Best Fishing Nets
What’s the most important thing about fishing? Landing your catch, of course! While the right conditions, boat, waders, sunglasses, bait and rod are all important, you can’t reel them in without a good fishing net. Fishing nets can be large, weighted expanses of mesh for trawling and bringing in fish, or they can be a net on a hoop on the end of a handle. This is called a landing net, and in this guide, we’ll be looking at the best landing nets on the market today.
Landing nets are an essential piece of equipment in pretty much all types of fishing, as they’re used for bringing in the haul once it has been caught. It’s not easy to examine a fish on the end of the rod, or remove it from the water with your hands, so you need the right landing net to do this.
The right size, shape and material of the net can make all the difference, and even make it easy – from wherever you prefer to fish. Furthermore, good quality nets can protect the fish, which is especially important in catch and release.
We’ll consider all of these factors and more, to take you through the web of information and the sea of products out there. So, go fish!
- EGO S2 Slider
- Rubber net
- 2 year warranty
- Frabill Power
- Collapsible handle
- Fiblink Folding
- Enhanced grip
10 Best Fishing Nets
Ego S2 Slider
On both models, the handle extends to 60 inches, and collapses to 29 inches with a push-button release. It’s perfect for fishing from a boat.
The Medium has a net bag depth of 15 inches, and the Large is 24 inches, stretching up to 36 inches. It features a special scoop design, and is capable of handling fish of 12-30 lbs.
The rubber mesh is easy on fish skin, so it’s great for catch and release. The holes measure around 1 inch.
The EGO S2 is pretty heavy duty, and that capacity goes a long way; it can handle a 42 inch pike and a 20 lbs salmon with room to spare. The flat bottom also helps secure your catch. The handle features grip technology, but also floats for those inevitable dropping situations.
The EGO S2 is known as the hottest model on the market currently, and has won the iCAST Best in Show. Although it’s not cheap and isn’t meant for massive fish, it has a 2 year warranty and can handle most catches that you’re looking to land.
2 year warranty
Can handle a range of catches
Not for very large catches
Frabill Power Stow
36 inches and collapsible, as is the net for extra storage capabilities.
24 inches wide by 20 inches deep. The range includes four sizes for different breeds of fish: crappie, walleye, bass and muskie.
The net is made of nylon webbing and is ‘no snag’. However, it isn’t coated.
Because of its length, the Frabill is good for both larger vessels and kayaks. It is also small enough and light enough to strap onto a backpack for portability.
The Frabill power stow packs a punch, especially considering the four-size versatility for different species. We like that the net is also foldable and can be easily carried with your kit.
Collapsible handle and net
Four sizes for different fish
Nylon webbing is not coated
The two-section telescopic handle is 40 inches, can be extended up to 60 inches, and collapsed down to 25 inches.
The triangular collapsible net is 20 inches deep, with a perimeter of 65 inches.
The mesh has micro holes and is durable, lasting through even large catches.
The handle is made of anodized aluminium alloy for lightweight capability and is also corrosion-resistant. The handle has a polyethylene coating for improved grip. The Fiblink also comes with a carry case for portability and is easy to assemble and disassemble.
The Fiblink has some great capabilities including its variable size and large, collapsible net. It’s widely recognized as one of the best folding nets around. A major plus is that it can be used in saltwater, freshwater, streams, seas, rivers, lakes and for boat fishing.
Collapsible handle and net
Some of the joints are made of plastic
The PLUSINNO comes in two sizes, with a relatively similar 27.5 or 31.5 inch handle. Both can be extended to 38 inches. It is a good net for a canoe or kayak.
The net is 12 inches wide on the smaller model, and 16 inches wide on the larger, with a 7.5 and 11 inch depths respectively.
The mesh net is made of odor-resistant coated nylon and has good elasticity.
The high-density carbon fiberglass pole is lightweight, with a polyethylene, skid-resistant handhold. The PLUSINNO has a specially-designed belt clip and safety lanyard.
The PLUSINNO has some great safety features and although the net isn’t large, it is roomy because of its flat bottom, so you don’t have to handle the fish if you don’t want to. It is light and easy to use; a good all-rounder.
Coated elastic mesh
Shallow as compared to other net depths
The handle is 18 inches long and cannot be adjusted. However, there are other sizes available up to 30 inches.
The net is a large 23 inches deep, and 14 x 15 inches wide. Again, the largest size goes up to 30 inches.
The net is nylon and even though the 1-inch wide mesh seems big, it handles small fish well.
