For anyone looking to fish, whether you’re trolling a small pond or fishing in the open sea, landing nets are essential to catching a hooked fish. Landing nets range in sizes, and their variety provides the ability to land specific types of game fish.
In this article, I’ll share a few of my own personal recommendations for a good landing net, and point out which nets are best for specific kinds of fishing (saltwater fishing vs. fly fishing, for example).
The Short Answer
PLUSINNO’s landing net takes first place in our review because of the overwhelming benefits of their product. This landing net comes in 4 convenient sizes. What this means is you can enjoy the benefits of PLUSINNO’s durable telescopic pole and strong landing net material for any fishing trip.
PLUSINNO’s two smallest models, 12″ and 16″ that extend to 27″ and 28″ respectively, are high-grade landing nets for fly fishing in the river. The lightweight design makes it easy to maneuver, especially despite a strong current. These sizes are also ideal for mountain fishing when you might need to land trout in a gentle creek.
However, if you want to reduce the amount of time you’re fighting on the line, PLUSINNO’s 16.2″ and 22″ models help you land the fish when it’s farther out. The 16.2″ model extends to 43.5″, while the 20″ landing net extends to 60″.
What makes all these models great is that they’re collapsible, making for convenient storage. Also, the net is extremely fish-friendly and great for catch and release fishing. The waterproof, non-absorbent netting won’t hurt the fish by rubbing off the protective slime. What more is that the design of the webbing helps in preventing any hooks from snagging in the nets.
Other Great Landing Nets
SF Collapsible Landing Nets: Best Landing Net for Fly Fishing and Trout
The SF fly fishing landing net is the perfect net for catching trout. SF’s transparent landing net webbing becomes invisible when it’s submerged in water, so it won’t tip off your hooked trout as you’re reeling in the line.
The soft rubber mesh means that if you’re only out to catch and release, you won’t harm the fish when you net them. Just make sure to wet your hands before handling the fish and unhooking it. You won’t have to worry about this landing net holding its quality over time, the bamboo and hardwood composite’s laminate protects against rot and mildew.
You won’t have to worry about this landing net holding it’s quality over time, the bamboo and hardwood composite’s laminate protects against rot and mildew.
If you happen to drop the net while wading in the stream, SF designed the quick release magnetic clip with the same aluminum used in commercial airliners.
Note: The reason this product ranked below the PLUSSINO landing nets had to do with the variety in PLUSINO’s net sizes. SF designed their landing net for fly fishing, making it uniquely suited for fly fishermen.
One of my favorite features of KastKing’s landing net is the ruler etched onto the handle, which made it very convenient when I went fishing for walleye with only my rod, tackle box, and landing net. After dipping your hands, you can just hold the fish by the hook and get a rough estimate before tossing the sucker back.
KastKing designed their landing net to fold up but reinforced the joints with high-grade aluminum, so there are no flex points in the entire product. You can feel the sturdiness when you first hold it, but it’s light enough to help you land catfish without straining your shoulder.
The fact that this product folds easily means it won’t take up valuable real estate in your pack or on your boat as you trawl a lake. Depending on the size you purchase, folded up this landing is only 27″ or 33″ long. Given the size and durability of KastKing’s landing net, this is a great product for both saltwater and freshwater because it can handle any fish you hook.
One of the best landing nets on the market, Ego’s S2 landing net features a telescopic handle with a simple extension. The head is detachable which, coupled with the collapsible handle, makes storing this in your boat nuisance-free.
If you opt for a short handle to fly fish, the end of the handle allows for a belt clip to allow your hands to focus on reeling in a catch before landing it with a net. The shortest edition extends from 18″ to 32″, which provides the highest level of maneuverability.
If you want to catch and release the fish you hook, you’re in luck. There are five different options when it comes to netting material. There’s nylon, rubber-coated nylon, PVC coated nylon, lightweight rubber, lightweight clear nylon, and a PVC coated measurement net.
Another feature is that the detachable head allows for over 30 accessories manufactured by Ego. Everything from a mop-head to a harpoon-like blade is fair game.
Fiblink Folding Landing Net: Best Saltwater Landing Net
Fiblink’s folding aluminum landing net is a durable product made for catching large gamefish. This is a great all-around product, as it’s designed for fly fishing in rivers and streams as well as sea and lake fishing.
We classified Fiblink’s net series as the best landing net for saltwater fishing because the design of the webbing allows you to sweep through the water and catch your fish quickly. The telescopic aluminum handle is corrosion-resistant, meaning the entire product can endure years of fishing at sea.
No matter the size, the Fiblink landing nets make for secure storage, meaning you can hide them away in your boat’s storage area in the meantime. If you’re looking for a new landing net before you hit the water, definitely check out this product.
If for any reason you’re not happy with it, Fiblink offers a one-year warranty and a full money-back guarantee. There’s virtually no risk in this investment, and we promise you’ll love it.
The Ego S1 Genesis landing net is strong and lightweight, and the spectrum of handle lengths means you can customize a net to suit your specific needs. Ego designed the handle in an octagon shape fitted with an easy grip handle to make maneuvering the landing net as easy as possible.
