The net is probably one of the most underrated equipment when it comes to purchasing fly fishing tools. Investing in a quality net increases your odds of landing fish, plus it’s a far better way of handling trout, considering it’s a catch-photo-release process.
The market is filled with a wide variety of fishing nets, which can make the shopping process a bit challenging. Here are some guidelines to help you make the right choice.
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Types of Fly Fishing Nets
These nets actually come in a vast array of style, some of which offer more than simply retrieving your fish. The most common types include:
This is a net with a frame folding in on itself, which means it can be packed flat, allowing you to slip it into a bag. You can also attach it to your fishing vest and easily bring it to the water. Lastly, the net can easily be clicked into place with a simple flick of the wrist.
These nets are usually attached to a rector with a magnetic release, which keeps the net in place. They are generally ideal for grayling and river trout. In addition, most scoop nets are built around a wooden frame.
Fixed Frames and Handle Nets
These are mostly used for catching large fish. Longer handle nets are used from watercraft, where they can be left on the side in readiness to go to the bottom of the boat once the fishers land their fish.
What to Consider When Shopping for a Fly Fishing Net
Whether you are new to fly fishing or are a seasoned angler, having the right net can be the difference between creating a lifetime memory or having your day ruined for losing the fish of a lifetime. Here are a few factors to consider when shopping for a net.
The Type of Fishing Net
The net can be collapsible, fixed frame, or a scoop net. In collapsible fly fishing tools, the frame folds in on itself. These nets are usually clipped to the waist or back, and a simple flick will get them into a usable position. The other type is the fixed frame and handle net. These are best for boat fishers. The final type of fly fish net is the scoop net.
The material of your trout net greatly influences the durability factor. Most common materials used to make nets include rubber, nylon, and thanks to modern technology, carbon fiber & fiberglass. Rubber nets are the most popular. They are durable, some are difficult to spot in the water, pocket-friendly, not to mention slick, which means they are gentler on the fishes’ slime coating. The nylon mesh is much cheaper, but you risk splitting the fish’s tail fins. Carbon fiber and fiberglass nets rank high due to their durability and lightweight features. They are, however, quite costly.
The right handle length will depend on several things, including water environment, trout’s size and weight, and where you are fishing from. For instance, when it comes to fly fishing from a boat, longer handles are the way to go as they allow you to reach the water without having to lean so far over that you can fall. A shorter handle is ideal for fly fishing on the shores. In addition, longer handles are good with big fish, while the medium-sized handles are perfect when fishing for different trout sizes.
Cost is a huge determinant when making any purchase. If you are wondering how much a good net costs, then let’s begin by saying cost, just like the definition of good, is subjective. The cost of a trout net depends on quality, brand, not to mention, the additional fly fishing tools it comes with. Go for a net that’s really good value for money.
While most fishermen choose substance and functionality over style, fly fishing often involves photography, which means aesthetics is of much importance. An aesthetically pleasing net won’t catch more or bigger fish, but will surely look good in your pictures.
Most trout range from about 12-16 inches, which means a relatively small net can manage the job. Sometimes you may hook a big fish, in which case you’ll require a bigger net. However, I’d recommend medium-sized nets as they’re the most versatile.
Tips for Using Fish Nets
Having the right net doesn’t guarantee the survival of the fish. Besides being injured, the fish could still die from distress if handled inappropriately. As a result, it’s important to master the catch and release tips & techniques so as to increase the survival chance of the fishes. These techniques can also enhance your game:
Why You Need a Fly Fishing Net
Fly fishing is about catch and release. You need a good net to land and handle trout with minimal impact, allowing them to get back into the water with no injuries and with enough energy to survive. A fishing landing net reduces handling during hook removal, and that allows the fish to stay in the water throughout the entire process.
Secondly, you don’t want to miss a lifetime memory of landing a monster fish simply because you didn’t bring your net. It has happened to me many times. The only other way to secure a fish is to wear it out or get it close enough to grab the tail. This doesn’t work as often as you’d hope!
A lot of people, especially newbies, don’t know safe catch-and-release techniques. These types of nets naturally allow you to use them properly, letting you catch the fish without injuring them.
The Best Fly Fishing Nets
Now that you have a rough idea what fish nets are all about, let’s dive into some the best choices to guide you while shopping:
Freestone Outfitters – Rubber Mesh Net
This is an awesome net for any level angler. It has everything you need for regular trout fishing, plus, it’s ideal for most freshwater angling scenarios. It comes with a clear rubber mesh that won’t spook or harm the fish and a regular teardrop shape that allows you to safely photograph your catch.