Be aware that as this is a shorter, aluminium rod, the LN-250 should not be used to net large fish as it may bend, although it handled a 19 inch bass well. The handle is rubber-coated to improve grip. Great for saltwater kayak fishing.
The consensus among users is that the LN-250 is not fancy, but it works. It’s one of our shorter-handled picks, which have their place, and its net depth is great. If you’re into small boat or kayak fishing, and want to net smaller fish, the South Bend LN-250 is a good option.
Does not float
Frabill Tangle Free
No handle as it’s a replacement net to fit your existing hoop only.
The replacement net will fit a hoop up to 20 x 23 inches. In terms of depth it stretches to almost any size required.
The mesh is made of rubber, which gives the Frabill Replacement great elasticity and range.
It is sturdy despite its stretching capabilities, and as per its selling point, is tangle-free, which is rare and so is an advantage. It can trap largemouth bass, tiger muskies or even several large pikes.
This is a highly-durable replacement net. We love the stretch and tangle-free capabilities, and the versatility of being able to replace your net. Obviously it relies on already owning a fishing net, but as part of your arsenal it could be an essential item for repairs or different types of fishing.
A bit heavy
Frabill Telescoping Handle
The handle is 24 inches in length and is telescopic.
The net is 18 x 16 inches, so is a middle-sized net.
The mesh is quite fine nylon and so can tangle occasionally.
Of course, the main selling point of this net is that it can fold, including the net at the neck, to fit in a storage locker. Its length and size makes it perfect for kayak fishing, and it can handle 5 lb fish with no issue.
For its size and folding capability, the Frabill Folding Net is a surprisingly durable and versatile net. Obviously it’s convenient, so it’s a really great pick for those looking for something portable.
Does not float
EGO S2 Compact
Restracted, the handle is indeed compact at 18 inches. However, it can also extend to 36 inches to bring in catches that are further away.
The hoop is 17 x 19 inches, and the net depth actually varies with the material. Depending on your mesh type, it can be a deep net considering the compact size of the net as a whole.
The mesh comes in clear rubber and 15 inches rubber mesh, 16 inches PVC coating and 28 inches nylon mesh.
The hoop can twist off the handle using a push-button, so it can be even more compact. It’s best for canoe or kayak fishing with its innovative grip design and a 12-30 lb capacity.
A great little net with some good strength features. There is also a 2 year warranty and it can float for up to 45 seconds. Some users have called the EGO S2 Slider Compact the best landing net for the money.
Choice of mesh types
Large weight capacity
Shorter handle length
The entire net is only 24.5 inches long from end to end, so it really is a handheld.
The hoop is 8.75 x 17.25 inches but can scoop to pick up fish up to 26 inches.
The mesh itself is thermoplastic, eco-friendly and clear for ultimate visibility. It also won’t scare the fish.
The handle is teak and the net has a weight capacity of 4 lbs.
The Brodin is beautifully crafted and gentle on catches, with a classic look and feel. We love the traditional style and the included net clip is useful. It’s a fun and stylish pick for our list.
Short overall length
Does not float
EGO Backwater Trout
Another more compact net, the Blackwater is 24.5 inches from end to end and doesn’t extend or collapse further.
The hoop is 10.5 x 15 inches and is a relatively shallow 11 inches.
The mesh is made of rubber-coated PVC and has average-sized holes.
The selling point and beauty of this net is the ‘measure net technology’ - a built-in ruler right on the net design for hands-free fish measuring. Other great features include an ergonomic handle, quick-release clip and lanyard, and a zip-on, zip-off net for easy cleaning.
Another ultimate in catch and release, the measure-net is unique and genius and the rubber coating means that you won’t harm the fish when replacing them. It is well-built and easy to use, with some great safety and convenience features.
Zip on and off net
Does not collapse or extend
Criteria Used For Evaluation
Location is probably the biggest deciding factor in determining which net you’ll buy. This is because it is where you fish which will dictate what species you are fishing for, and the type of net you need in this location.
Fishing from a kayak, a larger boat, standing in water or on the bank will mean you’re fishing for different species and will require a slightly different-sized net. Lakes, boats and the ocean will call for a longer handle, whereas shorter handles are fine for rivers and streams. If standing in water, especially fast-flowing, avoid getting a handle that is too long where the end is out of your control if it catches on something. Compact styles are great for fishing from a boat where you’re close to the surface of the water.
