Having a fish escape at the last second can sour any fishing trip, that is why it is essential to acquire a quality fishing net. Having a net to hand will drastically improve your chances of landing.
Now that you have read our reviews of the best fishing nets available, it’s time to choose the one that best suits your needs. If you are an experienced angler, you will already be aware of your preferences; but for novice fishermen, we have compiled a short buyer’s guide below.
Over the next couple of minutes, you will learn what the different types of fishing nets are and how they are used. Realistically though, you will want to know which materials are best, as the differences in function between fishing nets are less than minimal.
Types of fishing net
Fishing nets typically fall into one of three categories:
Folding nets are designed to be compact, taking up minimal space in your tackle box or fishing bag. Most commonly, folding nets will have a simple hinge where the handle meets the hoop allowing the net to be folding over itself.
While fixed frame fishing nets are likely to take up more space than a folding net, they offer some distinct advantages. Fixed frame nets have no moving parts, making them less likely to break and more stable when in use.
Fly fishing nets tend to have a larger hoop and mesh and are made to withstand hours of use at a time. Fly fishing nets need to be extremely robust; and for anyone releasing their catches, the mesh needs to be suitable so as not to damage the fish.
How to choose the best fishing net
When you are about to buy a new fishing net, there are two questions that you will need to answer that will determine what is best for your needs.
Where do you fish?
If you have a penchant for boat fishing, a long-handled fishing net is your ally, allowing you to reach into the water without compromising your safety. Conversely, if you fish from the shore or freshwater streams, a short-handled net will suit your needs.
Short handled fishing nets are also ideal for anyone that enjoys kayak fishing. Short handles also transfer less kinetic energy down the shaft and are easier to handle, especially with large, energetic species.
What species of fish are common there?
When contemplating the attributes of your perfect fishing net, the species of fish that you typically encounter is an important consideration. Larger species will demand a larger hoop and net depth, along with being made from hard-wearing robust materials.
If you are practicing catch and release, then the mesh material is essential. Some species, such as trout, are quite sensitive and necessitate a smooth rubber netting to avoid unnecessary injury to the fish.
Properties of the best fishing net
All fishing nets work in the same way, and there is little difference in the operation of one from another. However, the physical properties of the ideal fishing net will vary between anglers.
Handle length is important to consider, and your ideal range will be dictated by where you fish and the type of species you encounter. Short handles are ideal for stream fishing and kayak fishing, while longer handles are suited to boat fishing.
It is worth noting however, that shorter handles will give you more control over the net and are less prone to breaking.
It is important to check that the handle on your net is made from high-quality materials, aluminum, graphite, wood, and composite handles are all available. Most commonly used materials are relatively comparable to each other, but some companies have been known to use low-grade aluminum that is prone to breaking.
As with most things fishing net, the shape and material of net you need will be dictated by the type of fishing you do. Net size can reach up to 42’’ wide, or larger if you primarily fish carp.
Net shapes also vary, circular, oval, flat bottomed, triangular, and teardrop shapes are all standard. Teardrop and circular nets of no more than a foot wide are fantastic for small fish in shallow waters.
Flat bottomed nets are commonplace for catch and release fishermen, as they allow you a good view of the fish after it has been landed.
Mesh and Hoop
The mesh found on fishing nets is most commonly constructed from one of three materials:
- Nylon or coated nylon
Nylon is the most common as it is cheap to manufacture and durable; however, at fishing pioneer we only recommend nylon if you are fishing for keeps, although coated nylon does protect the fish somewhat.
Rubber mesh nets are kinder to the fish and less likely to cause them harm. Anglers practicing catch and release should opt for rubber mesh nets to heighten the fish’s chance of survival after capture.
Knotless netting is lightweight and provides some protection to the fish, anglers fishing for trout or generally stream fishing tend to prefer knotless mesh.
Mesh grid size (size of the holes in the net) might also be of importance to you, with fragile fish needing a smaller mesh grid. For larger species, a big mesh grid is fine.
Hoops are pretty uniform in design and vary between a circular shape to an almost triangle shape. It is vital that the hoop width is accommodating to the species of fish you are searching for.
Some hoops also have a scooped section that will make it easier to coax the fish into the net.