What’s the most important part of any fishing trip? Well, obviously it’s sitting out on the lake, enjoying some fun in the sun, and catching a few good fish. At least that’s what you think. The truth is that it’s the preparation beforehand — making sure that you have everything you need before you hit the water for the day.

Did you know that there are several different types of fish lip grippers that are available on the market these days? These little tools are extremely handy for a variety of different angling situations, but not all fish lip grippers are created equal. In this article, we will take a look at some of the best fish lip grippers around, explain how they work and help you decide which one is best for you.

Popular Choice

Floating Fish Gripper RAPALA

★★★★★

Rapala Floating Fish Gripper

Top PickMost Popular

The Fish Gripper YAK-GEAR

★★★★★

Yak-Gear The Fish Grip for Fishing

Best Value

Fish Lip Gripper ZACX

★★★★★

ZACX Fish Lip Gripper with steel ring and wrist strap

BEST FISH LIP GRIPPER TOOLS 2022

YAK-GEAR The Fish Grip

OUR TOP PICK

Yak-Gear The Fish Grip for Fishing

General Impression

The original Yak-Gear Fish Grip is an incredibly handy tool that has won over countless professional and amateur anglers, making it a well-worthy winner of the best fish lip gripper of 2021. The American made product removes all difficulties when it comes to dragging in hefty and potentially dangerous fish, with its original balanced design specifically created to remove large fish from the water.

The Fish Grip is the original plier-style fish tool, as it took 16 years and 4 different variations before Yak-Gear was satisfied with the product. Today’s version of the tool is a durable molded plastic, partnered with stainless-steel components for added reinforcement. It is shaped just like a pair of workshop pliers, and functions in a nearly identical way.

As a result, it is super easy for anglers to reach down into the water and pinch the lip of any fish. And if on the off chance an angler drops the tool into the water, it will rapidly float back up towards the surface. Overall, the product is just a great option as a catfish grabber, sportfish gripper, or saltwater accessory that can dramatically increase the number of fish landed.

Specifications

BRAND: Yak-Gear
TYPE: Vise-grip
WEIGHT: 1.7 ounces
LENGTH: 9.8 inches
MATERIAL: Molded Plastic
MECHANISM: Pinching gripping jaw
HANDLE: Countoured handle
FEATURES: Cinchable wrist strap

PROS

  • Seven different color options
  • Firm locking-jaw mechanism
  • Floats on water
  • Curved jaw to fit behind lip of fish
  • Made in the US

CONS

  • Absence of weight scale

ZACX Fish Lip Gripper

BEST VALUE

ZACX Fish Lip Gripper with steel ring and wrist strap

General Impression

ZACX’s fish lip grip is an excellent tool that makes it easy for anglers of all ages to haul fish out of the water.

The design of ZACX’s tool falls in line with many of the other fish grabbers, as it is built with a T-style frame and spring-loaded sheath. To use the product, handlers simply straddle it in the middle of their hand and pull back on the sheath so that the jaws open. Once done, the corrosion-resistant jaws spread apart, allowing handlers to fit them over the lip of a fish before unclenching the sheath.

All in all, the product works really well for most small to medium sized fish. The only potential downside of the tool is its size, as it is fairly small compared to competitors. Nevertheless, it works just as it should, and gives anglers the chance to bring in fish that would otherwise be super difficult.

Specifications

BRAND: ZACX
TYPE: T-style
WEIGHT: 10.5 ounces
LENGTH: 8.5 inches
MATERIAL: Aluminum
MECHANISM: T-style gripping jaw
HANDLE: EVA foam handle
FEATURES: Designed for single handed operation

PROS

  • Adjustable lanyard for greater safety
  • Comfortable foam EVA handle
  • Corrosion-resistant stainless-steel jaws
  • Easy-pull spring sheath

CONS

  • Relatively small compared to competitors

RAPALA 9" Floating Fish Gripper

General Impression

The Rapala 9” fish gripper not only looks like an awesome tool, but also functions like one. It makes removing hefty or dangerous fish from the water a total breeze, and saves more thumbs than imaginable. As a result, it has more than earned itself a top place as a contender for the best fish lip gripper of 2022.

