Let’s say you’re doing some bass fishing at your local lake. The conditions are just right. And then you get a hit. A big hit. You duke it out for a while, your rod straining as you wear him down, dragging him closer. Through the murky water you get the first glimpse of his silhouette. He’s a behemoth. So you grab your net and successfully get him into the boat. This thing looks like it weighs about 15 pounds, you can’t believe it. And as you celebrate, one question is going through your head.
Who’s going to believe you?
It’s as simple as that – you need to make sure you’ve got a fishing scale on hand when you’re on the water. We did some digging to find the best fishing scales on the market so that you can track your catches like a pro. Take a look!
Our top choice for analog scales is the Eastaboga BogaGrip, commonly referred to as the “Boga”. It’s the most expensive scale on this list, but it’s one of the most well-made fishing scales on the market. It’s incredibly durable, built with high-quality stainless steel body that will stand up to saltwater just as well as freshwater.
The BogaGrip features a spinning gripper, ideal for handling larger fish easily and keeping them in one piece. This feature is the main difference between the BogaGrip and other, cheaper analog scales, and is well worth the money. The BogaGrip is also beloved for its reliable half-pound accuracy, a good standard for most fishing scales. It’s available in a 15 and 30 lb model.
The BogaGrip excels in the simplicity of its design. It’s a mechanical scale that will stand up to a lifetime of abuse under any conditions. The only real downside is the price tag.
- Excellent gripper
For the average fisherman, who isn’t competing in tournaments, a functional, accurate digital scale will be the way to go. Rapala’s High-Contrast Digital Scale does an excellent job of performing in all the ways it needs to for 99% of people without weighing on your wallet too much. It uses a high contrast LCD screen and simple directional pad controls, making it easy to use. It’s also capable of storing up to eight weights.
But where it really wins is its accuracy. The High-Contrast Digital can weight fish to 1/100th of a pound, and has a maximum weight of 50 pounds. Couple this with a good, sturdy gripper and you’ve got an incredibly functional scale for a fair price. Maybe best of all, it’s got a built-in bottle opener.
What the high-contrast digital lacks is waterproofing and durability. For most this won’t be a huge issue, but it’s worth mentioning that any serious contact with water could put this thing out of commission.
- Good maximum weight
- Great display
- Gripper works well
For variety of features coupled with an agreeable price tag and durability, the standout is the Accu-Cull Digital Scale. The Accu-Cull isn’t as flashy as some of the other scales on this list, but does the job perfectly well. With 1/100th of a pound accuracy, a maximum weight of 55 pounds, a built-in measuring tape, and a simple interface, the Accu-Cull has got it where it counts.
It also ranks fairly highly for water resistance among digital scales, but isn’t the best. Similarly, the battery life is good, but not fantastic. The Accu-Cull uses a hook, but comes with a gripper you can easily attach. The front interface isn’t overly complicated, and the backlit screen will automatically sleep after a minute or so, saving your last weight when it does.
For ease of use and good all-around performance, the Accu-Cull is a strong contender. It does a lot of things well, and a few things exceptionally well. The main drawback is its lack of memory features, which isn’t necessarily a dealbreaker for most folks.
- Easy to use
- Good maximum weight
- Water resistance
- No memory features
Tournament fishing is a demanding sport for both you and your scale. A good tournament fishing scale needs to be able to perform quickly, easily, and accurately. Rapala’s Touch Screen Tourney Scale does all this and more.
The main thing you’ll notice about it is the touch screen, which is large and easy to use. The display can store eight weights and keeps track of your total. It comes in a 15 or 30 pound maximum, a good range for bass fishermen, and is accurate to 1/100th of a pound.
The Touch Screen Tourney Scale comes complete with an excellently-made gripper that will ensure your catch stays on while you tally it up. The battery life is outstanding, going for 400 hours on two AA batteries. For high performance in a digital scale, this is definitely the top pick.
The only drawback we can see here is the lack of waterproofing. The Touch Screen Tourney Scale is incredibly sensitive to water – and even humidity can fog up the screen. Sadly you can’t always have it all.
- Tournament-level accuracy
- Touch screen display
- Memory features
- Top-notch gripper
- Waterproofing is lacking
- Maximum weight could be better
Where the KastKing Water Resistant Digital scale excels, it outshines all the others. The main thing to talk about here is its water resistance, which is outstanding, but it’s also a top choice for its price tag.
It features an outstanding maximum weight of 110 pounds, and can store up to nine weights, which is a huge win. For the lowest-budget option on this list, you get some pretty incredible performance.
The backlit display works quite well, and the interface is easy to use. It comes with an optional gripper and has a tare feature, ensuring your catch’s weight isn’t thrown off. But on the other hand, its accuracy isn’t fantastic.
It can weigh to 1/10th of a pound, not a standout among digital scales. The battery life is also good-not-great. But for a scale that can take a dive and live to tell the tale, we definitely aren’t complaining.
- Water resistance
- Huge maximum weight
- Memory features
- Very cheap
- Optional gripper
- Battery life could be better
Comparing and Contrasting
Like with most fancy fishing accouterments, there are a wide variety of scales available that differ in a lot of ways. There are analog and digital scales, different features for hanging a fish, different maximum weight options, and other features that put some scales over others. And of course, cost can vary quite a bit. Let’s break down some of the differences so we can figure out which features are most important when buying a fishing scale.
Digital vs Analog
Fishing scales fall into two main groups. Analog scales use a spring mechanism to weight the fish, whereas digital scales have an internal computer that does the weighing electronically. On average, analog scales are more accurate, durable, and have the added bonus of being completely waterproof. However, for a high quality scale, analog is usually the more expensive option.
Digital fishing scales do have a few benefits, however. One is the ability to save weights in a memory bank. They’re also easier to read. On the whole, a decent digital scale will be cheaper than an analog scale as well. And as far as accuracy goes, some digital scales can weigh fish within a hundredth of a pound, which is a must for competition anglers. The key thing to remember with digital scales is not to go for the cheapest option.
Hook vs Gripper
Also important is how the fish hangs from the scale. Fishing scales will come with either a hook, which goes through the lip of the fish, or a vice-like gripper. For catch and release fishermen, a gripper is the way to go always. When you’re trying to weigh a fish that’s actively trying to get away, it can be easy for the fish to hurt or kill itself.
Grippers do the best job of preventing that from happening. They’re also significantly easier to use. Look for a gripper that spins, as this will do an even better job of keeping your catch intact. However, scales with hooks are generally cheaper. But not to worry – you can just buy an inexpensive gripper that sits on your scale’s hook.
Other things to look for
Some of the added features you’ll see when looking for a fishing scale can make or break your choice. Some scales have a built-in measuring tape, which is good to have on hand. Depending on what you fish for, you may be looking specifically for a scale with a high weight limit. Some scales can weigh fish over 100 pounds!
For digital scales specifically, the visibility of the screen and the interface on the front can make a difference in how easy to use it is. Water resistance, if possible, is also worth looking out for. Digital scales can vary quite a lot in terms of their battery life as well. Something that takes more readily available batteries and lasts a long time is preferable. Lastly, as always we’re after a scale that’s a good value.
These criteria will make up how we rank the scales on our list. As you’ll see, some scales shine in some areas but not in others, and some do decently well all around.
Back Up Your Fish Tales
In the era of “pictures or it didn’t happen”, just saying you caught a monster brown trout at the creek the other day just doesn’t cut it. Heck, photos might not even be enough proof. Whether or not you’re a tournament angler, you’ll have something to gain from adding a fishing scale to your set up. Just make sure you don’t leave it at home, in case you just so happen to set a state record the next time you go out.