Gerber is on a tear with their newest lineup of fishing specific tools. Next up on my radar is the Gerber Magniplier fishing pliers. Pliers fit into the category of tools that if you leave it at home or drop it in the water, your fishing day gets tougher and the risk of hooking yourself goes way up. On the other hand, having the wrong pliers can be downright frustrating, too.
With tons of options available, should you pull the trigger on the Magnipliers?
You might wonder why in the world you need replaceable jaws on a pair of pliers. If you manage to hang on to them long enough, constantly grabbing metal hooks will eventually start to wear them down. By removing a couple of external screws on either side, you can swap them out in a very short amount of time.
When you close the jaws, you’ll notice that they don’t quite touch. That’s intentional on Gerber’s part to ensure that the cutters fully close. You can give a little tighter squeeze and get the jaw tips to touch, but I find I’m able to grip any of my hooks without the need to give that extra nudge. Keep in mind that I’m primarily targeting largemouth bass, redfish, snook, and spotted trout, so I don’t need to worry about some of the tiny flies you guys out West use.
Reversible, replaceable carbide cutters are a staple of several multi-tools and adding them to fishing pliers makes good sense. They’re not great at cutting braided line, but they do just fine on monofilament. While I rarely fish with a wire leader in salt water, there’s a measure of comfort knowing that they can handle some wire clipping.
As soon as you pick up the Gerber Magniplier, your finger will settle into the choil. This isn’t a feature I have on any of my other fishing pliers (or standard tool pliers for that matter) and it really helps secure the grip since the handle aren’t dipped. While it feels a bit different, I like it.
Spring-loaded pliers are a big advantage and adding a plunge lock helps for storage when the pliers aren’t in use. The Gerber Magniplier features a plunge lock that’s easy to open and close with your thumb and one hand. With a pin detent to keep it from sliding back on you, the lock itself is lightweight with a somewhat loose fit and I have some long-term concerns for its durability.
Tether and Sheath
I primarily fish from a kayak and that means if I want to keep my gear, it better be tethered. I took the tether off of the sheath, slipped the eye ring on the Magnipliers, and left the D-ring free to hang. Since I spend most of my time sitting, I prefer not to carry the sheath on my belt. The pliers sit in a side storage space and I clip the D-ring directly to a belt loop when I’m on the ‘yak.
When you’re fishing from a boat, the sheath is definitely the way to go. My only complaint about it is that I’d prefer to have a snap loop rather than a belt loop. While that does introduce metal hardware that will be at risk of rusting, many of my bags have MOLLE style straps that I like to use.
For the standard functions of dehooking fish (and the occasional pair of shorts or life jacket), Gerber Magnipliers work very well. The ergonomics are very natural and the design offers plenty of grip force.
There are some limitations, though. The offset head gives you a pretty decent look at what you’re doing. My go-to pliers have a steeper angle that makes it even better.
When I’m using a circle hook or plug that hooks fish around the mouth edges, I haven’t used a pair of pliers that I like better than the Gerber Multipliers. The issue comes up with when a fish like a largemouth bass swallows the hook deep. There’s not enough length to get down there and work the hook free.
One other potential issue also pops up as Central Florida heads into the 90°’s – the black all-metal handle gets pretty warm. You can mitigate that by keeping them out of the direct sun while you’re on the water.
Price and Value
At $74, Gerber Magniplier Fishing Pliers aren’t likely to be your cheapest pair. You can find it a few dollars cheaper from online retailers. While I like the overall design, the looseness of the lock and the shorter jaw length might give you a little pause.
The Bottom Line
I really like the Gerber Magniplier’s design and it’s so close to being the only fishing plier I carry. I’d like to see Gerber extend the length another inch or so and I can pass on my other pair to someone else. For you guys that are fishing live/cut bait with circle hooks, grab a set. The rest of us will need to get comfortable cutting the hook or fishing barbless if there’s a risk of the hook being swallowed. If you’re comfortable making that transition (assuming you’re not already doing it), I think you’ll enjoy the Magniplier’s design over your current pliers.
Gerber Magniplier Fishing Pliers Key Features
- Exchangeable jaw tips w/outboard fasteners
- Exchangeable and reversible carbide cutters
- Tether point to secure included lanyard
- Includes nylon sheath with D-ring and belt loop
- BearHand Control ergonomic system
- Finger choil
- Angled off-axis shape
- Optimized space between handles for maximum control
- Price: $74 (Gerber direct)