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Whether you’re chasing world records, personal bests, or just an accurate understanding of how much the fish you’re catching truly weigh, an accurate and durable fish scale is a necessary addition to your fishing bag.
The “De-Liars” of the past gave anglers a very general idea of the weight of their fish but were hardly reliable for accuracy. Today, however, there are a wealth of options, whether you need something simple for yourself, something to ensure that you weigh in your best tournament bag, or a gift for a friend whose frequent “10-pound bass” require independent verification. Here are some of the best fish scales for a variety of uses.
- Best Overall: Brecknell ElectroSamson Scale
- Best for Bass Tournament Anglers: Bubba Pro Series
- Best Spring Scale: Chatillon IN Series Fish and Game Linear Scales
- Best for Toothy Critters: Boga Grip
- Best Budget: TH Marine Digital Scale
- Best for Big Fish: Accu Cull 110 lb. with Fish Grip
How We Chose the Best Fish Scales
The two worst things a scale can do is give you the wrong weight and break when you need it most. That’s why I tested these scales for their accuracy, durability, and waterproofness. I also selected scales with a long track record of reliability and accuracy.
Best Fish Scales: Reviews & Recommendations
Best Overall: Brecknell ElectroSamson Scale
- 22 and 55-pound models
- Padded carrying pouch
- LCD screen
- Powered by 9-volt battery
- Can be calibrated to NIST standards
- Extremely accurate and consistent
- Long battery life
- Screen is easy to read in all levels of sunlight
- Not good for truly monstrous fish
I’ve been toting a Brecknell scale around the globe for nearly a decade, and except for replacing the battery preemptively, it has required no maintenance. It continues to read true—even after countless rough boat rides and baggage handlers. Some reviewers claim that it doesn’t handle water well, but mine has survived countless dousings and the occasional rainstorm with no ill effects. I like the auto-off feature for preserving battery life. It packs neatly and assembles securely in a matter of seconds. The 55-pound version comes with a fish gripper instead of the J-hook. If you get the lighter model, I strongly recommend adding one so that you don’t rip up a fish’s mouth or end up with him flopping off the hook. It’s also worth noting that MLF uses Brecknell Scales in their tournaments, where ounces can mean thousands of dollars.
Best for Bass Tournament Anglers: Bubba Pro Series
- Measures fish up to 60 pounds
- Accuracy of +/- 0.3%
- IPX7 waterproof
- 1 rechargeable lithium-polymer battery
- Stores up to 8 fish and total catch weight
- Heavy duty clamp
- Programmable for a variety of tournament needs
- Smart culling feature
- Back lighted display great for low-light conditions
- Heavy-duty clamp holds fish firmly
- Information-rich screen can be complicated for anglers who just want the weight of a single fish
Tournament anglers need to know the individual and cumulative weights of the fish in their livewells to ensure quick and accurate culling decisions. After all, the inadvertent loss of even a single ounce can result in missing out on a win, and the dollars that come with it. This scale is precisely made for bass anglers’ needs—sure, it will weigh other fish, but it’s a mini-computer that helps you quickly get rid of your smallest fish and get back to casting. It’s also the official scale of MLF tournaments.
Bubba has a cheaper version of this scale that’s ideal for anglers just looking to weight their fish.
Best Spring Scale: Chatillon IN Series Fish and Game Linear Scales
- Brass construction
- Numerous versions from 2-pound maximum to 100-pound maximum
- Readings of pounds/ounces as well as metric
- Embossed graduations
- Good for record-seekers
- Long-term accuracy
- Can be certified for world records
- J hook fish holder not necessarily secure.
Unlike an electronic scale, which may unexpectedly get out of whack, a spring scale retains its reliability even after long periods of time and abuse. They may be simple, but they’re near bulletproof, and this is one of the best fish scales that can be certified by the IGFA for record-seeking purposes. Whether you’re chasing tiny fish that require small gradations or much bigger specimens, one of the 11 different sizes will cover your needs. I’ve also seen billfish captains and mates in Latin America use these scales to test the drags on their reels to ensure maximum hookups and landings. They stand up to saltwater exceptionally well and feature the best of the best components.
