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Fish Scale Buyers Guide

A fish scale could be a valuable tool for any fisherman. If you're a recreational fisherman, you would want to measure 'how big' your catch was. For that, you need to weigh it! If you're a commercial fisherman, you know the importance of keeping track of your catch for the market.

However, if you're a competitive fisherman, you can't deny the indispensable use of fish scales. Either way, there are way too many options available in the market. There's no way we can stroll down the store and pick anyone we like.

Fish scale can significantly impact your sales or results, depending on the type of fisherman you are. Therefore, we are bringing you a full guide on how to choose the best fish scale for your use!

We've made sure to cover up some essential questions and bring you some tips, as well! So let's begin!

What is a fish scale, and how does it help?

Weighing scales are essential in almost every sector that requires evaluation of measurements or weight. Similarly, if you catch a fish, weight is a more critical factor than measuring its length. It helps you determine how 'big' you catch actually was.

For commercial fishers, they would need to get the right idea about the quantity of fish they caught. As the market sells fish according to weight, a weight scale is paramount. To make the right profits and set the right price for the day, they need to understand how much they have caught.

A fish scale is specifically designed to ensure that you can get a weight reading for the fishes. It is often waterproof with the proper assistance of extra tools such as a hook or lip grip that ensures you can hold the fish. Alternatively, it may have a pan big enough to place the fish and weigh it accurately.

There are different types of fish scales available in the market. In this article, we will help you learn about them and understand the essential factors to consider.

Reasons to use a fish scale

There's no doubt that a fish scale is vital if you're a fishing enthusiast. There's no need for you to have it if it is something you rarely do. However, we are bringing you some reasons and tips about why it is a good idea to get a fish scale for yourself:

Track your performance

If you're training to get better in fishing, weighing each catch becomes vital to gauge your performance. The type of catch you attract certainly depends on the bait and other skills. But to determine if you caught the right' size,' you need a scale.

Competitive fishers carry a premium-grade scale to evaluate their catches. Often, these scales have memory storage to record the weights and keep them for later. Thus, they can gradually see how better they have gotten.

Fishing is more of a passive sport than active. Thus, if you want to get a new record or hold a title, you can catch a fish year-round, and for that, you should have a scale. Otherwise, you wouldn't know if you ever caught a bigger fish that would have broken a record.

No more guesswork

Many people tend to guess the weight of the fish according to their size. Some experienced individuals would claim to gauge the weight accurately. While they might not be wrong, it's better to have a scale. Why should you guess when these cost-efficient devices can give you the exact numbers? That's what makes them such a convenient invention.

Know your catch

Some fish species look very similar, and the only distinguishable trait is their size or weight. For that, you will need a scale to know what you've caught precisely. Correlatively, a fish scale helps you learn about your catch a lot more.

You can learn about its size and weight accurately. Thus, it allows you to understand your expertise.

Evaluate the waters

By determining the size of the fish and its weight, you can deduce the quality of water. To learn the type of fishes there are, or what to expert in size and weight department, a fish scale becomes paramount. You can detect the 'average' the waters have to offer by catching and scaling different fishes.

Waterbody evaluation for fish type and size could be necessary for competitions and other requirements. Imagine if you visit a rumored place that claims to have bigger fish, and all you get are average or small fish.

Sometimes you would start hoping so much that it would cloud your judgment. As a result, even if you catch a small fish, you should think it was bigger.

Hence, instead of letting your 'hopes' get the best of you, you will let the scale determine if you caught a bigger fish actually or not. If not, then you can move on to a new location.

The second opinion

Some fishing ponds offer you a scale to calculate the size and weight of the fish. However, you can't always rely upon them, especially if you want to sell it to them. For that specific purpose, it is better to have your set of scales for a second opinion. It would enable you to get an accurate reading.

Some people may temper with the ones located in the shop or fishing area. However, getting a personal scale means that you don't have to care about any of that. All you need to do is whip out your fish scale and weigh your fish, conveniently.

Factors to consider when buying a fish scale

So you can't wait to get your hands on one of the fishing scales? But wait up! It's about time we get down to the real business, that is, the factors to consider.

Let's keep it real. The market is full of options. Most of them are trying their best to bring you high-quality products. However, some are going to try to rip you for money. So it would be best if you were careful about choosing the right fish scale.

Even if you don't know what kind of factors you should consider before buying a fish scale, this guide will help you. So, read ahead!

