Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Get a Grip

Being relatively new to the fly-carpin' game, preferring to travel light, and prone to wandering rivers on foot, I haven't found a net set up for wading that I like, but I admit a net is a good idea.  I'm very intrigued by Mr. P's recent article "Nettin' Carp Like a Gunslinger".  

I'm an advocate of landing a fish before it is entirely exhausted and I do my very best to handle fish gently, and quickly, before releasing them.  Additionally, I like any excuse to buy another piece of fishing tackle.  For those reasons, I'm likely to soon acquire a net for fly-carpin' on foot.  In the current absence of a net I am having good luck using The Fish Grip, a tool that I find to be head and shoulders above the better known, and more expensive, Boga Grip.

The Fish Grip Green
Fish Grip above, Boga Grip below

The locking mechanism of the Fish Grip is more like a Vise Grip than a Boga Grip and, with its smooth jaws, the Fish Grip can be pinched behind the front or corner of the a carp's bugle like mouth to more gently, and securely, hold the fish, in the water, while a hook is removed or a picture is taken.  The Boga Grip has a built in IGFA certified scale, but a carp needn't, and shouldn't, be lifted by the lips, so the scale isn't a plus to me, at least with carp.

Oh, yeah...and the Fish Grip... 
  • is available in a variety of cool colors
  • costs $12, rather than $120 like the Boga Grip
  • weighs a fraction of the Boga Grips weighs - making it handy to travel, and wade, with
  • it floats (the Boga Float will run you another $15)
  • can be easily be carried by clipping to your vest, belt loop, shirt, or nipple ring.

Both Grips are made in the USA.  

The Boga The Boga Grip does have a pivoting head which, sellers emphasize, allows fish to be revived in the water.  I suppose a pivoting head would have some advantages, but I've never had any trouble reviving a fish with the Fish Grip, and I have seen several complaints that the Boga's pivoting head results in some tremendous line tangles when trying to land and unhook large feisty specimens.

One of the best features of the Fish Grip is the extra safety factor afforded when removing treble hooks, and the fact that kids can use it when removing hooks or posing for that fishy shot with panfish or bass.

The Fish Grip helps Henry get a handle on a farm pond bass

Give the Fish Grip a shot and let me know if you're as happy with it as I am.


  1. Hey Scott,
    I support anything that handles the fish in a way that makes it less likely to be injured and more likely to survive upon release, and I appreciate your promotion of that. However, I see a lot of people use a Boga on carp, stripers, and other species that don't have toothy mouths, and then they hold them up in the air. There's no need for that. That sort of pressure is going to rip the mouth of any decent sized fish. I support using a boga to control the fish in the water but I think many people mindlessly use them to hold up fish by their mouths which is a bad idea. Also, fish organs are apparently not designed to be held vertically. I don't remember where I read this but holding a fish vertically can cause damage to their internal organs as a result. I appreciate your effort to promote better handling of C&R fish. I just wanted to weigh in with my one man crusade to stop people from hanging fish vertically via a boga. Thanks,

    P.S. This is not meant as a criticism of your bass photo. Congrats on your boy catching one!. I am just making my point in a general sense.

    1. Matt -

      I appreciate your thoughts, and I support your crusade. I'm in complete agreement that lifting a fish, particularly a large fish, by it's mouth, should be avoided whenever possible.

      I have lipped a lot of smallmouth and largemouth bass through the years, as I find it the best way to immobilize the fish while I remove hooks - which works out being safer for the fish and for me. I try to do that quickly, in the water when possible, and get the fish released ASAP. I am guilty of lowering my fish handling standards to get photos of kids holding their catch.

      Certainly the boga or fish grip are tools that can be easily abused and we should remind ourselves and others to use them with the best interest of the fish in mind.

      Thanks again