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Fish pliers


mcohen
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Given how tedious picking out pinbones in salmon can get, its amazing that Costco's salmon, with the pinbones already removed, isn't sold at a higher price.

But, sometimes, you just need to pick out the pinbones yourself if you're dealing with a whole fish or if they don't already remove the pinbones for you. In that case, I'm wondering if buying specific fish pliers are better than using tweezers?

And, if so, anything particular that I should get? In Burt Wolf's New Cook's Catalogue, the Messemesiter fish pliers were the only ones mentioned. But, since that book was released over ten years ago, I'm wondering if there are any better choices or options today.

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I see that Messermeister has two fish-bone removal tools: the fish tweezers and the fish pliers. The latter seem more accurate, and that little spring thing that looks like it would pop them back open would elevate them above just getting a small pair of needle-nosed pliers from the hardware store.

On the other hand, I find that a pair of hemostats works just fine, and gives you some McGyver/Alton Brown cred.

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I also like hemostats for bones that are more substantial than what you can get with fish tweezers (I have a few of the latter that I bought in a Chinese market for about a dollar a piece). I suppose that for very large fish with bones too heavy for a hemostat, pliers may be in order.

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Get thee to thine local China-town and look in the emporiums for s/s fish tweezers. These are formed from a single strip of s/s, maybe 3/8" wide and the sharpened tips come together at an angle. I've done my fair share of salmon, and swear by these, which shouldn't be more than $10.00

Pliars (and hemostats) are not spring loaded. Opening and closing pliars for EACH tiny pin bone starts to become bothersome after the 6th or 7th side of salmon. Spring loaded is so much better, and the (Chinese) tweezer ends are the full 3/7" wide so it's very easy to find and grip and tiny pin bone--also very easy to toss into the d/washer to clean with no issues.....

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I have a pair of the Messermeister fish pliers and felt silly for buying them until I used them. The spring loading does make it much easier to quickly debone, but what really sets them apart is the aggressiveness and sharpness of the serrations on the jaws. They grip the slippery fish bones better than any pair of tweezers (and better than most hemostats) that I have used. Also, the rubber grips are fairly non-slip. However, they are more expensive than the Chinatown tweezers. As with many nice things, they also have a tendency to wander.

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You can buy a 5-piece set of precision pliers at Harbor Freight for 5 bucks. Spring loaded and everything... :wink:

So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money. But when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness."

So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

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I love my fish tweezers. Until I discovered them (standard equipment in the kitchen of the Ritz in Paris, where I was doing a stage), I used needle-nose plyers. The tweezers work so much better, a great grip with the serrated edges, the thin stainless steel and the width of the tweezer make it foolproof to grab bones on first try--no more digging around to get those fine bones below the surface.

I remember being shocked that such a small, inexpensive piece of equipment would be so fabulous. No brand name to report, unfortunately. I bought them at Dehillleran in Paris at least a decade ago for a few francs.


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  • 2 weeks later...

I love my fish tweezers. Until I discovered them (standard equipment in the kitchen of the Ritz in Paris, where I was doing a stage), I used needle-nose plyers. The tweezers work so much better, a great grip with the serrated edges, the thin stainless steel and the width of the tweezer make it foolproof to grab bones on first try--no more digging around to get those fine bones below the surface.

I remember being shocked that such a small, inexpensive piece of equipment would be so fabulous. No brand name to report, unfortunately. I bought them at Dehillleran in Paris at least a decade ago for a few francs.

Maybe, its one of those things where there's no such thing as a bad fish plier- that any fish plier will be superior to a fish tweezer for removing pin bones.

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  • 8 months later...

I see that Messermeister has two fish-bone removal tools: the fish tweezers and the fish pliers. The latter seem more accurate, and that little spring thing that looks like it would pop them back open would elevate them above just getting a small pair of needle-nosed pliers from the hardware store.

Don't fish pliers end up mangling the fish when you're extracting the fish bones?

If that's the case, what's the best fish tweezers out there?

Has anybody tried Rosel's fish tweezers?

The quality and material of Rosle products are usually very good, but I'm wondering if that's the best design possible for fish tweezers because there are a lot of different choices for design for fish tweezers these days. Unfortunately, when you look up fish tweezers or fish pliers on Amazon, there's not a lot of feedback on these products.

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I have a pair of Global fish tweezers, and love them. The blades are fine enough to grapple any bone, and they don't mangle the fish. I was mortified when I got them (what an expensive but useless gift!! You really shouldn't have! No, you REALLY shouldn't have..) but am now a convert. Yeah, I tweeze.

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I see that Messermeister has two fish-bone removal tools: the fish tweezers and the fish pliers. The latter seem more accurate, and that little spring thing that looks like it would pop them back open would elevate them above just getting a small pair of needle-nosed pliers from the hardware store.

