By proving the weight of your fish, one of the best fish scales on the market!
Top Fish Scales:
- Best Digital Fish Scale: Berkley Digital Fish Scale
- Best Fish Gripper Scale: Eastaboga Tackle BogaGrip
- Best Hanging Hook Scale: Dr.meter Electronic Balance Digital Fishing Scale
- Best Tube Fish Weighing Scale: Rapala Tube Scale
- Best Tournament Fish Scale: Rapala Touch Screen Tourney Scale
Fish scales have been around for a long time and have given anglers proof of bragging rights to the big catch they landed.
Even though fish scales seem pretty standard and not something to get excited about, there have been many changes over the years that might change your views about this often underestimated tool.
In this article, we are going to cover some of the best fishing scales, proper ways to use them, and much more.
What Are Fish Scales?
Fishing scales are a device used to weigh and often measure fish caught by anglers. They ensure you abide by local keep laws, weigh fish for tournaments, or just for your life list documentation.
These scales can be especially important when you are fishing for different species that legally require a specific size and length to keep.
Fish Scales History
Fish scales were first invented in the late 1800s to early 1900s in the form we know them today. They were rudimentary at best but got the job done.
Good Spring Fishing Scale
Early scales relied on a spring, hook, and a series of numbers on the outside of the housing.
When you hooked fish through the mouth and held the scale-up, the weight of the fish pulled against the pressure of the spring. This removed the dial to the proper weight.
Springs are tested with an already known pressure to ensure the weight of the load was correct.
Fish Scale Evolution
There are many of these old scales still around today and even in use. However, the evolution of fishing scales has seen a lot of change over the years. This is to ensure a more accurate weight down to the ounce.
Most scales today are now digital and can be calibrated to keep them more exact. They also include a way to measure length.
Tournaments such as the BASS Masters, have several methods of weighing fish. These can be single fish weighed at one time or fish weighed on a larger scale.
While these scales are much larger than you would take in a boat could put in your pocket, the smaller versions today are just as accurate.
Fish Scale Types
When deciding on a set of the best fishing scales, there are a few things to consider. Accuracy is among the most important.
Digital Fish Scales
The digital scale types we see today put out by brands such as Berkley or Piscifun, for example, are among some of the most popular and accurate.
Besides accuracy, durability is also a consideration unlike metal predecessors that of metal that rusted, today’s fishing scales formed of high impact plastics.
Also, these new scales offer digital technology that gives exact weights down to the ounce. They also accommodate smaller fish that were too small to be weighed by the older scales.
Lip Gripper Electronic Fish Scale
Companies such as Piscifun have also eliminated the need to hook the fish to weigh it. This has been achieved by introducing a “lip gripper” that acts like the lip gripper used to lift fish from the water but is a scale.
This can be helpful when weighing fish that are toothy or fish that have soft mouths that a regular scale hook could damage.
Digital fish scales have the ability to store several weights at once. This can allow you to keep track of your total days catch and also will enable you to know which fish to cull if need be.
A digital scale is nice because they are generally easy to read due to their lit up LCD screen. These portable digital scales take out the guesswork that other analog scales tend to give.
The weight range of a digital scale is comparable with the analog versions. You can go from tiny fish to even 50 pounds, or even over 110 pounds.
The tare function on digital scales is nice if you want to zero out your scale then hook the fish lip and weigh it. Some of these scales also come with an easy to read a built-in tape measure. Not bad for a portable digital device that’s not super expensive.
Fishing Scale Grips
Fishing scales also should have an excellent grip to prevent hand strain. With the high sensitivity of most digital fish scales, if you do not have a firm, steady hold, the weight can fluctuate.
Often after a day of fishing, this is due to hand and wrist strain. So ensuring that your scales have a comfortable grip can help you maintain a “steady hand’ when weighing.
We recommend a model of fish scales that also offer a measuring tape so you can easily track the fish length. This can be very important to have if the range is a concern legally, for example.
Where to Find the Best Fish Scales
You have several options as to where to find the best fishing scales. These include sporting goods stores, bait and tackle shops, and of course, online.
Sporting goods departments in stores such as Walmart carry many of the best brands at prices that fit any anglers budget.
Bait and tackle shops will usually have a more focused brand type and, therefore, a smaller selection.
Online will give you a much broader selection as well as more information and reviews. This will help you make a more informed decision as to what will work best for you.
How to Care for Your Fish Scales
Thankfully, fish scales do not need a lot of special care to keep them performing for many years.
The following are a few tips that will help:
- Make sure you have fresh batteries before going out.
- Do not store your fish scales for long periods with the batteries inside. (This can cause corrosion)
- Wipe down your fish scales and make sure they are dry before storing them.
- Occasionally test them against an item with a precisely known weight to make sure they are still calibrated correctly.
- Send them in for calibration each year. The IGFA does this for you for a specific fee, and after it comes back, you can use it for world record fish.
When it comes to taking care of your fish scale it helps to remember that a bit of prevention goes a long way. If you’re going to be using it in saltwater then you’ll need to take care of it a bit more diligently than if you were caring for it in freshwater. That means do you best to rinse or wipe it with fresh water after each use.
There have been many times where I was so tired after a long day of fishing that I left my scale in my bag and forgot about it. After a few days, you’ll remember that you didn’t care for it and come out and see it coated in salt. Usually, this isn’t a big deal and the salt crystals will come off with a little water and rubbing, but if it’s really bad then you’ll need to take it apart.
