If you’re a serious angler who does not want to lose that monster fish at the very last second, using a fly fishing net is an absolute must. Fly fishing nets have a variety of benefits beyond this, but the biggest benefit is making sure that large fish and smaller fish remain minimally stressed. Whether you’re simply looking to catch and release, wish to minimally handle your fish, or you’re looking to catch bigger fish, a stressed fish is never ideal. We’re going to take you through the reasons why you need a reliable fly fishing net, as well as our picks for the best ones.
Why Use a Landing Net?
No matter what you decide to do with your fish after catching them, it is up to us as a fishing community to make sure that we cause as little stress to them as possible. After all, even catch and release causes a certain amount of stress and harm to them, as much as we like to think that we’re doing them a favor by throwing them back in. A good landing net is beneficial for many reasons, including:
- The safety and wellbeing of the fish
- Helping the angler land more fish
- Allowing the angler to get the fish into the boat quicker
- Adds an interesting element to your catch photography
How Do I Choose a Landing Net?
When selecting a fish landing net, it’s important to consider the situation in which you most often catch your fish. If you net your own fish while wade fishing or while stream fishing, you’re going to require a hand net that is both comfortable for you, and is big enough for the size of the fish you’re looking to catch. If you plan on fishing in a kayak, float tube, or boat, you work together with a fellow fly fisherman to make landing a team effort, you’re going to require either a mid-length or a full-length net for more reach.
While you may come across nylon netting and other alternatives, you’re going to want to look for a rubber mesh net for your landing net material. Rubber mesh nets cause the least amount of damage to the fish, being less abrasive against the scales of more fragile fish, and will prevent the fish from wrapping itself up and unnecessarily getting hurt. Hooks will also not lodge themselves into this material, which can be incredibly frustrating to deal with. All in all, rubberized netting is the way to go for both your sake and the health of your targeted fish.
The 3 Best Fly Fishing Landing Nets
Now for the nets! We’re going to take you through our 3 top choices for fly fishing landing nets, so we can help narrow down the many choices for you.
If you’re looking for a high quality rubber mesh net, then the Ego S2 Slider may be for you. This tangle-free net virtually disappears into the water, as it’s made with a clear rubber mesh. This net is perfect for catch and release, and won’t frighten fish or damage their natural slime or delicate scales. This mesh net resists wear and decay thanks to its sturdy mesh, and has an innovative grip design that lets you extend the handle.
The net comes in a classic teardrop design, measuring 24″ total, with a hoop measurement of 22” x 23”. While the least expensive version of this net is built with a carbon fiber frame, it also comes in a burlwood and hardwood option for a higher price. If your preference is using an ultralight frame, the least expensive option of carbon fiber will be your best bet.
This net has a carbon fiber frame with a rubberized handle, making it lightweight (12 oz) and able to float exceptionally well. The Tenkara Rod is a perfect not too big, not too small length of 24 inches, with a hoop measurement of 10” x 16.5” x 8 inches. The net bag is clear rubber, causing minimal stress to your prey. The carbon fiber frame comes in an orange and crimson, which you’ll either love or hate, but no matter what you think of the color this net is high-quality, top-performing, and a great deal for the price.
The Fishpond Nomad Net is made of a combination of carbon fiber and fiberglass, resulting in a super lightweight and durable net, weighing just 10.1 oz. Nomad nets are specifically built for any conditions you may encounter where great fishing exists, meaning they are waterproof, UV protected, and float incredibly well. This hand net is 25.5” inches in length, with a hoop measurement of 8.5” x 17”.
The Fishpond Nomad is the ideal trout net due to its size and UV resistant carbon fiber build, but is also incredibly suitable to all sorts of similarly sized freshwater and saltwater fish. This hand net is on the more expensive side as far as fly fishing nets go, due to the rubberized grip and the carbon fiber construction. It has to be said that a fly fishing net of this quality is absolutely not necessary – however, we can pretty much guarantee you won’t go back to a wooden frame after trying it.
When you’re a casual angler, a landing net will be nothing more to you than a net on a pole. However, landing nets are really a specialized piece of fishing gear, and can be just as important as your rods and reels. When selecting a landing net, make sure that you take the handle length, handle material, the extension and potential for storage into consideration depending on your needs. If used properly, your fly fishing landing net will become your new best friend.
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