Don't fish pliers end up mangling the fish when you're extracting the fish bones?

If that's the case, what's the best fish tweezers out there?

Has anybody tried Rosel's fish tweezers?

The quality and material of Rosle products are usually very good, but I'm wondering if that's the best design possible for fish tweezers because there are a lot of different choices for design for fish tweezers these days. Unfortunately, when you look up fish tweezers or fish pliers on Amazon, there's not a lot of feedback on these products.

AS I previously stated Wusthof makes a fish pliers and two types of tweezers of different widths for removing bones. Bones differ from fish to fish in diameter and length, hence the pliers are used for heavy boned fish whereas the tweezers are for more delicate fish such as the pin bones of a salmon. Wusthof tools are certainly not cheap but they will hold up for a lifetime. I have and use all three for many years and wouldn't be without them.-Dick

http://www.cutleryandmore.com/wusthof/stainless-steel-long-nose-fish-pliers-p16277

http://www.cutleryandmore.com/wusthof/stainless-steel-fish-bone-tweezers:-p16284

http://www.cutleryandmore.com/wusthof/stainless-steel-slanted-tweezers-p16283

Edited by budrichard (log)
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AS I previously stated Wusthof makes a fish pliers and two types of tweezers of different widths for removing bones. Bones differ from fish to fish in diameter and length, hence the pliers are used for heavy boned fish whereas the tweezers are for more delicate fish such as the pin bones of a salmon. Wusthof tools are certainly not cheap but they will hold up for a lifetime. I have and use all three for many years and wouldn't be without them.-Dick

http://www.cutleryandmore.com/wusthof/stainless-steel-long-nose-fish-pliers-p16277

http://www.cutleryandmore.com/wusthof/stainless-steel-fish-bone-tweezers:-p16284

http://www.cutleryandmore.com/wusthof/stainless-steel-slanted-tweezers-p16283

I've never thought about how you'd use tweezers vs pliers depending on the fish, although that makes a lot of sense when I think about it.

Is there a list out there which states which fish are heavy boned and which fish have more delicate bones because I can use that info to see which fish I'd likely cook more and let that guide me in choosing a fish tweezer or a fish plier.

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I highly recommend the japanese models that you can get from 3-20 bucks at Korin.

Round Tweezers

I have a pair of these and the precision at which the points meet are amazing. It causes little if no damage to the surrounding flesh when you grab them.

John Deragon

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I highly recommend the japanese models that you can get from 3-20 bucks at Korin.

Round Tweezers

I have a pair of these and the precision at which the points meet are amazing. It causes little if no damage to the surrounding flesh when you grab them.

I'd go with what the Japanese use since they're on a different level than us when it comes to fish. I'm assuming that must be what sushi chefs use when they prepare sushi.

But, I'm curious what the difference is between the $3 fish tweezer vs. the $20 fish tweezer.

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AS I previously stated Wusthof makes a fish pliers and two types of tweezers of different widths for removing bones. Bones differ from fish to fish in diameter and length, hence the pliers are used for heavy boned fish whereas the tweezers are for more delicate fish such as the pin bones of a salmon.

Where did you pick up that information? When I researched this topic, I've never seen that point addressed before.

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AS I previously stated Wusthof makes a fish pliers and two types of tweezers of different widths for removing bones. Bones differ from fish to fish in diameter and length, hence the pliers are used for heavy boned fish whereas the tweezers are for more delicate fish such as the pin bones of a salmon.

Where did you pick up that information? When I researched this topic, I've never seen that point addressed before.

From 40 years of prepping all types of whole fish from salt and fresh water varieties, small to large.

Try to remove some of the bones from a Red Snapper with a tweezers versas a pliers or the gills. A fish shears is also a requirement for removing fins and gills for a prep of a whole fish. You could try to use a common kitchen shears but I guarantee a Wusthof fish shears makes the job much easier. The pin bones on a salmon are unique to salmon and are usually thin and easily removed with tweezers. -Dick

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  • 2 weeks later...
Bones differ from fish to fish in diameter and length, hence the pliers are used for heavy boned fish whereas the tweezers are for more delicate fish such as the pin bones of a salmon.

In other words, get the pliers because they're more versatile.

You need the pliers for heavy boned fish, and you can also use them for more delicate fish.

Whereas, you can only use tweezers for delicate fish but can't use them for heavy boned fish.

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One last thought, pliers and tweezers are essentially different in that pliers do not spring apart whereas tweezers do spring apart and tweezers grasp finer objects usually than pliers. If removing the numerous pin bones from a side of salmon, tweezers make for a much faster task.-Dick

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