Some of the better scales come with tools that allow you to open them up and get all the nooks and crevices clean. Digital ones are typically sealed and if they get damaged you’ll likely just need to buy a new one.
Tournament Fish Weighing Scales
If you are thinking of participating in a tournament or world record fishing, you must pick a quality scale and get it calibrated. I picked up a Bogagrip and sent it into the IGFA for certification that my scale was accurate to their standards.
I like the Bogagrip because they don’t rely on any digital components that can mess you up if you’re traveling and say the battery runs out. Some of these guys who are serious about their world records travel to remote places in search of these dream fish. The last thing you want is to relay on batteries in the middle of the Amazon river.
Another thing about the Bogagrip is that they use a gravity lip catch so no matter how heavy your fish is the metal grips will latch on hard and it has a bearing that allows the fish to spin and not come off. Other scales use a hook that needs to be placed in the gill opening which could hurt the fish if not done properly.
Best Fishing Scale Reviews
Best Digital Fish Scale
Berkley Digital Fish Scale
This scale comes from Berkley, who has been in the game for ages. I know a bunch of people with this scale, and they use it not just for weighing fish but for checking their drag settings on their reels.
When weighted using Persuasion weights, this scale was found to be within 1oz when weighing between 0.5 and 15 pounds. It’ll get the job done.
The battery will need to be replaced from time to time so you’ll need to use a quarter to twist off the back cover and access the battery. You can pick a few of these up from Amazon, but it won’t be often since this scale doesn’t drain much energy.
Best Fish Gripper Scale
Eastaboga Tackle BogaGrip
This is the scale I ended up going with after Steve Wozniak recommended it on the podcast last year. It’s heavy-duty and robust and will last a long time with proper care. No digital components, just good old fashioned analog.
The all stainless steel body and sturdy construction won me over.
I sent it into the IFGA to get certified, and it passed with flying colors. When you first see the price you might tell yourself, well what do I need a $100 plus dollar scale for. It’s only when you pick it up and place around with it that you realize it’s a serious high-quality tool that will last you a long time.
When I met with the guys running the IFGA, they all mentioned that most of the scales used for world records is this scale. That’s because it has a high-quality spring, doesn’t require batteries, and it has a great gripper action that allows you to hold on to the fish without worry.
When you get the fish near the boat, just pull down on the slider and the teeth open up quickly. From there you place the grips on the lips of the fish and let go. The weight of the fish will pull the grips tight and your fish won’t go anywhere. I’ve added this scale to my tackle box!
Best Hanging Hook Fish Scale
Dr.meter Electronic Balance Digital Fishing Scale
This scale is popular since it’s digital lcd display, accurate, and cost-effective. I know someone who’s run a calibration test on it right out the gate and found that it had a 4% discrepancy from the real weight. Not bad at all!
This scale features an excellent locking function on it as well that will come in handy if you want to record your weight after releasing the fish.
Best Tube Fish Weighing Scale
Rapala Tube Scale
If you want a no-frills scale, look no further. It comes out of the box accurately, and some people verify using at home weights that they hang from the hook.
Since this is not digital, you won’t have to worry about batteries or electronics wearing out. Plus, this scale is handy if you have other tension measuring activities around the house or workshop.
Sometimes simple is all you need. We had a chance to have a buddy run this scale through some calibration checks and it passed with flying colors. You just need to do your best to keep the scale steady so if you catch a fish and you’re in the boat, it’s better to wait for you to get to shore and weigh your fish. Overall it looked like this scale had a 4% discrepancy from actual weights.
Best Tournament Fish Scale
Rapala Touch Screen Tourney Scale
This scale is accessible on the tournament scene and gets the job done. The screen requires a bit of force to operate and since there are quite a few functions, it means there will be a learning curve. Granted, if you’re in the business of tournament fishing, you’ll be fine.
I wouldn’t trust the temperature sensor because the sun tends to throw it out of range.
Overall, if you need a low-cost tournament scale, this one won’t let you down. When you first look at this scale your first thought might be that the spring clip clamp used to hold the fish might not be strong enough to keep the fish from flopping off. However, when tested we saw that it did a good job holding even when you catch fish the max weight of the fish.
We also had a buddy test out the accuracy of this scale and it turns out that nine times out of ten he found it to be spot on. That makes us feel good about this as a scale for tournaments if you need something quick to judge if the fish is a keeper before the final weigh-ins. If you want you can also get this calibrated before your tournament so you can have double proof that your fish is how big you think it is.
For the price and LCD display backlight, this scale is worth it for any tournament angler looking to have a device on the boat to weigh fish quickly and accurately. Add it to your tackle box!
Q: Do fish scales also have measurements?
A: It depends on the model you purchase. You can elect to have them with or without (we recommend with).
Q: Are fish scales accurate?
A: If calibrated correctly, yes, they are. This is especially true with today’s more advanced digital models.
Q: Why do you need a scale that stores weights.
A: There are a few reasons; this is a good idea. One, for example, would be if you wanted a total for the days catch.
Q: Do fish scales float if dropped in the water?
A: Many of today’s models will float if dropped out of a boat, etc. It would be a good idea to check with the manufacturer to make sure. (Tip: I keep a lanyard on mine as a just in case)
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