The type of scale

There are two types of fish scales, and they vary significantly in the price: Analog and digital. Both of these have specific pros and cons that we will talk about in detail.

Analog scale

An Analog scale is a 'physical' or 'mechanical' scale that uses spring with proper tension to determine the weight. Its scale is connected to the said spring, which is attached to the hook. As you hold the fish on the hook, the spring will feel the tension, and the scale will move down to show you the weight.

That is the basic functioning of an analog scale. While there have been some innovations in using these scales and such, its functions remain the same. Due to so many physical components, it requires proper lubrication.

The spring may loosen up and wear out over time, and you need to ensure that it gets a thorough cleaning. Analog happens to be the cheapest form of scale available in the market and readily available almost everywhere. As they heavily depend on the spring to deduce the weight, they can be inaccurate if they are too hard or loose.

The temperature could play a role in the spring's integrity because it is metal. So contraction and expansion, according to the climate, would impact its accuracy. Usually, to calibrate the scale, you need tools to do it physically.

Digital scale

A digital scale is relatively lightweight compared to the Analog scale because it doesn't require a bulky construct or tension spring. Most of the time, it is highly accurate and makes it a breeze to check the weight. As most of the digital scales come with an LCD screen, you can easily see the numbers.

The digital scale could have several features, such as changing the metrics. Modern scales allow you to calibrate the scale better, even modify it according to the climatic condition. You can tip the scale to a minus or plus unit easily, as well.

They are a breeze to maintain as long as you keep them clean. All you might have to do is replace batteries from time to time. However, the initial cost of purchase is higher than the analog scale. Many digital scales have shockproof build to survive falls.

You will also find them to be highly resistant to water or weather conditions. It won't impact their performance at all. Some digital scales also come with a floating technique if you drop them in water by mistake.

In the long run, a digital scale could prove to be more beneficial. As for the drawbacks, most of the digital scales are too sensitive for precision. Thus, even a minor movement or instability in holding the fish could result in inaccuracy. If you want exact results, you have to hold them steady.

Check the fish holder

Now that you understand the two kinds of fish scales, it's time to move onto the type of fish holder. Well, a fish holder is the part of the weighing scale that holds the fish. Conventional scales use hooks. There is a new 'lip gripper' available in the market, as well.


The hook gets inside the fish's mouth and impales under the lip to hold the fish. However, it can damage the fish too much. Some fishes might be too heavy for the hook to hold them steady, and it might slide by ripping through the lip.

Digital scales do use a hook but for lighter fish. It is harder to stabilize the fish on the hook. You can easily mount the ship, though. So that is a plus point. Some people don't like to disfigure the ship's mouth and utilize a lip gripper.

Lip Gripper

Lip gripper is excellent to hold the fish as they come with different locking systems. You can find very wide lip grippers for your scale to hold bigger fishes more firmly. It's like a flip-lock to hold the fish from the lip, and it is highly stable.

Most of the time, if you have larger fish, you might require a gravity-fed lip gripper. It uses the fish's weight to power the grip strength and keeps the fish held to provide weight.

What About Pan Types?

The third type of fish holder is the pan or platform type. These are commercial-grade and used by fish vendors to sell the fish. However, these are not great for large fishes as it might not weigh them accurately. Generally, these scales are for business purposes and used to sell fish according to the weight price. For competitive use, these are not effective. Similarly, if you plan on catching large fishes, don't consider it.

Pan type holders and fish scales are not portable or easy to carry. We are covering this article mostly for analog and a digital scale that you can take around.

Easy to use

You have to effectively use a fish scale if you want an accurate reading. That's what we mean when we talk about ease of use. Let's look at what matters regarding the convenience of using fish scales:

Better grip

You already understand the importance of lip grip and the type of grip you should use. Now you have to consider a gripping mechanism for you. Some fishes might be too heavy for you to hold alone, and you might need a helping hand.

Thus, some fish scales may have an extra handle or grip for another person to hold it. Alternatively, some fish scales may come with a stand to hold the fish more precisely. More importantly, it should have a non-slip grip. Because fish is wet and your hand will inevitably be wet, you need a scale that won't slip off.

Easy calibration

When we consider ease of use, calibration, and settings matter, your fish scale should be easy to calibrate. If it's analog, the tools should work effortlessly. However, if it's digital, the buttons should comply for easy changes.