What Rapala does right with the 9” fish grabber tool is creating an excellent design with smooth functionality and reliable performance. The plier-style device is manufactured with high-performance thermoplastic, which can weather the elements while still managing to haul in hefty loads. To top things off, the thermoplastic tool floats in the water, ensuring that it won’t plunge to the depths if dropped overboard.

Specifications

BRAND: Rapala
TYPE: Vise-grip
WEIGHT: 5.1 ounces
LENGTH: 9 inches
MATERIAL: Molded Plastic
MECHANISM: Pinching gripping jaw
HANDLE: Ribbed handle
FEATURES: Auto-locking jaw for guaranteed operation

PROS

  • Cinching wristband for added security
  • Floats in water
  • Great locking mechanism
  • Curved nose to grip behind edge of lip

CONS

  • Not suitable for fish over 30 lbs.

CRAZY SHARK Stainless Steel Fish Lip Grabber

General Impression

The stainless-steel lip gripper from CRAZY SHARK is another quality option that anglers can rely on time and time again when out on the water.

CRAZY SHARK’s lip grip is made from aerospace-grade aluminum, and EVA foam materials to create a T-style gripper that is both durable and comfortable. To further increase the comfort, the company added a swivel head to the claws, so that they could rotate as a fish moves.

Although it is a fish gripper with a scale, the CRAZY SHARK offers questionable weight estimates. The side measuring scale reveals the weight as the fish is lifted, however, according to countless fish gripper reviews, anglers struggle to find accurate estimates.
But for its primary purpose of just lifting fish out of the water, the CRAZY SHARK is an affordable Boga grip alternative.

Specifications

BRAND: CRAZY SHARK
TYPE: T-style
WEIGHT: NA
LENGTH: 10 inches
MATERIAL: Aluminum
MECHANISM: T-style gripping jaw
HANDLE: EVA foam handle
FEATURES: Roatating swivel handle to move with fish

PROS

  • Aerospace-grade aluminum
  • Soft EVA foam handle
  • Swivel handle for increased comfort
  • Skid-proof rubber cover to prevent slippage

CONS

  • Side marked scale is slightly inaccurate

ENTSPORT Fish Lip Gripper

General Impression

Sometimes just a run-of-the-mill, reliable tool is all it takes for an angler to have a great day on the water. Thankfully, the Entsport fish gripper is just the piece to make that happen. 

Entsport is a reliable, and oftentimes overlooked brand that creates some great products for anglers. While many of its pieces are fishing rods, the tools and accessories such as the fish gripper are also a great bet. 

Entsport doesn’t deviate far from the norm with its model, as it is a metallic T-shaped piece with retractable claws and a pressure driven sheath. It super easy to use, contains a 5.4-inch handle, and an etched scale into the side of the metal. Like any other T-style fish gripper scale, it isn’t too precise, but at least it’s accurate enough to offer a rough estimate of a fish’s weight. 

Specifications

BRAND: Entsport
TYPE: T-style
WEIGHT: 8.5 ounces
LENGTH: 9.6 inches
MATERIAL: Stainless-steel
MECHANISM: T-style gripping jaw
HANDLE: EVA foam handle
FEATURES: Simple pressure mechanism for one-handed opening

PROS

  • Extra-wide opening for large fish
  • 40 lb. max weight capacity
  • Cinching handle straps
  • Saltwater-resistant metallic body

CONS

  • Weight scale is inaccurate

BOOMS Fishing G01 Fish Gripper

General Impression

The G01 fish gripper is a reliable tool that is well worthy of being classified as one of the best fish grippers.

Booms Fishing’s premiere fish gripper is crafted from a stainless-steel frame that is both corrosion and saltwater resistant. The ultra-durable piece can vertically lift fish up to 40 lbs. and estimate their weight with a built-in pressure scale. Like most other pressure scales, it’s not that accurate, but it does give an idea of what a fish may weigh.

To increase the comfort and reduce potential slippage, Booms Fishing equipped the G01 with an EVA foam handle that is a cozy 4+ inches in length. The only noticeable flaws with the piece are that it doesn’t float on water or offer accurate weight estimates. However, those same issues plague all T-style grippers, which practically all fish gripper reviews can attest to. Nevertheless, the G01 is still a great fish grabber tool that can be used in all sorts of environments.