Portability probably won’t be the deciding factor for you – as most fishermen know, it’s a sport which requires a lot of equipment, one way or another. However, if you do like to keep storage and space demands onboard or on land low, consider a handle which collapses, and a net which folds down. A more compact net can be useful for keeping it on a clip belt or similar.
While dropping your net in the water is never ideal, you’ll particularly want to make sure that your net floats if you are fishing in fast flowing rivers and deep water.
Firstly, the handle length is all-important. Fishing from a dock or pontoon will mean that you need a long, strong and extendable handle, whereas fishing from in a small boat might only require something compact as you are close to the water. If you do select a telescopic handle for storage purposes, ensure it can be deployed easily so that it’s ready when you need it.
Next up, handle material can make a difference as well. Aluminium is a common substance, but is light and soft and can bend easily. Thicker aluminium handles should be able to take 10 lbs or so. Wooden handles are capable of more weight, but must be treated for durability in water and will also be heavier to carry. Fiberglass composites are used in some of the best quality handles, along with anodizing and anti-corrosion techniques for maximum durability.
As well as weight, a handle must also be comfortable to hold and work with, especially if the catch is heavy and difficult to land. Many handles now boast ergonomic handling for an easy to hold and use net. Something with good grip is probably the most important factor here – a net is there to make your life easier and stop you from losing the catch, which is no good if you can’t keep hold of the handle.
A final element to think about with the handle is some kind of clip or attachment. If you’re fishing standing in open water, but really anywhere there’s a danger of losing your net, you might like to be able to attach it to something so that it’s more secure than just being held in your hand. Many nets include a safety lanyard for your wrist, a sling for around your body or a clip for your belt or fishing vest. What is important here is that the attachment is easy to release so that you don’t get dragged into the water if you lose control of the net.
Most anglers, due to location or preference, fish for a certain species. Depending on the type of fish, different landing nets will work best.
Trout may require several features in a net. Collapsible nets, with a folding frame, can be clipped to your waist whilst in the river, so they’re always to hand. For this, quick unfold or release net is a good idea. If you’re fishing for trout in a boat, fixed handle nets are good for keeping onboard. Trout are also more sensitive than fish such as trout or bass, so something with smooth webbing and decent space to cradle is necessary to avoid damage and harm.
For salmon, a fixed frame, sliding handle net is best. It’s a good idea to get a net with a sling or purchase an attachment, as salmon live in fast-flowing streams so it’s a good idea to have the net be attached to you. However, do take care that the net is kept tight and close to you, as it could be dangerous if it catches on something in the river and you are dragged along with the current. Size is another consideration with salmon – your net will need to be fairly large to accommodate a catch. This goes for pike as well.
Very small fish such as minnow and spelt will not only require a small hoop and shallow net, but also a lightweight handle and small hoop size.
Before the net comes the hoop. Hoop size will be decided by the type of fish you intend to catch, as they will literally need to fit through the opening. If you do work with a lot of different species, one hoop size and shape won’t cover them all. However, it’s likely that handle length and other factors will also mean you’ll need multiple nets for this reason. If you are looking for versatility, a teardrop shape is most common. This shape is also useful for getting the bait out of curved-sided buckets on a cold day.
While you might be aware that you need to consider the dimensions of the hoop opening in terms of your desired catch, depth is all-important in ensuring that your net can take the fish that you’re angling for. Having enough depth for the catch to rest comfortably, without the tail sticking in the air will mean that you can examine and easily unhook your catch without risking losing the fish or increasing the chances of its survival in catch and release.
It might seem obvious, but the larger the net, the larger handle will need to be. A heavy-duty handle will be required to maneuver some of the larger nets on the market to avoid bending and excess effort when bringing the net and catch in.
While handle length and net size will dictate many of your buying choices, net shape is a key factor for consideration as well. Generally, nets come in teardrop, circle, oval and flat-bottomed shapes. Teardrop and circle-shaped nets of 10 to 12 inches are good for shallow water and smaller catches, whereas oval-shaped nets of 15-18 inches are useful for larger bodies of water and bigger fish. This is because an oval means increased overall length as it tapers in and out to give the shape.
A scoop, when one side is larger than the other, in the net is useful for aiding catches of larger and heavier fish; helping to lift and slide the fish into the net.
Flat-bottomed nets tend to be larger and deeper to accommodate for the increased space. They’re particularly useful for larger fish, or when you want to examine them for catch and release. Also, if the fish is sitting comfortably in the net, rather than lengthways or upside down, they will be easier to remove. If you are releasing, you won’t even need to lift the net out of the water as you can check and measure the fish right there in the net.
