Best Fishing Scales for 2024

A high-quality fish scale can help you win bragging rights.
George Poveromo

When I show a picture of my trophy catch to a friend, the first question is, “How big is that fish?” Measurements of length and girth aren’t as impressive as bragging about the fish’s weight. For non anglers, a five pound bass is comparable to a five pound bag of sugar or a 50 pound red drum weighs as much as a 12-year-old child. For many anglers, accurately weighing a fish is more than showing off their fishing skills. Tournament anglers and World Record chasers rely on the best fishing scales to stay in the game. Whether you need a basic fish scale for bragging rights or you’re looking for the best scale capable of weighing to the tenth of an ounce there is a great fish scale for how you fish. 

Understanding Different Types of Fishing Scale

Fishing scales are available in two formats: digital and mechanical. A digital fish scale uses a load cell to display weight on an LCD screen. Mechanical fishing scales stretch a spring to indicate weight on an analog graph. Each type of fishing scale has advantages for the way you fish.

Spring Scales

A spring scale expands a spring to measure a fish’s weight. Hold the top of the scale and hang the fish on a hook connected to a spring inside the scale. The force of the fish stretches the spring to move a pointer that indicates the fish’s weight printed on the face of the scale. The best spring scales have a knob to zero-out the scale when weighing a fish in a basket or bag. 

Digital Scales

Digital fishing scales use an LCD display and special load-bearing cell to measure weight. When the fish is placed on the scale, the weight bends a strain gauge. The cell bends, changing the electrical current. A microprocessor reads the change in current and translates it into a digital display on an LCD screen. The best digital fish scale not only weighs fish but helps angler’s manage their stringer weight and record trophy catches.

Key Considerations

Walk into a tackle shop or search online and you’ll find dozens of digital and mechanical fishing scales. Some scales simply measure weight while other scales have multiple functions such as lip gripper, weight memory and calculator. To narrow down the choices, consider the size of the fish you are targeting, the cost of the scale and how easy the scale is to use. If you are a casual angler looking for a general weight of the fish you catch, a spring scale may be the best choice. If you are a tournament angler who needs precise fish weights to build a winning stringer, a digital fish scale with precise measurements and weight memory is priceless.

Bubba Pro Series Smart Fish Scale
Courtesy Bubba

Best Overall Fishing Scale (for most people)

Whether you are a weekend warrior or a tournament pro, Bubba Pro Smart Fish Scale will handle your biggest catch and more. The waterproof Bubba scale features a color LCD display to show fish weight, bag weight, stringers for four anglers and up to 99-fish memory. The Bubba scale has a Bluetooth connection to access the Bubba fishing log smartphone app where you can record fish weights along with catch location and notes. The Bubba scale is powered with a rechargeable battery or AA batteries and comes in a waterproof case. 

Rapala Mini Digital Fish Scale
Courtesy Rapala

Best Digital Fishing Scale 

If you need a simple scale to easily weigh your catch, Rapala Mini Digital Fish Scale weighs fish to 50 pounds and fits in your pocket. The simple Rapala scale with a large, easy-to-read digital display has a chrome-plated hook to hang your catch and a single button to reset the display. The tough water-resistant Rapala scale runs for 400 hours on a 9V battery with a four-minute auto shut off to ensure the scale is ready to weigh the catch of a lifetime.

Manley Brass Fishing Scale
Courtesy Manley

Best Spring Scale

Many pro guides rely on the Manly Brass Fishing Scale to weigh their catch and set the drag pressure on their reels. The brass body is corrosion resistant with large numbers etched in the face to clearly display the weight. A plastic ring marks the weight after the fish is removed. The indicator is also helpful for accurately measuring drag pressure. Set the reel’s drag, connect the fishing line to the scale, use the scale to pull line off the reel and read the weight where the indicator stops. The tough construction and corrosion resistant components make the Manly Fishing Scale popular with saltwater anglers. 

Boga Grip Fishing Tool
Courtesy Boga Grip

Best Scale for Dangerous Fish 

To keep your fingers away from a dangerous fish’s sharp teeth, spines and scales, Boga Grip Fishing Tool combines a sturdy fish gripper with an accurate spring scale. The corrosion-resistant stainless steel gripper locks onto the fish’s jaw without injuring the fish. The 15-pound model measures in 1/4 pound increments while the 30 and 60 pound models measure in half pounds. The small scale is easy to carry in the surf or on a kayak and tough enough to accurately measure the meanest fish.

Rapala Pro Guide Mechanical Scale
Courtesy Rapala

Best Budget Scale 

Accurately weighing your catch doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Rapala Pro Guide Mechanical Scale is a simple spring scale that weighs fish up to 25 pounds. An anodized aluminum housing and stainless steel spring ensure years of reliable service with proper care. 

Bass Pro Shops CatMaxx 110-lb. Scale
Courtesy Bass Pro Shops

Best Scale for Big Game

When you catch the fish of a lifetime, an accurate and reliable weight really counts. Bass Pro Shops Cat Maxx 110 has capacity to weigh fish up to 110 pounds. To lift a huge fish, the Cat Maxx features a large stainless steel hook and two steel-reinforced handholds. The Cat Maxx includes a large display with backlight so it’s easy to read the weight when struggling to weigh a 100 pound fish.

KastKing WideView Digital Scale
Courtesy KastKing

Best Floating Fishing Scale 

In addition to weighing fish, storing and calculating weights, the KastKing Floating Fish Scale is waterproof and it floats. The large backlit LCD screen displays fish weight in kilograms or pounds and stores and totals weights of up to nine fish. To protect the fish from injury, the KastKing scale has a unique fish clip that grips the fish’s jaw without piercing the skin. 


Are digital or mechanical scales more accurate? 

Digital scales are more accurate than mechanical scales, but that doesn’t mean a spring scale won’t produce a reliable weight. A digital fish scale displays weight to one percent of a pound. A spring scale shows 1/4 to 1/2 a pound on an analog graph. Also, spring scales are more susceptible to corrosion, moisture and temperature, which can affect the accuracy of the measurement. On the other hand, a mechanical scale doesn’t require batteries, so it is always ready to weigh a fish.

How can I test the accuracy of my scale?

The easiest way to test the accuracy of a fish scale is weighing an object with a known weight. Use a five-pound bag of sugar or a 10 pound barbell to determine if the scale is working correctly. For a more precise test of accuracy, have the scale evaluated by a professional scale certification company. 

What scales do pro anglers use?

Tournament anglers and professional guides need an accurate fish scale that can record and organize fish weights. A pro fish weight scale accurately measures weight to one percent of a pound. Many fishing tournaments award the top prize for the largest combined weight of several fish. To compile the weight of several fish, the best fish scale stores, organizes and calculates fish weights so the angler can cull his catch to end the day with the largest fish on his virtual stringer. Since many tournaments, like bass and redfish tournaments, require fish to be released healthy, pro anglers choose the best fish weight scale with a no-harm lip gripper.

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