Specifications

BRAND: Booms Fishing
TYPE: T-style
WEIGHT: 7.68 ounces
LENGTH: 9.45 inches
MATERIAL: Stainless-steel
MECHANISM: T-style gripping jaw
HANDLE: EVA foam handle
FEATURES: Reinforced steel for 40lb. Capacity

PROS

  • EVA non-slip handle
  • 40 lb. weight limit
  • Adjustable wrist strap for added security
  • Corrosion-resistant stainless steel

CONS

  • Claw handles don’t rotate with fish

BERKLEY Big Game Lip Grip

General Impression

The Big Game series by Berkley is an incredible lineup of rods, lines, and accessories specifically designed to take on sizable freshwater and ocean fish. So as one could expect, the Big Game Lip Grip is yet another excellent addition to that series. 

Durability is the name of the game for the Berkley fish gripper. Every model is crafted in the T-style, with a stainless-steel body and clenching jaws. The strength of the jaws is truly what amazes so many anglers, as once they are closed, they are practically impossible to open by hand. 

However, the quality doesn’t end at just the claws, as each model is equipped with an ultra-comfortable raised handle built with raised edges to resist slippage. All in all, the piece is a really convenient addition to any angler’s accessory set, as it makes lipping medium sized offshore species easier than ever before.

Specifications

BRAND: Berkley
TYPE: T-style
WEIGHT: NA
LENGTH: 12 inches
MATERIAL: Stainless-steel
MECHANISM: T-style gripping jaw
HANDLE: Molded rubber handle
FEATURES: Corrosion-resistant stainless steel for use in saltwater

PROS

  • Bumpy handle for increased stability
  • Cinchable lanyard on end
  • Suitable for freshwater and saltwater use
  • Jaw locks extremely tight

CONS

  • Too large to work on small species

SUNSHINE FISHING Grip Holder

General Impression

Sunshine Fishing gives anglers the chance to bring in absolute beasts with their T-style fish grip holder that can handle 65+ pound fish. 

Sunshine Fishing is a relatively unknown brand that does a great job creating stellar products that fly under the radar. The stainless-steel corrosion-resistant metallic body of the tool is crafted with durability in mind – as the end goal is bringing in massive fish that other competitors simply can’t. 

Where the brand also differentiates its product is in the handle, which consists of a grooved EVA grip to eliminate slippage. But aside from the handle and the capacity, the tool is quite similar to many of our other top products. It certainly doesn’t pop up on every fish lip gripper review like some other competitors, but it is still an incredibly fine product that trophy anglers can rely on. 

Specifications

BRAND: SF Fish
TYPE: T-style
WEIGHT: NA
LENGTH: 13 inches
MATERIAL: Stainless-steel
MECHANISM: T-style gripping jaw
HANDLE: Molded rubber handle
FEATURES: Reinforced steel for 60+ lb. weight capacity

PROS

  • Can easily be operated with one hand
  • Handle rotates 360 degrees
  • Ergonomic handle design
  • Holds up to 66 lbs.

CONS

  • Sinks in water

KASTKING Waterproof Floating Digital Fishing Scale

General Impression

KastKing never shies away from excellence with any of its products. So naturally, it is no surprise that its lip gripper fish scale combo is an outstanding package.

Unlike many of the other popular brands, it is impossible to only purchase KastKing’s fish grabber without also purchasing the scale. Nevertheless, the scale is extremely handy, and way more accurate than the pressure-driven scales on other models.

With that being said, the pliers offered are still wildly impressive, as they consist of a durable thermoplastic frame with ridges for extra support. They float in water, come with a super high-quality lanyard, and lock into place when latched around a fish’s lip. Any quality fish lip gripper review would be foolish to not include KastKing’s pair, as they really are a great option.

Specifications

BRAND: KastKing
TYPE: Vise-grip
WEIGHT: 5.6 ounces
LENGTH: 10.23 inches
MATERIAL: Molded Plastic
MECHANISM: Pinching gripping jaw
HANDLE: Ribbed handle
FEATURES: Includes a digital weight scale for accurate weight estimates

PROS

  • Includes digital scale
  • Durable thermoplastic material
  • Non-slip ridged handle
  • Floats in water
  • High-quality lanyard

CONS

  • Can’t handle as much weight as other competitors

PISCIFUN Fish Lip Gripper with Digital Scale

General Impression

Piscifun steps away from tradition with its innovative new fish lip gripper which utilizes a digital scale built right into the handle of the gripper. 

