There are plenty of reasons to use a net when fly fishing. The obvious one is that, when you get the fish close, all you have to do is scoop it up. You don’t have to worry about grabbing and fighting as it thrashes around, possibly breaking the line.
There are some other great reasons to use a net, too, including:
You’re less likely to get stuck by a hook.
It’s not always easy to keep track of your hooks after you land a fish, particularly if you’re physically fighting your catch with your hands. Getting a hook in your palm, finger, or arm is not only painful, but it can also lead to a nasty infection.
Using a net is one way to avoid these injuries. By securing the fish in the net before attempting to remove the hook, you don’t make direct contact until you have better control.
The fish is less likely to get injured.
Using a net helps prevent unnecessary damage and injury to the fish, which is really important if you’re planning to catch and release. Fish are more likely to be injured by hooks when you don’t use a net, but there’s another reason why you should handle a fish as little as possible.
Fish have a slime layer that protects them from bacteria, parasites, and other things that can make them sick in the water. The more you touch a fish, the more slime you remove, leaving the fish vulnerable.
Nylon nets are better than nothing, but they are a little rough and can still do damage to the slime coat. Rubber netting is a better option because it’s not as abrasive.
Our Top Picks
There are a lot of fishing nets out there, and they keep getting better and better. While some anglers may have found fishing nets of the past to be bulky and hard to carry around, the newer options are lighter, durable, and designed with both you and the fish in mind.
So, what are the best fishing nets out there? Let’s take a look.
If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line net that’s exceptionally high-quality, check out this one from FishPond. The carbon and fiberglass handle is super durable and safe for fresh or saltwater fishing. Plus, it’s UV protected, weatherproof, and waterproof so it won’t degrade from frequent use and sun exposure. The rubberized grip is easy to hold onto, but, if you accidentally drop it into the water, it floats to the surface, making it easy to retrieve.
This net is made for boat fishing. It’s 55 inches long with a 16 by 24.75-inch head and comes with a fish-safe clear rubber net. Another thing you’re going to love about it is the 27-inch scale on the side of the handle. Measure your catch quickly and easily, right on the side of your net.
The best thing about the EGO S2 is that it’s so versatile. This product is so much more than a net. It’s part of Ego’s modular system, so you can actually remove the net from the handle and attach more than 30 different accessories, including four different landing net sizes, brushes, hooks, and more.
The 18-inch handle easily extends to 36 inches so, while it’s the perfect size for kayaking, it can be adjusted for use on a canoe, jet ski, or fishing while wading in any river, stream, or pond. The grip isn’t bulky and provides great control and the hoop has a unique design that makes it easy so scoop ad land your catch. There are no sharp edges to will fray or cut the line and the extruded aluminum is lightweight and extremely durable.
If you prefer a net that gives you a lot of accuracy and control, the YakAttack Leverage Landing Net is a great choice. The wide, traditionally designed hoop combined with the stability provided by the forearm grip makes it easy to net your catch without using a giant net.
This net has a hinged design that folds the handle in so it’s easy to store and tuck away when you’re not using it. That combined with the 47-inch handle length make this a great choice for kayaking or boating. The hoop is 20 by 21 inches and the net is made of rubber so you don’t have to worry about injuring the fish.
Buying Guide and Tips
There are a few things to consider when choosing a fly fishing net. One of the big things to keep in mind is where you usually fish. Do you wade into still water or a stream? If so, a hand net that’s the right size for the fish you’re after is just what you need.
If you fly fish from a kayak or boat, you need something a little longer since you aren’t able to get quite as close to the water. A longer net is also a good choice if you go fishing with a partner or as part of a group and you support other people in pulling in their fish. You have a much longer reach so you can get closer to the action without having to invade the same space.
If you fish in saltwater or spend a lot of time on the open water in the harsh sunlight, look for a net that’s weatherproof and protected against UV rays. This will ensure that you get as much life as possible out of your net.
As we mentioned, rubber nets are much better for fish than nylon as they aren’t as abrasive and cause less damage. If you’re a catch-and-release angler, a nylon net is a must to make sure the fish you put back aren’t unnecessarily injured or vulnerable.
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