What Type of Fly Fishing Net to Use
Like all the other fly fishing gear, when buying a net, you will have a magnitude of different options to choose from. In this article we will explore the assorted styles, shapes, materials, sizes, and prices of the different nets on the market. We will also look at why they are ideal for the diverse types of fly fishing that you are doing.
The right fly fishing net is almost as important as the flies and the fly rod used to hook the fish to begin with. A net is a must have when fly fishing. The reason that you will want to be using a net, is for when the fish on your line is close to you. Your fly line will loosen if you bend over to grab the fish. If you loosen the line, there is a good chance the fly will come out of the fish's mouth. From the moment the fish strikes your fly to the moment you get the fish in your net, you want your fly line tight which keeps the pressure on the fly.
No one ever said fly fishing was cheap. You can head out to the river with subpar gear, but there are so many times when the right gear will help you hook, and land boat loads of fish compared with not having the correct gear.
What makes a solid fly fishing net and why does it matter?
The type of net you that will want to buy will come down to the type of fishing you are planning to do. If you fish from shore, waders, or a boat will come into play. If you are fishing in calm waters like a lake or stream compared to if you are fishing in a fast-moving current in most rivers. The size of fish you are fishing for is also a major factor of what net you will need. Lastly, everyone has a different budget, so the price will make a difference here. You get what you pay for!
Let’s go over some different types of nets that are on the market.
This fly fishing net is made by Plusinno and can be found on Amazon. My favorite part about this net is that the handle retracts giving you a longer handle and it folds over to make storing and carrying it easier.
The handle length and durability matters if you are fishing out of a boat or into a strong current. You want to be able to get the net into the water and scoop behind the fish. If the net is flopping around in the current, you may lose the fish! If you are fishing from a boat, you do not want to be overreaching into the water as you could fall in.
Some nets will have a magnet on the end of the net that can connect to your fly vest. This is a nice feature as you can take the net right off in a split second. I do not think this net has this feature.
Usually when you have a fish on, the excitement is overwhelming and sometimes your gear will fall into the water. Therefore, you want your net to float and not sink. Most nets are made from wood, aluminum, fiberglass, or carbon which will all help the net to stay afloat.
Depth of netting.
The depth of the netting used will determine how large of fish you can fit in the net. Are you planning on fishing for large pike and salmon? If so, you will want your mesh to be deeper so the entire fish can be scooped up. If you are fishing mainly for trout, bass, or walleye, you will not need a very deep net as the fish tend to be smaller. You want the fish to be deep enough in your net that they cannot flop out.
Type of netting.
The type of material used for the netting makes a world of a difference as well. Some materials used are nylon, rubber, and different fabrics. Nylon and soft rubber netting tends to not hurt the fish’s mucus. This is great for catch and release purposes. Also, your fly and line can get caught in the net which can become a giant pain in the ass. If your netting material is made of thin fabrics, you might be in for a world of trouble.
This wooden frame and rubber netting net is made from Maxcatch and it can be found on Amazon.
The look of your net might matter to you. I personally like the look of these wooden classic fly nets. The wood frame also makes them exceptionally durable.
This net has a quick release magnet and a nice length lanyard for carrying or attaching to your fly vest.
The short handle and shallow depth of the netting will make this more of a stream or shallow river net, and fishing for smaller species of fish.
Some nets will come with a nice rubber grip on the handle of the net. The rubber grip is nice when your hands are wet as they tend to slide off easily.
This net is made by Wakeman Fishing and can be found on Amazon.
The handle is made from aluminum, with a length of 35 inches, and the depth of the netting is 17 inches. This net would be best used for fishing out of a boat and fishing for larger species of fish. A net like this would be great for keeping on the side of the boat and leaving it there until it is needed.
The nets shown are all under $50.00 USD.
You can spend quite a bit more money on quality nets.
This net is made by Nomad and can be found on fishpondusa.com.
The net is made from carbon fiber and fiberglass composite with a matte finish for a stronger grip. The netting is made from rubber and of course the net is buoyant. The retail price is $239.95 UDS.
Purchasing a net.
Do you need to spend a few hundred dollars on a net? I would say no, but you also do not want to be buying the cheapest one you can find. If you read the reviews on the net before purchasing, you should be able to get a solid understanding of what to expect from that specific net.
I tend to mainly fish rivers from a drift boat and from the water using waders. I like to own only one net as my garage is quite small, so I use an in between size. This way I can use it off the boat and having to carry it a few miles along the riverbanks is not too much of a problem. Some anglers like to leave their net on shore while they fish with waders, but I like to have my net with me the entire time. This is where the size and weight of the net plays such a significant role. I like my net light weight and relatively small, so I barely notice it is even there. The last thing you want is your net getting in the way of your casting.
Regardless of what net you choose, having one will help you out drastically versus not having one. A tricky part with nets is forgetting them down at the river or stream. We forgot one the other day and we have found multiple nets over the years.
If you like reading about fly fishing, our Zinger Fishing blog has a wide variety of different articles. We cover places to fish, what patterns to use, techniques, gear, and everything else to help fellow anglers land more fish in their nets.