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Tools Review


Rapala ProGuide Lock'n Weigh, jaws for gripping fish with the convenience of a built-in scale
 

Date: 5/13/04
Tackle type: Tools
Manufacturer: Rapala
Reviewer: JIP






Total Score: 8.33

Introduction: Maintain a solid grasp on your catch with the Rapala ProGuide Lock'n Weigh. Built with high-quality stainless steel and a unique Cam-Lock mechanism this tool provides a secure grip on fish and has the ability to weigh your fish with the IGFA certifiable scale with great accuracy.
  

Rapala ProGuide Lock'n Weigh (PGLW20) Specifications

Scale Maximum Capacity 20 lbs
Overall Length 9.5"
Handle Length (Sure-Grip portion) 3.5"
Gripper Opening Width 1"
Material High grade Stainless Steel
Additional Features Cam-lock system, 360-degree swivel head, one hand trigger release, Sure-grip handle
Price $54.99

    
About Rapala: Rapala is among the most well known name tackle brands out there today. The company began with just fishing lures, but has evolved into a giant through research and development and acquisitions that make the Rapala Group to what it is today. Having a full line of fishing lures, lines, hooks, terminal tackle, tools, rods, and reels, Rapala has become a big player in the fishing industry, and everyday they strive to maintain the highest level of quality and craftsmanship in every product they release.

 

Introducing the unique Rapala ProGuide Lock'n Weigh built for fresh and saltwater

 

Impressions: The ProGuide Lock'n Weigh is no cheaply made tool. This Rapala product is absolutely solid and well built using a thick, high-grade stainless steel. The Lock'n Weigh sports a "Sure-Grip" material around the handle that felt comforting during the initial inspection. The trigger is also built from stainless steel and extremely sound, and at the base is the 360-degree swivel gripper head that holds the unique Cam-Lock system.  After securing the fish, the tool has a built-in scale that's IGFA certifiable. A gripper isn't complete unless it came with a lanyard, and Rapala provides an adjustable lanyard to secure around your wrist when using the ProGuide Lock'n Weigh.

   
Real World Tests:
The Rapala Lock'n Weigh is a good tool especially when used on toothy fish, but can be used on a large variety of fish. We embarked on various trips applying the ProGuide Lock'n Weigh in both freshwater and saltwater species such as largemouth bass, striped bass, and salmon. Here's what we discovered:

 

Rapala's Cam-Lock system.  Picture to the right shows it opened only half way

  

Usage: Tools must be easy to use or anglers might not be willing to use them, especially a fish lipper that requires a quick grip and lift out of the water without losing the fish. The Rapala ProGuide Lock'n Weigh is fairly easy to use. After you have fought the fish to the boat, carefully lean over with the Lock'n Weigh secured around your wrist with the lanyard, pull up on the trigger which opens the Cam-Lock and slip the gripper around the lower lip of the fish. Then quickly release the trigger and the fish is locked in place. We tried this with largemouth bass and stripers with good results. With largemouth bass each time we lipped the fish with the tool, it worked impeccably. When grabbing stripers, there were somewhat of a mixed outcome. The Lock'n Weigh's Cam-Lock design uses a thicker head that makes the "Y" which acts as a pivoting point for the gripping "teeth."  Because of this, the ProGuide Lock'n Weigh is good for stripers 17 inches and longer or else the mouth of these fish are too small for this great tool. The larger the mouth, the easier it is to use the Rapala Lock'n Weigh. When releasing the fish, the best way to do so is by placing the fish back into the water, revive them, and then trigger the Cam-Lock system to open. We don't recommend releasing fish in mid air as the Cam-Lock utilizes the fish's weight to get a firm grip and it can be awkward to shake smaller mouthed fish off the grip's jaws.

 

An easy to use tool, activate the heavy-duty Cam trigger to release the fish when placed in the water

 

We found that using the Lock'n Weigh, especially on fish that flop around after it has been landed, makes removing the hook from the fish's mouth much easier, quicker, and safer. Many times in the past when trying to remove a lure that has 2 or 3 treble hooks from the mouth of a feisty striped bass, it was a very difficult task and we've actually experienced unpleasant incidents when doing so. But with the ProGuide tool, it makes it possible to handle the fish with much more control.

 

Wet or dry the Sure-Grip handle will not slip. We dunked the Lock'n Weigh into the ocean and in lakes to lip fish, and not one time did it feel like the grip would fall out of my hand. The grip material is thin and will not absorb much water, allowing the angler to always maintain a solid grip when using the tool.