Although there are plenty of competitors that include scales in their models, there isn’t a single other company that integrates a digital scale. As a result, the piece truly stands out. 

However, the unique feature would be no good if the gripper itself didn’t work properly. Thankfully, that isn’t the case, as the stainless-steel tool easily jerks fish clean out of the water. And more impressively, is the weight capacity, which tops out at a whopping 60 lbs. 

Overall, the product is easy to use, convenient for removing fish from the water, and extremely innovative. With all things considered, Piscifun’s variant is likely the best fish lip gripper with an included scale. 

Specifications

BRAND: Piscifun
TYPE: T-style
WEIGHT: NA
LENGTH: 12.67 inches
MATERIAL: Stainless-steel
MECHANISM: T-style gripping jaw
HANDLE: Molded rubber handle
FEATURES: Digital scale built into gripper for effortless weighing

PROS

  • Built-in digital scale
  • 1.5+ inch claw width
  • 60+ lb. weight capacity
  • Sealed with rubber gaskets to prevent water seepage
  • Handle rotates a full 360 degrees

CONS

  • Difficult to turn on/off

BEST FISH LIP GRIPPER TOOLS
Buyer's Guide

Buoyancy

The last thing an angler wants to do is drop a fish gripper tool overboard while trying to haul in a big fish. Thankfully, many of the products available on the market today are buoyant, and float on the water’s surface.  

While this is certainly becoming more common than it was in the past, it is still key to check the details of all fish grabber tools before simply assuming they are buoyant.

Materials

Two materials mostly dominate the market for fish grabbers – metal and thermoplastic polymers. While metal fishing grippers are most often made in the T-style, thermoplastic polymers (durable plastics) are most often made in the plier style. 

For the most part, both materials are extremely durable, and capable of years of use. Metal is capable of taking more raw damage, however, the components associated with T-style grippers may wear down well before the metal does. And while plastic is nowhere near as strong as metal, plier-style grippers have fewer moving components, and less potential to malfunction. 

Nevertheless, proper use of each style of fish gripper will ensure that they last countless years. 

Design

Most quality fish grippers on the market are made in two distinct styles. 

The first of the two styles is the more traditional T-shaped gripper. The T-style consists of a metallic bar, that is overlaid with a spring-loaded sheath. When the sheath is pulled back by an angler’s fingers, the claw-like mouth on the bottom of the gripper opens. Once the claw is securely in the mouth of the fish, an angler can release the sheath and let the claw safely close down on the lip of the fish. 

The second variant that largely dominates the market is the plier-style gripper, which closely resembles vise grip pliers. This variant is fashioned with two sides of a handle, and a pinch mouth that closes when both sides of the handle are compressed. 

BEST FISH LIP GRIPPER TOOLS
FAQs

What is a fish lip gripper?

As the name would suggest, a fish lip gripper is a tool used to pinch the lip of a fish while removing it from the water. 

Fish grabber tools are extremely handy when a fish possesses sharp teeth, or weighs a great deal of weight. Many anglers in the upper Midwest carry fish grippers to pull species such as muskie, walleye, and pike out of the water, as each species has a mean set of teeth that could easily puncture skin. And for the same reason, many coastline anglers also carry a pair of fishing grippers to help wrestle toothy species. 

However, such tools are also ideal for children and adolescents, who don’t quite have the knowledge or skill to remove fish from the water. Especially when it comes to species such as catfish, which have a relatively flat mouths, and wide backs. At moments such as this, a decent catfish gripper can make unhooking a fish much quicker and easier. 

Do fish lip grippers float?

Many of the best fish grippers on the market now float, as they are built with lightweight and buoyant materials.

However, those which float are most often made in the style of fish gripper pliers. The pliers style is often manufactured with extremely durable, yet lightweight thermoplastics that can drag hefty fish right out of the water. It’s just a bonus that they happen to float, which is of course an intentional feature that the manufacturers added in. 

Metallic grippers on the other hand, usually do not float. The density of metal prevents such models from being able to balance on the surface, and instead plunges the pieces into the depths of the water. However, the saving grace is that most metallic fish grippers include a handle strap, that wraps around an angler’s wrist, and prevents the fish gripper from slipping away into the water. 

