While the cologne of fish slime and a case of bass thumb are certainly time-honored signs of angling prowess, there’s a better way to handle certain species than by hand alone. While obviously not appropriate for a six-inch brook trout or panfish, using a lip gripper is the most secure way to bring in more cantankerous fish quickly and safely under control. In saltwater, where toothsome critters are the norm, a simple lip gripper puts distance between your fingers and the snapping jaws of common brawlers like bluefish, mackerel, and barracuda. Here are a few options to consider.
Do No Damage
Perfect for catch-and-release trips, this product won’t hurt the animal. Rapala
You needn’t spend a fortune to enjoy the core benefit of even the most expensive fish gripper, which can run well over a hundred dollars. A plastic version will hold fish just fine. Attached to a lanyard, they are a great lightweight tool that makes handling fish from unstable positions, such as a kayak, much easier.
Weigh Your Catch
With a capacity for up to 60 pounds, this product can handle a wide variety of species. Piscifun
If you want to bump up the functionality, or if weighing fish is important to your style of angling, look for a steel gripper with an integrated digital scale. Bring the fish under control, weigh it, and get it back in the water (or into a cooler) in the same motion.
Don’t Lose It!
The sturdy wrist strap ensures you won’t drop this product into the water. Zacx
Looking for ultimate value? A combo kit sold with both a gripper and pliers puts two essential angling tools right in the palm of your hand. Just make sure each is sold with a lanyard or wrist loop to avoid fumbling it overboard when the action gets hectic.