After trying to grab several large fish by their lips – and several bloody thumbs – I finally got around to buying a fish gripper. Man, are these things handy!
Way back in the day, before the invention of fish grippers, anglers were forced to use their bare hands or a pair of pliers to hold a fish while removing the hook. That resulted in plenty of dropped fish – as well as the occasional treble hook buried in someone’s unlucky thumb. The invention of some of the best fish grips changed that forever.
The locking mechanism on fish grips allows you to securely clamp onto the bottom lip of any fish while keeping a safe distance from sharp teeth, hooks, and spiny fins. This not only keeps your fingers safe, but it’s also less likely to harm the fish.
The other major advantage of using the best fish grip is less fish lost due to wriggling or thrashing. The locking mechanism works exactly like a pair of vice-grip pliers. No matter how much the fish thrashes around, it’s not getting free from the clamp. When you want to release the fish, you simply depress the handle lever. This causes the locking mechanism to disengage and the fish to swim free.
Having the best fish grips is particularly useful for kayak fishing, as they are easy to use one-handed and compact enough to stow almost anywhere.
Quick Answer: 6 Best Fish Lip Grippers
- Best Overall: Eastaboga Tackle BogaGrip
- Best Floating Plastic Gripper: Yak Gear Fish Grip
- Best Electric Scale Fish Gripper: Piscifun Fish Lip Gripper with Digital Scale
- Budget Pick: Entsport Fish Lip Gripper
- Best Pistol Grips: SAN LIKE Pistol-Style Fish Lip Grip
- Best Big Game Fish Gripper: Berkley Big Game Lip Grip
Types of Fish Grippers
Fish grips are not the first tool that a newbie angler will think about getting. When you think about fishing, you typically think about the fishing rod and line rather than the fish grips. These are tools that you learn about once you get into the craft.
But once you try using a fish grip, you will never want to go back. They are incredibly convenient and make capturing the fish safer. They puncture right through the fish’s lip and allow you to move them into storage quickly.
Before we talk about the best fish grips you can find on the market, let’s explore some of the different types of fish grippers. This will help you decide which kind of grip best fits your needs. With that being said, let’s get right into the list:
T-style Fish Gripper
One of the best fish grips is the T-style grip. T-style grips are the original style of fish grips. First used in the BogaGrip, they are now found in grips made by many other manufacturers. Mostly made from aluminum and stainless steel, they are the most heavy-duty grip available, which makes them useful for handling large, heavy fish. Many T-style grips come with a built-in scale – either digital or mechanical – which allows you to weigh the fish on the fly.
Floating Plastic Gripper
Floating plastic fish grips are a great low-cost choice, and are especially popular with kayak and fly fishermen. Their plastic construction makes them super-lightweight, and of course, they float on the water’s surface should you happen to drop them. While not as heavy-duty as T-style grips, many larger grips are rated for fish up to 50 lbs. As long as you’ve got the muscle, the best fish grip can handle it!
Ergonomic and comfortable, pistol grip style fish grippers are easy to use and won’t fatigue your hand. These grips are shaped similarly to a pistol, with a trigger to release the locking mechanism. They aren’t as heavy-duty as T-style grips, but many anglers like their easy-to-use shape and trigger mechanism.
Best Overall: Eastaboga Tackle BogaGrip
The original and still the king, BogaGrips were the first and best fish grips ever developed. Designed back in 1993 by machinist and fisherman Charles Champ, these grips are often imitated but never duplicated. While they cost considerably more than some of the best fish grips currently on the market, they are built like a tank and worth every penny.
Constructed in the USA out of solid stainless steel and acetal thermoplastic, BogaGrips are built to thrive in the saltwater environment. Many users report their grips working perfectly 10+ years after purchase. Unlike cheaper models, these grips won’t need to be replaced every few years due to parts failing or rusting.
The built-in scale is one of the most accurate and reliable scales on the market. It’s so accurate it regularly wins first-place awards for fishing scales by the IGFA (International Game Fish Association). You can even send your BogaGrip to the IGFA where they will certify it for world-record catches.
Another outstanding feature is BogaGrip’s 360-degree rotating head. This allows a thrashing fish to rotate while the grip is locked onto its lip. The fish won’t torque your hand or injure itself, and the grip stays safely locked into place.
- Superior stainless steel and UV-resistant thermoplastic construction
- Can withstand heavy saltwater usage
- Reliable scales are accurate to within ¼ – ½ Lbs.
- Mechanically superior locking mechanism keeps fish in place
- Available in 3 sizes: 15 Lbs. scale, 30 Lbs. scale, and 60 Lbs. scale
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Best Floating Plastic Fish Gripper: Yak Gear Fish Grip
These well-made plastic and stainless steel grips are a great lightweight option and work especially well for kayak and wade fishing. Costing less than 15$ and weighing just 5 ounces, getting one of these to throw in your boat or tackle box is a no brainer!
Available in glow-in-the-dark and high-viz colors, these are the best fish grips for night fishing, plus they float if dropped in the water. They also come with a wrist lanyard which is very handy for one-handed operation. The plastic construction ensures you won’t harm the fish’s lip, unlike some cheaper metal grips which can puncture the lip.
There’s no built-in scale, but a weight scale slot is included, which allows you to attach a scale and deduct 5 ounces. The weight capacity is rated to 50 Lbs, so unless you catch a leviathan you should be good!
