This photo shows the Gerber Magniplier - Salt fishing pliers.

Gerber Magniplier Salt Review: ‘Excellent Ergonomics’

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The Gerber Magniplier is an aluminum fishing plier with a great build quality and excellent ergonomics.

To get us a closer look, Gerber sent Man Makes Fire a review unit of its Gerber Magniplier Salt version. This is what we learned:

Gerber Magniplier Salt Review: ‘Midrange Awesomeness’

There are dozens of inexpensive and sometimes downright cheap fishing pliers available these days, as well as several very expensive sets of fishing pliers. Gerber’s Magniplier and Magniplier Salt, however, fit into a midrange price zone. The Magniplier uses excellent materials and a surprisingly well thought out design overall.

This photo shows the Gerber Magniplier Salt with the included sheath and lanyard.
The Gerber Magniplier Salt is a comfortable fishing plier with excellent quality, ergonomics, and cost-to-value ratio.

My biggest question was, could Gerber build a fishing plier that was significantly better than cheap options and yet deliver a compelling price-to-value ratio against the multi-hundred dollar options?

The short answer is yes — and easily. But let’s take a closer look.

The Gerber Magniplier comes in two variations — the regular version and the Magniplier Salt version. The Salt version is made with extra corrosion resistance to better fend off harsh saltwater environments. Both versions come with a sheath as well as a tether with a carbiner that lets you clip the Magnipliers to a boat or belt loop.

Excellent Ergonomics

At a glance, it’s easy to tell that Gerber has designed a set of pliers with a complicated handle design. The angles are a bit odd and the hot-forged aluminum handles have curves and a curious index-finger choil. What Gerber set out to do was create a plier that lets you quickly and easily deliver hard-core holding power to the jaws.

This photo shows the Gerber Magniplier Salt inside the sheath.
The choil for your forefinger makes handling the Magniplier easy.

In addition, the idea was to make using the pliers easy to grip and use all day long so your hand wouldn’t be sore. The Magniplier is spring-loaded, so it pops open in your hand. As far as we’re concerned, all great fishing pliers should be spring loaded, and Gerber does a great job here.

Let’s get back to that interesting finger choil. Gerber is an American knife maker, and the company’s knives often have finger choils for the first finger. This is basically a rounded curve that gives your forefinger a consistent place to rest. It gives you a better, safer grip. With the Magniplier, it increases grip strength, and makes manipulating the Magnipliers easy. This is very much appreciated in dynamic fishing situations where a fish could be moving and not giving you good angles.

For storage in the included sheath, Gerber has a plunge lock built into the Magniplier that keeps the jaws closed. The lock is easy to flick on and off with your thumb while readying the pliers for use — or for storage.

Smart Design Features

The jaws on the Magniplier are replaceable. Better yet, the screws that hold them in place are easy to access on the outside of the pliers. This means you can quickly and easily change the jaws without taking the entire plier mechanism apart. Nice.

This photo shows the jaws of the Gerber Magniplier Salt fishing pliers.
If you fish a lot and handle a lot of hooks, the jaws will eventually wear out — but you can replace them.

But wait, there’s more. The carbide cutters are reversible, which means you essentially get two sets of carbide cutters built into the Magniplier. That’s awesome. Some competing pliers have their cutters built into the replaceable jaws, which means that if the cutters wear out before the jaws, you’re replacing the jaws anyway. With the Gerber Magniplier, it’s a simple swap.

So how well do the carbide cutters cut? I’ve nipped super light 6x tippet with ease as well as high-poundage monofilament. I haven’t used the cutters on braided line myself yet, but Gerber’s own videos show a guy nipping braiding line easily and most customer reviews say they work well. (Either way, if you use a lot of braided line, you might want to consider the Gerber Neat Freak Braided Line Cutters.)

Closing the Jaws ‘Completely’

One of the concerns I’ve seen from some online customer reviews is that Gerber sets the jaws so that they won’t completely close — so that they’ll bite most size hooks but not close 100%. Upon first inspection, our review unit didn’t close completely upon closing. I was curious as to how this would work — and curious why they wouldn’t fully close. Because the carbide cutters need to close first in order to cut a small diameter fishing line, the cutters make contact first, leaving a small gap in the jaws. But that’s not the full story.

When I added a healthy dose of grip to the pliers, the gap closed completely. And after doing that the first time, this must have set the carbide cutters and the jaws into near perfect alignment. I can still cut tiny tippet but the jaws also close so tightly I can grip and tear a single piece of paper.

After reading a bit more about this issue at Gerber, Gerber reports:

The Magniplier’s jaw tips are purposely biased open. There is a tolerance range for the gap, ensuring that the cutters will close completely and function as intended when gripping an object. The maximum end of the tolerance range allows the user to close the tips completely by squeezing slightly harder after the cutters have made contact with one another. Even the smallest hooks are able to be de-barbed and manipulated, despite the designed-in air gap at the tips.

Now it all makes sense. Our review unit is so far working flawlessly, as designed.

This photo shows a closeup of the Gerber Magniplier Salt's carbide cutters.
The carbide cutters are reversible, which essentially gives you two sets of cutters built in. Nice.

The Verdict

All-in-all, the Gerber Magniplier uses a well-thought out overall design to create a plier that is easy to use, fits comfortably in your hand, and has great gripping power. The hot-forged aluminum looks great and the overall build quality is surprisingly good for the midrange price point. If you’re a fly fisher who likes to throw big streamers and large dries, the Gerber Magniplier will work well for you. If you like to throw tiny flies, you’ll want these for your big fly days and keep your forceps handy. If you like to fish with big lures for big fish, the Gerber Magniplier Salt will get the job done for you all day long. Very highly recommended.

Get the Gear:

Looking for a great fishing gift? Check out our guide to the best fishing gifts or our guide to the best fly fishing gifts!

Gerber Magniplier Salt
Comfortable in the hand, easy to use
Carbide cutters are reversible, which gives you an extra cutting surface
Finger choil improves feel and dexterity in use
No real cons
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