Cheap Fishing Scales

Fish Weighing Equipment

Cheap fishing scales are a huge waste of money.

Picture this, you are fishing a lake with huge fish lurking in front of you. You don’t expect it, but you land the biggest in the lake. But your weighing scales are cheap because you didn’t think it was important. Just as you are weighing the lake record with your cheap fishing scales, they break!

Weighing scales aren’t expensive, so don’t bother with the cheap sets, and no, luggage scales are not good enough!

My first set was the cheapest I could find at the time, but I didn’t trust that they were completely accurate and always used them for a ballpark figure rather than for the record. We tested them against a different set of fishing scales and they were way off the mark, not good at all.

After my first fishing trip, those were thrown in the bin and I bought a set of Daiwa Scales for a great price.

There are some scales on the market that are mega expensive such as the Reuben Heaton scales, so if you have some money burning a hole in your pocket, take a look at those. But typically you would be better off using this money towards good quality rods and reels if you are just starting out.

Instead, Daiwa is a top brand for weighing scales. These are what I bought and still have them to this day, I have had them for over 5 years now and have faced the tests of time, they are also accurate against the other scales I have tested.

Digital Fishing Scales

You can now buy digital fishing scales, which I will be buying when my current scales are no longer effective. Digital scales are very handy to have, since some of the digital scales will pause on the correct weight after a few seconds, making it easier to read the weight.

The digital scales have a backlight too, making it easier to see the weight of you are night fishing or its early morning. If I was to buy digital scales, I’d get the FOX digital scales, my father uses the fox digital scales and they are fantastic, very handy and very useful.

Cheap fishing scales don’t have the extra features that digital scales do, typically they are badly made and not accurate at all. You will also find that they won’t last long, they tend to rust and once they start rusting, you might as well throw them away as they will be next to useless.

And as I said earlier, before you even think about buying the scales people use to weigh their luggage, just don’t! They are no good for fishing.

It’s handy to buy a bar with the scales too to make it easier to lift, especially when you start catching the big ones!

Weigh Bar

Also known as a T-bar, the FOX weigh bar allows you to hold the scales steady as they have actual handles instead of just using the loop that you see on most scales. Holding only the loop is painful and less accurate too.

Tripods and Crooks

Tripods make the job of weighing fish a doddle, but some tripods can be rather long and difficult to fit in the car.

To overcome the size issue, there are a few tripods on the market that will adjust to your needs, such as this Fox Weigh Tripod or this Cygnet Weigh Tripod.

How to Weigh Fish Accurately

Let’s go through the steps of weighing a fish accurately because it’s very easy to get it wrong.

Items you will need;-

  1. Accurate weighing scales.
  2. A bucket filled with lake water.
  3. Unhooking Mat.
  4. Weighing sling – Floating or non-floating.
  5. Weighing tripod or weighing crook (optional).
  6. Weighing T-bar.
  7. Notebook and pen.

What I Do

Before I start fishing, I set up my unhooking mat nearby but ensure there is a nice backdrop for the photo. The reason being, you don’t want a bin in the photo of your personal best!

I also scoop up lake water into a 5-liter bucket so I can wet the mat before putting the fish on the unhooking mat.

Don't risk it with cheap fishing scales

Be sure to have your equipment ready and waiting for when you hear the sound of the alarm

When you have the fish in the net, dip the weighing sling into the lake to make sure it is completely wet. Let the excess water drain out of it and then hang the weighing sling from the weighing scales. Ideally, they will be hanging off of the tripod to keep your hands free.

Make sure the scales are set to zero with the weighing sling wet and hanging from the scales.

Either moving the dial to zero or pressing zero on the digital scales then you can transfer the fish to the unhooking mat to unhook the fish and treat any cuts in the mouth or on the body of the fish if you haven’t done so already, then transfer over to the wet weighing sling.

Hold the scales until you get a steady reading from the scales. If the fish is flapping around, wait until it stops and then take the reading.

Make sure you write the weight in a notebook or diary. I have forgotten the weights of personal best on numerous occasions and now carry a waterproof notebook in my tackle bag.

Once weighed, you can transfer the fish to the unhooking mat to take photos.

Don’t forget to fill your bucket back up with lake water ready for your next fish.