Best for Toothy Critters: Boga Grip
- 15, 30, and 60-pound capacity
- Weighs in increments of 4 or 8 ounces
- Comfortable foam grip and lanyard
- Exceptionally rugged
- Gets a firm grip on thrashing fish and won’t let go
- Can be sent to IGFA for certification
- Anglers who like extreme accuracy may prefer digital weights
My Boga works fine on local “basic” species like bass when I just want an accurate weight, but it has really shined on trips to the Amazon and for saltwater species, where their strength portends possible danger or injury. On one payara trip in Brazil, our guide had a cut-rate version, and when a 10-pounder thrashed, the claws that hold the fish bent out, leaving a flopping prehistoric creature at the bottom of the boat. We had no such problems with the Boga, even with fish weighing almost three times that much. The simple one-hand operation remains functional even after bouncing through rapids or getting jostled in my luggage, and with no maintenance at all. I’m not a record hunter, but if I were, I’d have mine certified.
Best Budget Scale: T-H Marine Digital Scale
- Weighs up to 55 pounds
- Built-in measuring tape
- Magnet keeps hook in place
- Runs on two AAA batteries (included)
- Inexpensive price point
- Measures in both metric and pounds/ounces
- Don’t need to buy a separate measuring tape.
- Few electronic features make it less functional for tournament culling
T-H Marine has virtually cornered the market on freshwater boating accessories, but that often hides their attention to other products that make life better for recreational and tournament anglers. This is one of them, a scale that handles up to 55 pounds of weight and measures temperature. Moreover, it has a built-in measuring tape, so if you want to get your trophy catch’s dimensions for a replica mount, you don’t have to search separately for a way to figure out length and girth. The screen is easy to read, but the J hook may have trouble holding onto flopping fish without injuring them.
Best for Big Fish: Accu Cull 110lb with Fish Grip
- Weighs fish up to 110 pounds
- Backlit LCD display
- Runs on two AAA batteries
- Low battery display
- Handles big fish securely
- Water-resistant for harsh conditions
- Weighs huge fish in increments of 1/100 of a pound
- Base version does not have a fish holding clip
Many quality scales weigh fish up to 15 or 30 pounds, but beyond that it’s tough to find one that’s durable, accurate, and built through and through to handle giant catches. This one, especially if you buy the version with the full-sized fish grip, is up to the task. It’s rugged, with a handle that allows for two-handed lifting, and auto-locks the weight with an audible beep after one and a half seconds. It also has other features, like automatic shut-off and an outside temperature reading, but its most essential purpose is getting a true weight on big fish and then getting them back into the water. When weighing large fish, don’t hold them by their jaws, which can damage them. Instead, I recommend a fish cradle or your net for weighing fish like musky.
Things to Consider Before Buying One of the Best Fishing Scales
Purpose of Weighing the Fish
Different anglers have different needs when purchasing a scale. For some of us, it’s just verifying that we didn’t “big eye” our catch and then inadvertently lie to our friends. For others, it’s ensuring that they get rid of their smallest fish on tournament day to present the largest possible limit to the weighmaster. Still, others need a tool that can be used to back up a state or world record application. Find the one that’s best for you.
Size of the Fish
Different scales have different maximum weights and different increments in which they measure them. You don’t need to go overboard, but still make sure that you exceed your maximum possible catch so that you don’t “bottom out” the scale and return with an unverifiable fish story. If you need precision, hundreds of a pound or kilogram are better than 4- or 8-ounce increments.
Repeatedly test your scale for accuracy, measuring a series of known items, like exercise weights or kitchen items. You might look funny using it in the meat department of the grocery store, but this is serious business. If it’s not accurate, return or replace it.
Anything with electronics may react negatively to being jarred. If you’re going to take bumpy boat rides or pack the scale in your luggage, buy one that’s bulletproof, and if necessary, replace any simple included case with something padded. In the heat of the moment it’s easy to mistreat it, but an ounce of prevention will keep a quality scale going for a long time.
Final Thoughts on the Best Fish Scales
The best fish scales provide accurate weights and will last through years of hard use. Choose the scale that best fits your needs and buy the best one you can afford.