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When looking for the best fly fishing nets on the market, you should consider quite a few things. First, you should think about where you plan on using the fly fishing net and which species you’re going after.
Targeting trout? Don’t worry, I’ve included the best trout fishing nets.
Will you be angling for massive salmon and steelhead or small brown trout? Both the destinations you choose and the species you go after will play a part when you’re choosing the best net for fly fishing in different situations.
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Your next thought should be, what should the fly fishing net be made out of, and how long of a handle do I need? Some people like rubber fly fishing nets, and others enjoy nylon.
All of these factors come into play when you’re out on the water. This is because each situation is different, and you’ll need the net to have different features in order to accommodate the situation.
The last thing you want is to be out fishing and you have to use your hat as a net to try and land that 22″ rainbow trout you just hooked.
Below I’ll go over a few different types of fly fishing nets and how each one will help you out on the water.
Best Fly Fishing Nets
The five nets that I’ll go over below are all different and will work best in different scenarios. Before continuing, think about what you’re looking for in a net. Do you want something you can strap on your back easily when you’re wade a river?
Or, do you want something with a nice long handle that allows you to pluck a fish from the water while you’re leaning over the side of a drift boat? Because I’ll go over both types below.
1. Thickened Fly Fishing Net
- Dimensions: 22″ x 12.6″ x 1.57″
- Material: Mesh net, aluminum alloy handle
- Pros: Price, easily portable
- Cons: Durability, no clips or magnets
The Thickened Net is a small, lightweight fly fishing net that’s ideal for anglers who enjoy taking long trips back to their favorite waters. Or, for someone who enjoys the outdoors with just a dash of fishing.
The net is large enough that you could easily land most freshwater fish. Large pike or muskie would be too big, but trout, bass, catfish, or other fish in the same size range would be fine.
The price tag is hard to beat, especially in the fly fishing net world where nets can get close to and above $100. Overall, the net is fine for the recreational angler who enjoys hitting the water a few times a year.
Someone who’s just starting out and doesn’t want to drop a lot of money may also find that this is a great option. Couple this with a good beginner fly rod or a decent fly rod combo, and you’re ready to go.
A hardcore fly angler, however, may find the durability doesn’t meet or even come close to their standards.
2. SF Rubber Fly Fishing Net
- Dimensions: Handle 9″, hoop 9.5 x 16″, depth 10″
- Material: Wood frame, rubber net
- Pros: Great for the price, rubber net, comes with magnet clips
- Cons: Not for trophy fish
As The Dude would say, new information has come to light. This isn’t just one of the best rubber fly fishing nets, but it’s also the best trout fishing net on this list.
So, when you use a net with a material not made of rubber, then you’re rubbing that protective mucus off the skin of the fish and leaving it vulnerable.
This is why the SF Rubber Net is also the overall best fly net on this list. The added protective benefits that it has for trout makes it a no-brainer to put it at the top.
This is especially true if you practice catch and release fishing. So, if you plan on returning all of the fish you catch back to the water, then pick up a rubber net and help protect our fisheries.
This is the best trout landing net, which will help you keep the fish protected when you’re releasing it back to the wild.
3. ODDSPRO Fly Fishing Landing Net
- Dimensions: 11.5” x 15.5” x 10”
- Material: Carbon fiber body, nylon net
- Pros: Great for a budget, large net size, carbon fiber design, light
- Cons: No magnet clip-on for back storage
While the ODDSPRO Fly Fishing Landing Net doesn’t have a magnetic clip-on at the end of the lanyard, they do make a magnetic clip sold separately here. With that, you can easily pull it on and off your fly fishing vest, backpack, or fly waders.
The clip that it uses to attach itself is easy enough, but nothing is easier than just pulling a net off of a magnet.
The carbon fiber body is super sturdy and lightweight, making it easy to transport while you’re walking back to your favorite fishing spot. Also, it’s not too cumbersome for when you’re wading a river.
The large mouth of the net allows the angler to net and land larger than average fish. It’s perfect for someone who’s looking to go after above average sized fish.
4. LEO Fast Folding Net
- Dimensions: 33″ x 17″ x 13″
- Materials: Aluminum alloy body, rubber net
- Pros: Fish safe rubber net, durability
- Cons: Not for wading, difficult to carry
The LEO Fast Folding Net can be used for wading if you really want to. Its main purpose, though, is for boat use. The fact that it folds means that it gives you extra storage space, and it quickly unfolds to reach out and snag fish from the water.
If you wanted to use this net for wading, then it would be best to use it with a fishing buddy, someone who could hold onto the net and unfold it to land the fish.