Not all mesh is created equal, and it’s not just about webbing size, either. Rubber nets are becoming increasingly popular for various reasons. They’re made of regular mesh, covered or coated in latex or silicone. The advantages of this are that the mesh doesn’t absorb water; they dry easily, minimizing the smell; and most importantly, are gentler on fish and their skin, which is especially useful in catch and release. Knots in fabric netting can also cause problems for the fish, so keep an eye on the size of the knots and the smoothness of the fabric if selecting a nylon or similar net.
Micro-mesh is netting where the holes in the webbing are extra small. These are kind on fish for examination and silver fish, which are later and smaller. However, a finer mesh also increases drag, which is not ideal for fast-flowing rivers. Use a micro-mesh in canals and slower-flowing rivers. This type of smooth webbing is good for sensitive fish, whereas heavier duty rubber works for tough catches while still being kind to fish skin.
Another consideration with mesh material is visibility. A newer innovation is see-through and translucent nets. They increase your visibility of the fish underwater, and don’t scare the fish by being an obvious invasive body in the water.
Tangling is a constant problem with fishing nets. A tangled net can harm the fish and make it difficult for you to remove your catch. Rubber and coated mesh avoid this somewhat, whereas some manufacturers have actually developed anti-tangle technology to avoid it.
Q: What is a landing net?
Fishing nets are grids made from woven fibers. In the case of individual and landing nets, these are suspended from and stretched between a hoop on the end of a rod. Nowadays, rather than natural materials, the mesh is often made from nylon or a manufactured mixture of materials. These construction details are important as they make the difference to how fishing nets are used as opposed to rods or larger, weighted nets.
Q: Do I need a landing net?
If you want to catch or examine the fish, then yes. A landing net is essential in taking your catch from the water onto the boat or land without losing it – you can’t rely on your hands for this. A well-timed, quality landing net of the right size will do the job for you.
Q: What is ‘catch and release’?
Landing nets are the tool of choice for catch and release. They usually have coated or engineered mesh, which means that the fish is not harmed when it’s captured. If you have gauged the size of the net and the size of the fish you are looking for, you can examine the fish, record the catch, and release it back into the water.
Q: What is mesh?
Mesh is the name for the type of net or webbing. It refers to the way that the fibers are woven together, as well as what they are made of. In general, the mesh is a net with very small holes, that little if nothing could get through or get caught on. Net and webbing tends to have wider gaps between the fibers.
Q: Can I lubricate the handle to make retracting and extending easier?
You might be finding it difficult to adjust the length of your fishing net handle, and it’s important to have his flexibility at the right moment. We’d recommend checking the material from which your handle is made, and the instructions from the manufacturer. Perhaps even contact them separately to make sure, most good providers will be willing to answer individual questions. In general, avoid petroleum-based lubricants as they will attract dirt and dust, which could clog up the mechanism. A Teflon or silicone-based lubricant is best.
Q: Do I need several products?
As always, it depends on where and what you fish. Obviously, most nets come with extendable handles, but this won’t cover every type of fishing, as even the longest and shortest nets have their limits. Added to this is the mesh size and depth, certain categories of which will cover a range, but there isn’t really a ‘one size fits all’ here either. The best advice is to think about your type of fishing, and the method you usually use, and choose a net which covers this. If you practice a wide range of fishing, do the same with each and try and find a selection of nets which covers this.
Q: How about replacement mesh?
A replacement mesh is a good idea in case of tangling or tears. It means that you won’t have to buy a whole new fishing net if something happens. It can also be useful if you want to swap your mesh to do a different kind of fishing. It’s just a good idea to make sure that the net fits properly so that it doesn’t fall off in the water. Many manufacturers will have a range of replacement meshes for their products, so consider this if you know that you might need one.
So while there are many elements to the ideal fishing and landing net, the main consideration is where you’re fishing and what you’re looking to catch. These considerations will make the difference as to whether you decide to choose a long or short handle, rubber or mesh, and a flat or teardrop shaped net, for example.
While it would be nice if there was a net which could cover all scenarios, it’s important to make sure your product is suited to the situation. Not only will this potentially harm the fish and stop you from unhooking, but it could also compromise your safety. Consider added safety elements such as clips, lanyards and quick-release catches, as well as a manageable length and weight.
Read up on your particular species and location, and test and measure as much as you can to ensure you’re able to land your perfect catch.