Thoughts on selecting a Landing Net.

December 03, 2018

Large brown trout laying in a net held in the water.

Selecting a landing net isn't always that easy.  No one style of landing net can cover all situations encountered with fishing.  A net that can handle a 36 inch salmon, won't work very well climbing up a small steep mountain stream.  When in doubt I would suggest a landing net with a traditional medium sized hoop, about 34-36 inches in circumference.  

The small Tenkara and brook trout nets, with a hoop circumference of about 25-32 inches, are best reserved for small tight waters, where a 12 inch fish is a trophy.  Selecting a net can be overwhelming. This is my thoughts about selecting a net for yourself or as a gift.

The appropriate size net will handle a fish with the least injury and give the best frame for a picture. 

My medium size landing net with a hoop between 34 to 36 inches in circumference or about 12 x 9 inches, is a good choice for general use as a fly fishing net. This size will handle fish up to 20 inches easily. (My personal best is 26 inches)

If you fish mainly larger waters and the steelhead are in your blood, the larger sized hoop is best. I make big fish carry nets with 42, 45 and 52 inch circumference frames. (My personal best is 30 inches).

Picking a handle length again is a personal choice.  By far the most popular handle length is 8-10 inches, mainly because of the comfort while carrying the net on ones back. There are special situations where a slightly shorter or longer net handle is best.  When wading is difficult because of age or because of the nature of the river, a longer handle may be an advantage. Similarly in very tight cover, with lots of bush and fallen timber the shorter handle may be more convenient.

Selecting the net bag again is a personal choice.  I have made nets with both the soft nylon net bags and "rubber" net bags.  I have also fished with both.  There is very limited scientific data supporting which bag is less traumatic to the fish.  I know there are many fishermen who are concerned about the hook(s) getting caught in the nylon net bags.  I find that it isn't a problem if I have effectively debarbed the hook(s).  I do find it is easier to carry the soft nylon bags.  Most important to me, l find the net looks nicer with the soft nylon bag when displayed. Also your pictures will look nicer with the black bag.