Scale's capacity

Each scale has a different weighing capacity, and you would need the one that fits you best. There are two categories primarily, 50 pounds and 100pounds. Some scales can support even more than that. These capacities are according to what the device can handle effortlessly.

Weight recorder

It would be great if you can get a weight recorder (tracker) with the reader. This could help you keep track of your catch for the day. Some weight trackers have extensive memories to last for days. If you're on a fishing trip for multiple days, this could be handy to track your fishing results.

As a vendor, you will find it easier to track the total weight of the fish you've captured.


The whole point of buying a fish scale is to get accurate results. Thus, accuracy is an indispensable requirement. You need a precise fishing scale but don't get affected by minor movements or external force too much.

To find the most accurate scales, it is better to test them out. Try different fish scales to weigh some items. Grab something you know the weight of and check the fish scales by hanging the said item. Choose the one that tells you the weight most accurately.

Now, remember, even if you get an accurate reading on the first try, it is a good idea to check other fish scales.

Maintenance and upkeep

Fish scales are relatively easy to maintain. All you need is to wipe them off any water. However, some might require you to coat or polish them from time to time.

It is especially crucial for stainless steel with anti-corrosion or weatherproof coating. More importantly, you might have to lubricate your manual scale

Saltwater protection

Fishing is prominent in the saltwater area. Hence, you might require a digital scale with saltwater resistance or overall protection. Saltwater protection is essential, especially for digital scales. Otherwise, the batteries will corrode.

A tightly packed fish scale could be your key to it. Alternatively, if you go for an analog scale, it could have waterproof coating to provide you with a similar protection level.

Sometimes you might forget to wash your scale or provide it the maintenance it requires. That's where saltwater protection would make a significant impact. Statistically, the lack of care is one of the most common causes of damaging fishing scales.

The material of the scale

Fishing scales are available in many different materials. The most common choice is the stainless steel body and mechanism. However, there are rubber digital fish scales, even graphite and carbon models are available in the market today.

Water can affect the different quality of mater, and saltwater is undoubtedly full of minerals, and it can be highly corrosive. Thus, for proper protection, the material is important. Similarly, the material of your fish scale would impact the weight and size for portability. If you use premium material, the cost will also go up.

The use of scale

Always remember the purpose of using the scale. Some people use it for commercial trades, others would use it in the spirit of sport. If you plan on using it for a competition or tournament, you would need better fish scales. Therefore, it all breaks down to use.

The price factor

In fish scales, you get what you pay for. Your budget could be a reasonable consideration. However, we are bringing you some tips. If you rarely fish, then there's no need for you to invest in a premium-grade fish scale. You can go for one time scales that get the job done, as accuracy wouldn't matter much to you. It is for the sport.

However, if you are a frequent fisher, you should undoubtedly get a heavy-duty and performance-oriented scale. Check for the fish's compatibility for your scale's grip, hook or lip gripper, and make sure to check for the weight supporting capacity. The higher these are, the more it will cost.

FAQs: Best Fish Scales

Q: Are fishing scales accurate?

A: It depends on the type of scale you have. Digital scales are generally more accurate than analog scales. Apart from that, it breaks down to the calibration.

It is not an easy process, but you can make your scale highly-accurate. More importantly, if you are unsure about your scale's accuracy, you should always carry a spare.

Q: Do you need a license for fish scales?

A: To own a fish scale, you don't need any license. If you choose a fish scale, then it should certainly have at least a state-level certification. You can find these certifications on most of the scales.

You would have to check for the certification to use a scale for competition. If you're a competitive fisherman, then it is a good idea to own a fish scale that is certified.

Q: How long does a fish scale last?

A: It depends on your use and care. You have to remember that the fish scale is consistently exposed to saltwater and fish's saliva when you hook it up. Therefore, proper cleaning is pivotal to maintain a long life for the scale.

If you clean your scale after every use, it wouldn't require much maintenance. Thus, you will have a long-lasting scale. Next, it depends on the battery life if it is digital.


Don't forget to consider your budget, storage capacity, and standard requirements. There are countless options available in the market from different companies. Almost all of them are great, but it's not just about getting the best fishing scale. It's about getting the one that fits your preference.

Fish scales could be a convenient tool to own whether you are a regular fisherman or not. This article aims to help you make an informed decision. These factors, useful tips, and answers to some common questions intend to help you learn about everything there is to know regarding fish scales. / - © Copyright 2020