Best Fish Scales for 2022

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Best Fish Scales for 2022

Fishing scales are essential when you catch a new personal best and want to remember it for the rest of your life. Good scales are accura

Fishing scales are essential when you catch a new personal best and want to remember it for the rest of your life. Good scales are accurate, easy to use, and have great battery life for when you need them most. There are plenty of different options from spring scales to digital scales, but when it comes down to it, they need to easily and accurately weigh your fish. 

Every scale is designed for a specific purpose, so the perfect scale for bass anglers may not be the perfect one for catfish junkies. Regardless of how you plan to use it, a good scale is a must for any angler. Here are some of my picks for the best fishing scales that are reliable and built to last.

Things to Consider Before Buying A Fishing Scale

Choosing the correct scale for your kind of fishing can be tricky if you are not familiar with scales. Several things set apart the best scales including durability, reliability, weight capacity, and accuracy. I like to look for these factors as well as a scale that is user-friendly and conveniently sized. Here are a few things to consider for to make sure you find the right scale.

Fish Handling

One of the most important parts of a scale is how it handles fish. Certain scales are safer than others and allow you to release fish unharmed. Scales with lip grippers are great for bass and allow them to be released without damaging their gills or mouth. They work by clamping on the jaw of the fish which keeps them well secured, but remember to tare the weight of the gripper before weighing. For other fish or multiple at the same time, fish bags can be used to weigh them safely. 

Accuracy

If accuracy is a must, then a digital scale is your best bet. These will read down to the ounce so you know exactly what your fish weighs. While spring scales will always work, they typically aren’t as precise. However, for larger fish like catfish, spring scales are the way to go as they will typically read higher weights. Some spring scales will even reach upwards of 100 pounds for true trophies.

Ease of Use

Time is precious when you take a fish out of the water so the faster the process the better. 

The best scales require minimal effort to use. They should simply turn on and give you the weight of the fish. Anything extra can be great to have, but if it gets in the way of weighing the fish, avoid it. For digital scales, I like simple push buttons to weigh your fish, and spring scales are always a safe bet when you need it to work no matter what.

Battery Life

There is nothing worse than going to weigh your fish only to find the battery on the scale is dead. The best solution is to look for scales with long battery lives that are well built. If the scale lives in your boat, you need your scale to be durable, designed to keep water out of it and keep batteries from corroding. Another thing to look at is the type of batteries it takes. Scales that run on AA batteries are a safe bet because they are readily available and cheap. But again, for a never-fail option, spring scales are great since they use markings to weigh the fish. While not as accurate they will never run out of battery when you need it most.

Best Fish Gripper Scale

Boga Grip Fishing Scale is the best fish gripper scale.

Why It Made the Cut

A fish gripper and scale in one, the perfect scale to easily handle toothy fish.

Key Features

  • Weight Capacity: Up to 60 lbs.
  • Mechanism: Spring Operated
  • Weight Hook Style: Lip Gripper

Pros

  • Reasonable size to carry all-day
  • Corrosion Resistant
  • The lip grip stays secured

Cons

The original lip gripper scale, the Boga Grip Fishing Scale remains king. Built entirely of stainless steel, it is a great option for saltwater or freshwater anglers. I find them especially handy when dealing with large toothy fish. Simply pull the thumb bar back and latch it onto the mouth of the fish and it’s locked in. I find myself using one regularly for snakeheads and other tough-to-handle fish. The scale mechanism is built on a spring system that works as gravity pulls down on the fish. The barrel of the Boga Grip is etched with weight markings that slide down depending on the weight of the fish. For larger fish, the 60- and 30-pound options weigh in half-ounce increments while the 15-pound will do quarter-ounce increments. If accuracy is a must this may not be the best option, but for me, the utility of a good spring fishing scale and lip gripper in one package far outweighs the accuracy.

Best Bass Fishing Scale

Rapala Touch Screen Scale 50lb is the best bass fishing scale.