 

The Cam-Lock "jaws" securely hold onto the lower lip of the largemouth bass

  

Gripping Power: Speaking of a firm grip, the Lock'n Weigh does a great job at holding onto the fish once it's in place. The patent pending Cam-Lock system holds the fish securely with its prodigious "jaws."  When gripped, the harder the fish tries to pull away, the Cam-Lock applies more force, and when lifting the fish out of the water, the weight of the fish is the key to holding on. During our field test we tried many times to unbuckle the ProGuide Lock'n Weigh. We saw some slipping at first when the fish was lipped, but no fish ever fell off, even a 12.5 pound King salmon that was thrashing about. After lipping and prior to releasing the fish back into the water, we inspected the fish's lip closely to make sure the Lock'n Weigh's toothy locking grip didn't puncture any holes in the mouth. After using this tool on more than 20 fish, we didn't notice any harm done to the lip, but did notice very slight indentations to some of the larger size stripers and salmon. We recommend if you already know you plan to release the fish, try supporting the weight of the fish with your other hand.

 

The Scale: Since the Rapala Lock'n Weigh is IGFA certifiable, we expected it to be quite accurate straight out of the box. We conducted lab tests using weights and other scales to measure its accuracy and it was dead on. When weighing our catch, we compared it with other gripping tools of similar quality and they matched with good results. The test unit has a maximum scale weight of 20lbs, but if you need more, there is a 60lb Lock'n Weigh with very similar dimensions.

 

Weighing a King salmon with the IGFA certifiable built-in scale

 

IGFA Certified Scale Program: IGFA offers this service to their members only. They will certify handheld scales up to 100lbs capacity and all scales must be shipped to IGFA headquarters. Once tested at their facility they will send the unit back to the member with an official report on the test results. The certified scale is good for one year from the date of the test. Having a certified scale means that you can catch, weigh, and release a fish, and still submit it for a world record, provided all other requirements are met.

 

Durability: You'll be impressed with the way this tool was constructed.  It's built rock solid with top-notch stainless steel, Rapala went all out making sure they didn't cut any corners to produce a budget product.  We deliberately dropped the tool from a height of six feet on plastic and concrete surfaces and the tool incurred no performance altering damage. The heavy-set construction is solid and extremely durable. When gripping the fish, the entire Lock'n Weigh was dunked in the water, both fresh and saltwater. The tool comes with a Rust Prevention Oil where you apply a drop to the joints and moving parts after a good rinse in clean freshwater to keep it performing like new. 

 

The Sure-Grip provides a non-slip hold dry or wet

  

Warranty: The Rapala ProGuide Lock'n Weigh comes with a 2 year limited warranty from the date of purchase against defects in material, workmanship, and against breakage under normal fishing use. What's not covered is abuse to the tool and normal wear and tear. With a solid design like this there shouldn't be any problems since each unit is tested at the factory before being released. Just make sure you give it a good cleaning after each use and apply anti-corrosion oil, because even though stainless steel is less prone to harsh environments, it will still corrode.
  

Ratings:

Rapala ProGuide Lock'n Weigh (PGLW20) Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Using high-grade stainless steel, the unit is constructed very well and sound.  It's durable and can take much beating 9
Performance The gripper puts a strong hold on the fish and uses its weight to apply more force when needed.  Not the best for fish with small mouths.  The tool is easy to use and the scale is accurate straight out of the box 8
Price Good performance, solid build, and an accurate scale, the price of this gripper is good compared to its competition 8.5
Features A handy tool that comes with features that make them just better like the 360-degree head, Sure-Grip non-slip handle, lanyard, and a one handed trigger operation 8
Design (Ergonomics) An ergonomic grip design that's comfortable, non-slip, and the handle is designed with a large enough diameter to grasp comfortably even if you have small or big hands 8
Application This fish gripper is built solid and can tame many species of fish in both fresh and saltwater.  Use it for both toothy or non-toothy fish, for landing, or to hold the fish for pictures 8.5

Total Score

8.33

  
Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Solid construction L Difficult to use on fish with small mouths
J Heavy-duty Stainless Steel  
J Secure grip  
J Accurate certifiable scale  
J Good Price, Good Value  

    
Conclusion: Rapala has again designed a tool for fishermen. This time it's the ProGuide Lock'n Weigh, a fish gripping tool that'll hold onto your catch with authority. The Cam-Lock system applies constant pressure and a secure grip on the fish's lower lip. The Lock'n Weigh is built out of a high-grade stainless steel and the construction of the unit is very sound. The handle is comfortable and overlaid with Rapala's Sure-Grip, a non-slip material even when wet. An added plus is that the built-in scale was very accurate straight out of the box, and can even be IGFA certified if desired. Best of all the Lock'n Weigh tool can be used in freshwater and saltwater species of fish, and makes landing, de-hooking, and holding onto your catch with ease.



 

 

 

 

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