How do I use a fish lip gripper?

There are two dominant styles of fish grippers currently on the market, that are favored by both pros and amateurs. 

The first variant, which is the metal T-style gripper, uses a loaded spring mechanism to open and close retractable claws. To use such a tool, an angler needs to place the T-shaped tool in the middle of their hand, with two fingers on each side of the sheath. Then, by pulling with two fingers on each side of the sheath, the retractable claws open. To release the claws on a fish’s mouth, handlers only need to release pressure from the outside of the sheath, and the claws naturally come back together. This method is most effective when a fish is right by the side of a boat and done fighting.

The second variant, which uses a plier-style design, is operated like the common household tool that it is named after. To use such a model, handlers only need to open the clasp of the pliers, by spreading apart the separate handles. Once open, the handles can be fit around the lip of a fish, and closed by compressing both sides together. Like the T-style, it is most effective to reach down into the water to grab a fish when they are done fishing, and ready to be pulled into the boat. After they have been in the boat, an angler can reach for fishing pliers (insert iDiveblue link to pliers article here once posted) to remove the bait entirely. 

What are the different styles of fish lip grippers?

Although there are countless different designs of fish grippers, there are two main variants, and one lesser used variant. 

The first of the main variants is the T-style gripper, which is most often made from a metal piece with polymer components. To use such a gripper, anglers must straddle the piece in the palm of their hand, and pull back on a spring-loaded sheath, which will then open the claws on the bottom of the contraption. Once open, they can be used to grip a fish’s lip, and can easily be closed by simply removing pressure from the sheath. 

A more recent, yet possibly more likable variant, consists of a plier-like design that works in the same manner that vise grips do. All models created in such a fashion resemble the everyday tool, with two handles and a pinching mouth. To use them, anglers only need to spread the handles apart, then clasp them together. 

The final option, which is likely the least popular on the market, is the pistol-grip styled lip gripper. As the name obviously suggests, models created in such a fashion look extremely similar to a pistol, and even operate in the same manner. A pair of claws is connected to the end of the barrel, and can be opened by applying pressure to a trigger-type sheath mechanism. While pistol-style grippers certainly do work, they are slightly less popular due to the fact they are not quite as comfortable on the wrist as the other options. 

Why do I need a fish lip gripper?

While most panfish and bass anglers balk at the idea of a fish mouth grabber, most Midwest fisherman know all too well just how important they are.  

The best fish grippers available can be extremely helpful to anglers dealing with massive, or sharp-toothed fish. Most of the large species residing in the upper Midwest require fish grippers, as they have spike-like teeth that can easily shred flesh. While this primarily applies to species like walleye, pike, and muskie, it can also cover other smaller and lesser known species. 

Additionally, having a tool that clasps around the lip of a fish makes removing them from the water so much easier than simply grabbing them with bare hands. With such a tool, anglers can easily hoist massive fish out of the water that would otherwise have to be netted. And while a net is practical for keeping fish from escaping, it certainly isn’t practical for removing them from the water. 

What is the best fish lip gripper?

The best fish lip gripper of 2022 is currently the Fish Grip, from Yak-Gear. 

The Fish Grip was an original invention by Yak-Gear that took 16 years, and 4 complete prototypes to make. After a decade and a half of testing, the group eventually settled on the final design.

It didn’t take anglers long to realize just how great the Fish Grip was, as it helped sportsmen from across the nation land bigger and badder fish than ever before. Luckily, the design is still just as quality as it was on release day, and as a bonus, it is still made in the USA. When it comes to performance, there just isn’t quite anything that can match the Fish Grip. 

Reach Out

As always, we create our content with you, fellow adventurers, in mind. So, how’d we do? Did you find this informative? Did it help you make a decision? Did we miss anything? We’d love to hear from you below. Thanks for reading and we hope your next adventure is a great one!

David Stefanoski

David Stefanoski is an avid outdoorsman who loves to explore the deepest, most exciting crevices of nature and then write about them. From the maximum depth that a scuba suit can go, to the maximum heights that his legs will take him, David enjoys the outdoors in its warmest, sunniest days on the prairie, to the iciest, dampest little spots in Eastern Europe. After 15 years of trudging, his favorite outdoorsman activity is still chopping wood due to his large body size. He says it's like splitting toothpicks!

Leave a Reply