Some of its key specifications include 25 inches long, 8 inches of pocket depth, while the size of the hoop is 16.75 by 10.75 inches. These dimensions and its weight make it a great option for travelling or hiking. The net also comes with other fly fishing accessories, including super strong magnets to keep your net secure and safe, a sturdy carabiner that allows you to clip your net to your fly fishing vest or pack, and a 9-inch coil (capable of expanding up to 96 inches) to keep your net attached and easily scoop in your fish.
The frame is made from hardwood material that can withstand mould and mildew. There’s also a more attractive burl wood option and a carbon fibre option for a higher price. This net is without a doubt ideal for catch-and-release.
SF Fly Fishing Landing Net – Most Recommended
This is a comparably priced rubber fishing net. Some of its key dimensions include a 9-inch handle, 10 inches deep, a hoop of about 9.5 x 16 inches, and a 360-degree copper swivel at the end of the handle. These dimensions make it ideal for narrower fishes, so, don’t go chasing the bigger fish with it.
The SF features a soft, clear rubberized mesh that’s gentle on the fish and won’t spook them away and a laminated hardwood and bamboo frame that won’t catch the trout’s attention. Other great features of this net include a magnetic release, a carabiner that allows you to greatly mount your net while actively fishing, and a stretchable spring-cord so you never have to lose your net or other gears in water. The carabiner can also be used with several other different gears like forceps, pliers, nippers, and tippet spools.
Fishpond Nomad Emerger Net – Highest Quality Net
Fishpond is known for designing exceptionally high-performance rubber fishing net. They didn’t disappoint with their Nomad Emerger Net. It’s a good all-purpose size and by far the most versatile and most popular in the Nomad series.
The Fishpond Nomad Emerger Net comes with features that allow it to withstand conditions where great fishing occurs. For starters, the handle and hoop are made using a mixture of carbon fibre and fibreglass composite material, making it very lightweight, impact resistant, and strong. The handle is finished with a rubberized coating, providing the greatest grip when wet. This allows you to hold on during chaotic fishing scenarios. You also don’t have to worry if you accidentally let go of the net with the fish in it— it floats.
The net bag is made of a wide-meshed clear rubber, which is as great as it gets when it comes to fish safety. With a 32-inch long frame and a 12-inch deep bag, this net is ideal for fishing from a boat and for fishing bigger fish.
Trademark Innovations 35″ – Best Long Net
This large fishing net is ideal for anglers fishing for potentially massive species or those hoping to encounter trophy-sized trout. While the net area is 20 inches, the extra 15-inch shaft accommodates fish that extends beyond the net area, which means the 35-inch length is the reach you can get. The long handle also makes it the ideal fishing landing net. This rubber net comes with a clear rubber mesh that won’t spook or harm the fish. The burl wood on the handle makes it aesthetically appealing. This net also floats, which means you don’t have to worry should you accidentally drop your net with fish in it. It also comes with markings of 5 and 10 inches on the 15-inch handle, which allows you to measure the size of your fish without having to handle it too much.
Measure Net Rubber – Most Features
The measure net is another great large fishing net that allows you to catch, measure, and release your catch without having to hold it. After all, size does matter when it comes to getting satisfaction and bragging about it to your friends. To measure, simply add the numbers at the nose and tail of the fish. The net is built of strong aluminium tubing with a durable 26-inch telescopic handle. It also features a durable rubber grip that allows your net to float, a gentle & fish-friendly rubber netting to ensure the fish’s safety, and a 28-inch hoop.
PLUSINNO Fishing Net – Most Compact
This collapsible fish net is made of premium high-density carbon fibre, fibreglass, and high-quality nylon materials. The nylon used is waterproof and helps to protect the net from waterlogging, bad odours, and bacteria. To collapse the landing net, you need to push the button at the lower side and bend the hoops on each side. You can then fold the net and the pole and finish by making small adjustments to the product. This foldable design allows you to store and transport the landing net easily. The net is made to be safe for fish, meaning your catch will most likely survive when placed back in the water. The net is very lightweight and will usually float on water. The material is also hook-proof. Unfortunately, the net is only 12” large. If you intend to fish in waters with small fish, this product will be suitable. Otherwise, your catch will struggle excessively in the small net.
Fly fish nets are used for catch-and-release fishing. They come in different designs. When shopping for these products, you need to consider the size of the net, the length of the handle, the material used to make the net, and the cost of the product. The size of the net should be determined by the size of the fish you intend to capture. For trout, you can choose a net of around 20 inches. The products listed above are all of very high quality, so you can go ahead and select one which fits your needs and budget. So, get shopping, get a net, and land some fish!