Freshwater Fishing Tips

Essential Fishing Tools for Your Tackle Box

Fisherman using Squall Torque Series Stainless Steel Pliers to rig a fishing lure

Gearing up for fishing usually involves selecting the best rods, reels and tackle for the job. However, some of the most important equipment is all too often ignored. Fishing tools play a critical role when it comes to maximizing fun and minimizing headaches. Fishing pliers, fillet knives and other tools are essential for every tackle bag.

At the same time, routine gear maintenance should include inspecting, cleaning and lubricating (as necessary) your fishing tools. Metal rusts, grime accumulates and things break. Replace worn tools and weigh the advantages of upgrading to more versatile versions or adding something new to improve your experience. Tools are among the least expensive and—with modern materials and finishes—some of the longest lasting fishing equipment available today.

Fisherman storing fishing pliers in Calcutta Outdoors tackle bag

Fishing pliers, fillet knives and other tools are must-haves for your tackle bag.

Here are some must-have fishing tools to consider as you take inventory of your gear. Many of these tools perform multiple functions, while others specialize in making tedious chores a breeze.

Fishing Pliers

Fishing can be a wet endeavor, particularly when the bite is on. The primary function of fishing pliers is grasping and hanging onto something—even when wet. It may be tempting to bring along your set of heavyweight workbench pliers, but you lose the performance and versatility of modern models designed specifically for anglers. They do a better job, are tailored for using on the water and perform a variety of duties with enviable dexterity.

Good fishing pliers are a long-term investment that pays huge dividends. Make sure they are constructed from quality materials and wear a corrosion-resistant finish. Comfortable, non-slip grips are critical. If heavy-torque tasks are part of the routine, choose a handle length that provides sufficient leverage for the job. Today’s versions also perform a number of other duties, including cutting and splitting.

Calcutta offers a variety of models ideally suited to angling chores. The Squall Torque Series Aluminum Pliers Straight Jaw, for example, features forged-aluminum construction, a textured and comfortable handle for a solid grip in the worst conditions and a side cutter. It comes with a sheath for fast and convenient access, and a lanyard to ensure it doesn’t go overboard or home with someone else. At 7.5 inches, the Squall Torque Plier is lightweight, but long enough to ease difficult tasks.

The Squall Torque Series Stainless Steel Pliers with Side Cutter sports ultra-comfortable golf-inspired handles that increase your gripping power when wet. Forged stainless-steel construction ensures longevity and reliability, while the side cutters easily slice mono, fluorocarbon and braided line.

Fisherman using Squall Torque Series Stainless Steel Pliers to rig a fishing lure

The multi-purpose Squall Torque Series Pliers with Side Cutter makes quick work of most fishing tasks. 

Fillet Knives

A fillet knife is almost as mandatory as a fishing rod. Unfortunately, it doesn’t get the same attention, until it’s called into duty. That’s when anglers often discover a dull, rusted or broken blade.

Rather than buying new each season—or resharpening to a toothpick profile—minimize the headache by making a purchase that’s a solid investment. Go with a stainless-steel blade and a sure-grip handle that remains comfortable during extended use. Bonus points for a corrosion-resistant finish.

The Sea Striker Fillet Knife is a good example of a premier model that will get the job done for years. It’s available in 7- or 9-inch versions and comes with a Cordura sheath for storage. The ceramic-coated G4116 stainless blades make quick work of a daily limit and the progressive taper provides strength and flexibility. Its comfortable, textured handle ensures a solid grip, even when that end-of-the-day chore approaches the finish line.

Fillet knives help prepare Spanish mackerel and other fish

The Sea Striker Fillet Knife’s ceramic-coated G4116 stainless blade makes quick work of the catch.


Multi-tools are a wise investment for any fisherman, and the versatility of today’s models is undeniable. They can be lightweight, durable and include screwdrivers, saws, lights, wrenches and more. Multi-tools can provide sufficient leverage to get seemingly impossible repairs done on the water.

Again, quality construction is key. The entire concept centers around space savings, so ensure any model you select stores compactly and doesn’t weigh enough to be a burden. Frames with anodized aluminum are lightweight, provide years of service and minimize maintenance.

Pursuit Specific Tools

Every angling pursuit is slightly different and the tools for one aren’t necessarily ideal for another. Depending on the destination, consider adding a fish billy club to tame those lunging saltwater brutes once aboard. A stringer can help you bring home a freshwater dinner, while a crimper can enable you to make or repair a fishing rig in a pinch. Hook removers and scissors also come in handy. A handheld weight scale and a fish ruler can help you adhere to local regulations with minimal fuss. Take a moment and think about the fishing tools you wish you had on your last fishing trip.

Fishing should always be fun and headache-free. With some thought and preparation, you can stock your tackle bag with fishing tools that will make a huge difference—for years to come, without killing the budget.


More Resources

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Fishing Boat Checklist: 11 Steps to Prepare for Fishing Season

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7 Tips to Prep Your Fishing Gear for the Spring Season

How to Spool a Fishing Reel

Performance Sunglasses: Your Best Defense Against the Sun

Best Fishing Tackle Storage Systems


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