The net has a carabiner clip that you can use to clip on your vest or pack for easier transportation. Or, you could clip it to something stable on your boat, so the net won’t accidentally fall into the water.
The rubber net is perfect for ensuring the safety of the fish you’ll be catching.
- Dimensions: 30″ x 18″ x 18″
- Material: Aluminum body, mesh net
- Pros: Lightweight for the size, strong
- Cons: 12 lb capacity, hooks get stuck easily
On top of being a long net that you can utilize from a boat, the Aventik Trout Net is also salt water approved. It’s large enough that it can hold most fish, but the 12-pound capacity makes it not ideal for hauling in larger fish.
Even though it’s fine for salt water, it’s still recommended that you rinse it off with tap water after each outing to ensure it doesn’t corrode.
The great thing about this net is that it’s also foldable and extendable. It’s perfect for storing in your boat and then easily flipping out when you reach your fishing spot or when a fish is on the end of the line.
What Makes a Good Fly Fishing Net?
Now that I’ve gone over some of the different types of nets that you can find on the market, let’s go into depth about what sort of features you should be looking for in a net of your own.
Below I’ll cover price, material, size, and the different types of nets. So, take a look and use it to help you with your net finding journey.
The Best Fly Fishing Net Material
I went over this a little bit earlier, that the material of your net is very important, especially if you plan on fishing for trout.
You’ll want something that’s made of rubber because it helps protect the outer layer of mucus that they have on their skin.
This also prevent hooks from getting stuck in them. Nylon and other materials work well, but aren’t recommended for use on trout.
Most frames are made of wood, aluminum, or fiberglass. Aluminum and fiberglass are the lightest and strongest of nets.
Wood nets are strong and lightweight as well, but can carry a heavy price tag, as they’re often handmade.
They’re typically the most aesthetically pleasing of all nets, though. So, if that’s one of the features you like, then a wood frame will be the one for you.
Handle Grip and Comfort
Most nets that are made of aluminum or fiberglass come with some sort of grip on their handle. This helps with the grip so that the net doesn’t slip out of your wet hands while you’re handling a fish.
Most wooden nets don’t have a grip. However, some have a curved handle. This allows you to get a better angle on the fish when you’re dipping the net into the water to capture it.
Fly Fishing Net Size
When taking size into account, you should think about where you plan on taking the net. If you enjoy blue lining for brook trout in the mountains, then a long telescoping net might not be the best net for fly fishing for you.
The opposite applies to people who plan on going out fishing for muskie, pike, or saltwater fish. You’ll need a net with a large head, deep mesh, and long strong handle that you’re able to reach over the side of the boat.
When it comes to price, you’ll typically find that the pricier they are, the better crafted and more durable they’ll be. Many handcrafted wood nets can easily be three figures.
While they’re beautiful and useful, that’s not a realistic price tag for most anglers. Look for something made of aluminum or fiberglass that comes at better price tag. There are even some cheaper wooden models as well.
Types of Nets for Fly Fishing
Below I’ll talk about the three different types of nets and what they’re best for. They’re collapsable, scoop, and fixed frame and handle. Each one of these has pros and cons that should be taken into consideration.
Some are made for different types of fishing and different species of fish, and they won’t do well in other aspects.
Collapsable Fly Fishing Nets
These are the perfect net for someone who’s tight on space but wants something they can whip out quickly when a fish is on. Typically the net and frame can collapse and be stored in the handle.
These are great for a long hike back to a spot. Just remember to unfold it before you begin fishing. It’s not a good idea to do so while a fish is on.
A scooper net is primarily used by anglers who need to net a fish that’s a good distance away from them.
It’s usually used by a fishing buddy to net your fish for you, by someone who’s trolling in open water, or by someone fishing on steep shoreline.
It’s an ideal net for a saltwater angler who must hold a saltwater fly rod while leaning over the side of the boat in order to net the fish.
Fixed Frame and Handle Nets
This is the classic fishing net. It doesn’t unfold, nor does it collapse into itself. They come in many different styles and models. Each can be used for different fishing situations.
They make long and short models, so if you want a fixed frame, then look into how long of a net you need. Chances are there’s a fixed net in that size.
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There are many different types of nets. Hopefully, you now know what to look for when checking out the best fly fishing nets. Find something that meets the type of fishing you plan on doing, whether the net has a long handle, short handle, or large mouth.
So, head on out to your local sporting goods store, or check out any of the hotspots online for your next fly fishing net. You won’t regret having a good fly fishing net.
Some images in this post are courtesy of Shutterstock.
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