- Available in high-viz and glow in the dark colors
- Grips float in case you drop them
- Lightweight and inexpensive
- One-handed operation works great for kayak and wade fishing
Best Electric Scale Fish Gripper: Piscifun Fish Lip Gripper with Digital Scale
Accurate and easy to use, if you’re looking for the convenience of an electric scale with the durability of metal fish grips, these Piscifun grips are the best fish grips for you. The grips are 100% waterproof, work in both salt and freshwater, and every scale has been tested with a 5-minute immersion test. They’re also great for night fishing, as the screen has a powerful back-lit LCD.
A 360° swiveling handle allows you to easily rotate the display for a better viewing angle. It also ensures that a spinning fish won’t damage the grips or injure itself. There is also a memory mode, which allows you to save up to 10 weight readings for later. Very convenient for tournament anglers!
- Large easy to read back-lit LCD screen
- Works great for night fishing
- Waterproof and tested for 5-minute immersion
- Handle swivels 360°
- Can save up to 10 weight readings for later
Budget Pick: Entsport Fish Lip Gripper
At less than 15$, the Ensport is one of the best budget fish grips. Its design is similar to the BogaGrip (some people might call it a knock-off) but it works well and the price is right. Made from corrosion-resistant stainless steel, this is the best fish grip for saltwater usage, but be sure to rinse it off with fresh water before putting it away.
A mechanical style scale is engraved into the stainless steel, but it’s a little hard to read, and won’t be as accurate as more expensive models. If you’re buying a grip to use as a scale, I would look elsewhere.
The gripper’s weight capacity is 15 KG (33 Lbs), so it’s suitable for pretty much any type of fishing. The handle is made of comfortable non-slip EVA foam, and there is a nylon wrist strap to keep it securely on your wrist.
- The best budget fish grip
- The best fish grip for all kinds of fishing
- A scale is included, but it’s a little hard to read
- Similar design to the top-rated BogaGrips
Best Pistol Grips: SAN LIKE Pistol-Style Fish Lip Grip
SanLike might not be the best-known company out there, but they produce a variety of excellent fishing gear suitable for everyone’s needs. They have many fishing rods and reels, some lines, lures, dip nets, and other accessories that come in handy when fishing. All of their products are listed at affordable prices but are still great quality, which is why many people choose them instead of more expensive products.
When it comes to the best fish grips with a pistol-style handle, you cannot go wrong with SanLike’s fish lip grip. This grip is made entirely from stainless steel, which is a durable material with rust and corrosion resistance. You can use it in freshwater or saltwater without fearing damage, no matter how long you need to keep it in there.
Another great feature of this fish lip grip is the built-in scale that allows you to measure the fish you catch. Unlike the scales on other lip grips, this one is nicely written and easy to decipher, even in poor lighting. The scale can measure fish that weigh up to 40 pounds, which makes it perfectly usable on smaller and larger fish.
Considering the pistol style, you can put your fingers in the designated opening and have a good grip when trying to capture your fish’s lip. The style makes this lip grip extra easy to use, whereas the clamp is exceptionally tight and robust to ensure the fish does not escape. The clamp also has a multi-point structure that ensures the fish will have nowhere to go after you capture it.
Overall, this is undoubtedly one of the best fish grips you can find on the market. You can read more about the pistol grips above to compare them with similar grips, but we recommend that you give this style grip a chance – you will not be disappointed!
- Stainless steel durable fish gripper that is rust and corrosion-resistant.
- Built-in scale for easy measuring of the fish you catch.
- Comfortable grabber with pistol-style handle.
- Suitable for freshwater and saltwater use.
- The best fish grip for fish weighing up to 40 pounds.
- Modern packaging makes this the best fish grip to give as a present.
Best Big Game Fish Gripper: Berkley Big Game Lip Grip
Burly and substantial, these are the best fish grips for one purpose – and one purpose only: handling large fish. They don’t have an included scale, measuring tape, or any other frills. That’s ok though, that’s not what they’re meant for.
The stainless steel construction is rock solid, and the studded rubber non-slip grip may be the best available on the market. Built to withstand saltwater and freshwater, this is the best fish grip for years of heavy use. There is no weight limit listed, but it’s safe to say these grips can handle any fish you’re likely to encounter.
At less than half the price of a BogaGrip, it’s also an excellent deal. The only drawback this grip has is the head doesn’t rotate, but that’s fairly minor.
- Heavy-duty construction will last for years
- The best fish grip for handling large fish
- Studded rubber grip handle is excellent
- Good value
Using Fish Grips
Using the best fish grips is a great idea for any angler who regularly practices catch-and-release fishing. The best fish grips allow you to quickly and safely secure a fish while you remove the hook, weigh it, and maybe snap a quick photo. Not only will they keep your hands from getting cut up, but they also protect the fish’s vital slime coat.
If you regularly catch-and-release fish, then also consider a pair of fishing pliers. These will make removing a deeply buried hook a breeze, as well as assist you with cutting line, opening split rings and crimping barbs.
When snapping a photo of your fish with fish grips you can hold it vertically or horizontally with your spare hand supporting its belly and tail. Check out my detailed guide on how to hold and handle bass for more useful tips.