Why It Made the Cut

With a long runtime, lighted LCD screen, and the ability to store up to eight weights, this is a great option for tournament anglers and enthusiasts alike. 

Key Features

  • Weight Capacity: Up to 50 lbs.
  • Mechanism: Digital Scale
  • Weight Hook Style: Fish Gripper 

Pros

  • Lighted LCD screen for easy viewing
  • Very Accurate
  • Can store up to eight weights

Cons

The Rapala Touch Screen Scale is the best bass fishing scale for tournament anglers and enthusiasts alike. Out of the box, the scale has a great feel to it with a tapered handle that is comfortable to hold. Two AA batteries will get you 400 hours of runtime, so your scale will be ready for when you need it most. Of all the scales I tested, the touch screen feature on this one immediately stood out. You can click through the menu and tare the scale with a tap on the screen. Come tournament time, anglers can store up to eight weights making it easy to know what fish won’t make the cut when it’s time to cull. In addition, the lip gripper that comes attached keeps your fish from flopping around and potentially injuring itself. Any bass angler can benefit from this scale, but with a weight capacity of up to 50lbs., it is a great option for targeting bigger fish like striped bass or catfish. 

Best Tournament Scale

Brecknell MLF Tournament Fish Scale is the best tournament scale.

Why It Made the Cut

No surprise, the official MLF scale is our top tournament scale. It gives consistent readings up to 55lbs., so you can weigh a full bag, and comes with plenty of other features. 

Key Features

  • Weight Capacity: Up to 55 lbs.
  • Mechanism: Digital 
  • Weight Hook: Lip Gripper 

Pros

  • Removable gripper doubles as fish holder
  • Auto-off saves battery 
  • Incredibly accurate

Cons

  • Larger than other scales tested

For die-hard tournament anglers, there is only one option if accuracy is a must, the Brecknell MLF Tournament Fish Scale. The official scale of Major League Fishing consistently reads the same weight over and over while weighing fish. When ounces can mean the difference between a big payday or going home empty-handed, that sort of accuracy is crucial. In the heat of the moment, it is easy to forget things, but the auto-off feature ensures the scale will turn off if you forget to do so manually. Like other quality scales, the removable lip gripper keeps fish from flopping around and potentially jumping overboard. The 55lb. weight capacity also allows anglers to weigh a full bag of fish using a weight bag before official weigh-ins. While great for tournaments, this scale is packed with features perfect for enthusiasts on the hunt for trophy bass. 

Best Saltwater Fish Scale

Bass Pro Shops CatMaxx 110-lb. Scale is the best saltwater fish scale.

Why It Made the Cut

Though it was originally designed for big catfish, this scale has everything to be a great saltwater option. It folds to a convenient size, has an eye hook for lifting heavier fish, and is durable enough to handle saltwater fishing

Key Features

  • Weight Capacity: Up to 110 lbs.
  • Mechanism: Digital 
  • Weight Hook: Gill Plate Hook

Pros

  • Simple to use
  • Folds down for convenient storage
  • Steel reinforced arms for heavy fish

Cons

Saltwater anglers are after big fish and weighing them can be tricky. The Bass Pro Shops CatMaxx Scale is the best saltwater scale and comes in at an affordable price. Originally designed for big catfish, it transfers to saltwater seamlessly. The 110lb. weight capacity is great for a majority of saltwater fish including cobia, wahoo, striped bass, or kingfish. It folds down to a convenient size so it can be stored in a boat hatch or bag for safekeeping. The handles are made out of reinforced steel with a rubberized coating. Even when big fish are flopping around the scale holds up and will not break. For trophy fish, the eye hook at the top of the scale allows you to run a larger pole or rope through the scale to make lifting easier. If you chase fish at night, the backlit LED screen ensures you can read the weight. While designed for freshwater, it holds up remarkably well to saltwater and is a great addition to any boat. 

Best Portable Fish Scale

Quarrow Digital Fishing Scale is the best portable fish scale.

