Not all fishing nets are created equal. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of models that promise to do effectively the same thing: bag fish. But, as any experienced angler knows, certain nets are far better suited for targeting some species than others. (We dare you to try to nab a big bull redfish with a tiny trout hand net.) We’ve rounded up three models, one of which is sure to suit your angling needs, whether you’re targeting trout, walleye and bass, or specks and redfish.
An affordable choice with a handy, built-in measurer. Amazon
You’ll struggle to find a quality, easy-to-carry trout net that’s more affordable than the 24-inch Ego Blackwater. It’s super-lightweight, at 14 ounces, and includes a built-in, retractable, quick-draw tether. Most notably, the bag has a measuring stick or sorts printed inside, for quick, hands-free sizing. It’s one potential shortcoming is that it comes with a nylon bag, as opposed to rubber, which tends to be easier on fish for catch-and-release.
A premium 26-inch choice. Amazon
The Fishpond Nomad fly-fishing net is substantially more expensive than the Ego Blackwater, but if you’re a buy-once-cry-once sort of person, you’ll likely think it’s worth the cost. The 26-inch net is made of lightweight carbon-fiber/fiberglass composite that’s waterproof, buoyant, and effectively bombproof. The net comes standard with a clear rubber-net bag. If you’re hoping to return trout to the river unharmed, it’s widely held that rubber bags, compared with nylon ones, tend to remove less slim from catches and thus result in higher survival rates. Flies are also less prone to become tangled in rubber bags.
A strong telescoping choice. Amazon
Telescoping nets are a mixed bag. Many aren’t as sturdy and reliable as you’d hope, and thus often end up hanging in the garage, seldom used. The Frabill Conservation Series Landing Net, meanwhile, is widely praised for its durability and strength. The handle extends from 24 inches to 48 inches, and its hoop measures 20 inches by 23 inches, the perfect size for speckled trout and redfish. And its knotless, specially coated mesh netting is designed to prevent fish injuries, for the catches you want to release.