underrated tool has.

There are various models available in online stores. Don’t hesitate to spend some extra money on a premium model with many features. If well looked after, they will last decades.

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