Why It Made the Cut

When you’re on the bank or space is at a minimum, this is the perfect fish scale to toss in your bag. Lightweight, intelligently designed, and capable of measuring up to 88lbs., it’s a good all-around scale. 

Key Features

  • Weight Capacity: Up to 88 lbs.
  • Mechanism: Digital 
  • Weight Hook: Gill Plate Hook

Pros

  • Compact Design
  • Two-button design for ease of use
  • Backlit LED display

Cons

For mobile anglers, bringing a big scale along is out of the question, saving weight is crucial for keeping your pack light. The Quarrow Digital Fishing Scale solves this problem and is a great addition for land-based anglers. Unlike traditional scales, the Quarrow incorporates the handle into the scale with a horizontal design to keep weight down. The LED screen reads weight in pounds, kilograms, ounces, or grams, and the two-button design is quick to learn. I keep one in my fishing backpack and the compact design leaves me more room for tackle. When I don’t know what I’m fishing for, this scale is a great all-around option. The 88lb weight capacity can tackle nearly any freshwater fish and a large majority of inshore saltwater fish. 

How I Made My Picks

As a serious angler and fisheries biologist, I am around scales constantly. During college, I can remember several instances where a good scale meant all the difference, even if it was just for bragging rights against your friends. In the biology field, scales are a crucial part of gathering data for population analysis of any gamefish. Even the most expensive scales can be finicky if you don’t know what to look for. I find scales that tare easily, are sturdy to withstand hundreds of fish, and have good battery life are a good starting point. I took the time to find the best scales for just about any fish except a marlin. Here are the criteria I based my selection on:

  • Durability: How does the scale hold up against a bunch of fish?
  • Battery Life: How long does the battery last?
  • Battery Type: Are the batteries easy to come by?
  • Fish Safety: Does the scale safely handle fish?
  • Weight Capacity: How heavy of a fish can it weigh?
  • Accuracy: Is the scale accurate with known weights?

FAQs

Q: How much does a good scale cost?

Good scales vary widely in price, and it all comes down to how well the scale is made. The best scales will usually range from $80 to $100 but can go higher depending on the brand. If a scale is accurate and durable, however, there is no need to spend this much. There are several reliable scales packed with features on the market for $50 or less including the Rapala Touch Screen Scale.

Q: Does weighing a fish hurt it?

Depending on how you weigh a fish can determine if it will harm the fish or not. Traditionally fish scales worked with a hook placed under the fish’s gill plate to read the weight. The problem with this is if the fish flops around the hook can damage the fish’s gills. Luckily, advancements in scale design resulted in fish lip grippers. This handy tool clamps onto the upper lip of a fish securing it from flopping around. You still get an accurate weight and the fish will swim off unharmed.

Q: What fish scale does MLF use?

Major League Fishing uses the Brecknell MLF Tournament Fish Scale. It tares fast, has auto-off features, and is incredibly accurate. For local tournaments or aspiring anglers, this is a great option to get accurate weights like the pros. I carry one on my boat and it’s always my go-to when accuracy is crucial.

Q: How do you weigh a net of fish?

Weighing a net of fish is just like weighing a single fish. The first step is to tare the weight of the net on the scale so it doesn’t interfere with the weight of your total. Next, add the fish into the net and you will get an accurate total weight. Another great option is fish bags, similar to a net it is a soft bag with loops to attach directly to the scale. Use the same process to tare the bag and you are ready to weigh your fish.

Final Thoughts

There is no worse feeling than going to weigh a fish to find a broken or dead scale. While often overlooked, your scale is a crucial part of any kind of fishing but especially bass fishing. Look for scales that are accurate, easy to use, and durable. Models with readily available batteries (like AA’s) are great options to keep a spare set handy just in case. For anglers fishing tournaments or specific species, make sure the scale meets the demands you need it to. I hope my top choices steer you in the right direction for when you catch your new personal best.

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