Monday, February 14, 2011

Does anybody remember Detty's Fish Gripper?

Detty's Fish Gripper
Detty's Fish Gripper fish gripping tool

I still use one of these fish pliers and I wonder if anybody else does.
I don't believe I've seen another set for decades.

This is Detty's Fish Gripper, basically a type of pliers to hold a fish's mouth open while you extract the hook.

It works better than any other tool I've seen for this purpose. The flat surface of the pliers doesn't harm the fish and gives you a good grip on the jaw.

I use this tool to hold open the mouths of northern pike and walleye, then extract the hook with a Baker Hookout.

The Detty's Fish Gripper is my favorite fish gripping tool and I'll bet it is an antique.

Does anybody know what ever happened to this company?

If you do, or if you have anything to add, please just leave a comment.

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16 comments:

Kim Gross said...

I have a knock-off of this in my tackle box. It looks identical to the picture, but it just says "Fish Gripper" and "Japan". I think it was my Dad's. I've never tried it, but it sounds like maybe I should!

Dan B. said...

We used to have some Japanese ones too, now that I think about it. They worked pretty well too.
Speaking of dads, I remember my dad opening up his tackle box one time in the dining room. Everybody crowded around. Just about every lure in his box was considered a collector's item or antique. That's how long it had been since he had gone fishing. People wanted to know if he would sell them some of the lures and things but he wouldn't because he thought he would need them the next time he went fishing.

Dan B. said...

Boyce and Audrey Privett called to say they did some research on the Detty's Fish Gripper and found it was made originally by the Gudebrud Bros. Silk Company of Pottstown, PA.
How does a silk company end up making fishing pliers? There's got to be a story there. Audrey? You're the author!

Anonymous said...

My mom just sent me a pair that she bought for $2.00 (American) at an estate sale!
They look practical, and I'll be using them this year for sure.

shelly said...

I have a small antique, primative gift shop and I actually have a pair in my shop. Got them in a box of items at an auction.but don't know anything about them. Shelly

Dan Baughman said...

Shelly,
I would think a pair in good condition would fetch $25. The person who got them for $2 made a steal.
Dan B.

Lee K. said...

This is hard to believe. We have a cottage on a lake in Mich. We had purchased a "weed roller" to help clean up the lake bottom. We have been running this roller for 6 years now and things keep turning up as the weed roller cleans up the silt/muck and churns up the bottom. Guess what popped up yesterday. Yep. Detty's fish gripper. I went on line and this site is what I found. How cool is that? PS. Been to Red Lake a number of times fishing on Kirkness lake. Unbelievable walleye fishing.

Anonymous said...

Still have mine, +50 years now salt & fresh water. Hardly any red paint left on the handle. Drilled hole in end of handle to tie on plastic float (dropped it overboard once, lucky it was shallow & sand). Inherited from my Dad when he died when I was a kid. Not the best tool to scale a fish but nothing better to grab your catch. Wish I could find several more for my kids & grandkids.

Flafisher said...

I just found a pair in an old fisherman's shed on the St. Johns river. He was a comercial fishermen in the 50's and 60's. Probably handled 1000's of fish. Still functional but well broken in.

Anonymous said...

We just found a pair and they say Lancaster,Penna and they work great.They even have a Patten number.

Anonymous said...

Just purchased a pair that are "new in box" from an antique store in Massanutten , VA. Paid $9 for them so I am thinking I got a great deal.....box even looks almost new

Montreat Designs said...

I just bought a pair off of eBay for $10.00 and feel fortunate! As to the comment long ago about their coming from a silk company: after World War II, tje silk market dried up due to the damage of Japan, and many companies found an alternative product to manufacture.... That is all I can think of!

DJ said...

hey just a visitor...an ive never left a msg/comment anywhere before but this is a must...this past summer my dad handed over to me the 'trusty' fishing toolbox he had when he was just knee high to a grasshopper, or at least thats what he said. nevertheless after a couple of bouts with the wd-40 the hinges and latch gave way to unearth hidden fishing treasure. lo and behold there it sat..an alligator mouth..at least thats what it looked like to me. so finally did a search (google's kinda handy) and voila. im up in ontario so im guessing they made there way up here some how. theyre still in great condition still has most of the red/orange paint the handles were dipped in an am now itching to use them. first of many old school treasures.

Anonymous said...

Ken Halladay
I have been using mine and loving it since it was handed down from my father. It was inside the mouths off three sea trout today out in mosquito lagoon. Mine looks just like your photo, and I can make out the pat no 2653844. So this tool was filed for pat back in October 1949 by Attorney Marshall L Detwiler out of Lancaster PA. I will sell mine for $1000.00!

Anonymous said...

Mine too

Anonymous said...

Mine says. Pat. Pend