I’m always amazed at how few anglers take a landing net with them when tournament fishing, I wouldn’t be without one… last year I lost two fish when competing, both times I could have upgraded the fish in the bag, but was busy filming and not thinking about the size of the fish I was playing, both were in the water to long and escaped whilst I adjusted the angle of the camera. One of the fish may have got me a 10th place rather than 12th, and onto the prize
table, should have had my game face on!
Fishing for larger sea species with bait, I rarely bother with a net, but when lure fishing I always have one with me. And always when freshwater fishing.
Over the years I’ve had quite a few nets, a few of which I’ve kept for various reasons, but I only use three of them now and they cover most of my requirements.
Daiwa Folding Net
The oldest net I own and still used on the odd occasion when fishing along the canal or with my lad or fly fishing for trout is a Daiwa Folding net. It takes up little room when folded up and is designed with a clip to attached to a belt or pocket. The spring loaded handle extends to 139cm from tip of handled to the leading edge of the net. The net is a standard woven light mesh which is a magnet for lures. The frame is made up of two fold out arms with a thing length of rope making up the third side. Getting the net from a folded to open staight when fighting a fish can be a right faff, the net can tangle around the arms, but with several shakes and twists and then flick to put the arms in the right position, its just a case of sliding up the locking mechanism. Press the brass button on the handle and the handle extends to its full length.
The net frame size is 53cm at its widest point and 38cm from tip of handle side of the net to the front. The net is 55cm deep at its deepest point.
One bonus features of the Daiwa folding net is the 35cm measure along the handle, not bad for a net which is probably 15 years old.
Overall the Daiwa folding net is useful for its compact size, and measuring device on the handle, but the mesh and ease of use goes against it.
EGO Wading Nets
I have two of these, one was bought in 2010 in Florida and used in the Jacksonville Classic, I say used, I blanked during the comp spending the most productive time of the comp waiting in a petrol station for our guide who was waiting in another petrol station a mile down the road!
The second net was given to me by American Hobie Team Mate Benton Parrot who had used it in the Hobie Worlds in Australia but was over his weight limit and didn’t have room to carry it back home.
The nets do differ a little. Most noticeably the net material.
The original net had a nylon knoted mesh which is acceptable for saltwater use if your going to keep your catch, but I prefer the Non-Tangle/Hook-Free Rubber Mesh on the newer net, not only do hooks just bounce off the mesh, its also better for the fish. Another bonus of the rubber mesh is that it will stretch up to 1.5 times. I wish that more nets were available with this type of mesh, I’m guessing the only reason they aren’t is the weight which makes it .23kg heavier than the standard mesh net.
The total length of the landing net is 79.5cm. The maximum width 41x160cm and the depth prestretch is 27cm.
The EGO Wading Net also comes with a safety leash attached to the handle to keep it safe whilst afloat. Even though the net will actually float if dropped over the side.
The hoop of the EGO has a scoop design at the leading edge, another nice feature.
For me the EGO is the perfect kayak fishing landing net. The only thing that goes against it is that its not big enough for pike.
Frabill Power Stow Landing Net
We used these at the 2nd Hobie Fishing Worlds in Texas, we were fishing for Large Mouth Bass and this net would have held a beast of a fish.
With the net open we found that the small rubber coated mesh net made a good sail on the days the wind was up, less than ideal so the nets tended to stay folded up and not used until you had lost a fish.
On the water the net can be a little difficult to open up and extend, the folding mechanism needs to be in exactly the right spot on the aluminium handle for it to unfold, but once open the handle slides smoothly to its fully 186cm extended length.
The net itself is rubber coated and relatively lure friendly. Its quite a large net as well at 51 x 60cm width and 62cm deep.
Overall, tricky at times to set up, heaviest of the bunch at 0.99kg. Good net size.
Berkley Kayak Fishing Net
Seems I pick up a net everytime I travel. The Berkley Kayak Fishing Net was bought on the way to the 3rd Hobie Fishing Worlds in Australia where our target was Bream.
The Berkley Kayak Fishing Net is the smallest of this group with a net size of 30.5x33cm wide and 21.5cm deep, and a long EVA covered handle and a carabiner clip on bungee to keep it safe on the kayak. Not surprising that the Berkley is the lightest of the group weighing in at 0.34kg
Although a small net it is ideal for flounder/plaice/perch fishing where I don’t want to be taking out a much larger net. The net is also of the Non-Tangle/Hook-Free Rubber Mesh which I love.
SPRO Folding Predator Net
There are two sizes of the SPRO Folding Predator Net, I have the smaller one. The design is very similar to other Predator Nets available, I could name two other brands who’s nets are almost identical. What sets the SPRO apart is that the SPRO comes in a bag, which helps to keep your car dry and clean, its also a big talking point when others get their similar nets out of their cars, wondering why they didn’t get a bag with theirs.
Fully extended the SPRO is 160cm, with an easy to grip rubber handle at one end of the aluminium handle. The folding mechanism is easy but the double button locking system is a bit of a pain, easy to open, but a pain to fold up, I tend to like other kayak fishermen leave it open all the time and the net laying on the front hatch. The Frabill nets locking mechanism is so much better, take note SPRO.
The rubber-dipped and ultra-fine snag-free net is a mighty fine 60x70cm wide and 70cm deep. I have to admit that I’ve had lures caught up in the net, these have been smaller perch lures with fine trebles, I’m sure there would be no problem with much larger trebles.
Likes have to be the bag and size of net, and also the quality. Dislikes the locking mechanism and small hook unfriendliness, the fact I haven’t had a pike that will fill it yet.
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