There are five different options when it comes to netting material. There’s nylon, rubber-coated nylon, PVC coated nylon, lightweight rubber, lightweight clear nylon, and a PVC coated measurement net. What’s cool about this product is that Ego offers different accessories you can attach to the end of the handle.
While this means you can store the S1 Genesis with ease, it also means you can attach a cleaning mop to the end for cleaning the boat deck. Or you can attach a hook and a red-bristled brush.
There are a couple of reasons we didn’t rank this product as high as others. The main factor is that the handles aren’t telescopic, meaning they don’t collapse for easy and secure storage. If you’re taking this out in a boat, Ego’s longer handles make for an obstacle in moving throughout the vessel to reel in a hit.
The Wakeman landing net is a landing net for all kinds of fishing, with a fish-friendly rubber-plastic mesh net that runs 17″ deep. This composite ensures the netting of your Wakeman will stretch evenly as you catch a fish, and the soft material ensures the fish’s safety during a catch and release fishing trip.
The handle extends out to 56″, which makes this an excellent product for fishing on lakes and oceans because you land the fish farther out from the boat. Also, Wakeman’s collapsible handle makes for secure and convenient storage. You can store it in your backpack during trips to the stream or lake, and it leaves enough room for you to pack everything else you might need.
If you’re looking to buy a landing net for a beginning fisherman or woman, this is a great introductory tool. Whether you’re fishing walleye in Lake Erie or Salmon out in the Rockies, Wakeman’s landing net will help you with it’s lightweight, easy to move handle which glides the mesh netting through the water like warm butter.
YVLEEN Folding Landing Nets: Best Landing Net for Kayak Fishing
YVLEEN’s foldable landing net is a great addition to any kayak fishing trip. The webbing is a hundred percent waterproof and it’s gentle on the fish, making for a humane way to catch and release. This product also comes with a convenient belt clip that you can also fasten on a backpack to free up your hands.
While the handle is lightweight, YVLEEN designed their landing net with a thick aluminum that prevents any chance of breaking on you. We mention this is an excellent companion for kayaking because it’s foldability means you can keep it near your feet comfortably until you need it.
The reason YVLEEN’s product didn’t rank as high as others had to do with its joint design. YVLEEN reinforced the folding joints with a plastic polymer instead of steel or aluminum. And when you do have to fold it, there’s a somewhat complicated process of bending both hoops simultaneously before folding it into place. However, this is my only gripe with the product, and overall, it’s a fantastic landing net.
The company Frabill has served Anglers for just under a century, and their landing net represents nearly a century of innovating fishing tools. With a hoop size of 20″x23″, the Conservation Series landing nets make for an ideal companion in saltwater. Even more, the cam-lock telescoping handle will hold up against the most aggressive fish.
If you’re only looking to catch fish for fun, micro-mesh netting material means you won’t harm the fish as you scoop it up in the net. Just remember to wet your hands before handling the fish, since a dry hand will damage the fish’s protective slime.
We mentioned this is the best landing net for specific fish like bass and walleye because of the size of the hoop. The stainless steel body of the net will have no problem securing any fish you can bring within 48″ of the boat or fishing pier.
What To Look for In Your Landing Net
Landing nets come in handy after you’ve hooked a fish and reeled it in close. Big-game fishermen rely on extra-large landing nets with a wide hoop, while fly fishermen generally use smaller and more compact nets.
The products we’ve listed in this review vary in size, and we’ve mentioned which ones are suited for specific types of gamefish. However, regardless of the product, there are ubiquitous features you need to consider in any landing net. Keep reading to make sure you’re confident in which product you choose.
Pay Attention to the Netting Material
The most common netting material you’ll find are coated nylon, rubber, and non-coated nylon–and the webbing is either knotted or knotless.
In terms of humane fishing, coated nylon and rubber netting will make sure you don’t hurt the fish. Fish have a protective slime, so unless you’re planning on harvesting the fish, it’s best to opt for a kinder netting material.
Another reason to opt for coating is that a solid surface prevents tangles and hooks from getting caught in the material. When you snag a fish in your net, it’ll thrash around violently. If you’re netting isn’t coated, chances are you’ll catch a couple of hooks that damage the integrity of the material.
Hoop Size & Shape is Vital
The size and shape of your landing net are critical. You should purchase a landing net according to the size of the fish you’re aiming to catch. If you’re hunting larger fish like catfish, anything around 35″x 40″ is ideal. You’ll have an easier time catching bass and walleye with a hoop approximately 25″x 25″, and most fly fishermen opt for a roughly 12″x 16″ hoop.
The Length and Material of the Landing Net Handle
Depending on the type of fishing you’re planning, the size of the landing net handle makes all the difference. Shorter handles make sense for fly fishing, because you’re typically catching small fish and they’re easier to maneuver in a strong current. When you’re fly fishing, you’re closer to fish and so you don’t need a longer handle.
If you’re planning to fish in open water like a lake or ocean, longer handles will come in handy. When you’re confined in a boat, the longer handle means you can net the fish as its further out from the boat. The downside of a longer handle, of course, is that it’s harder to maneuver through the waves.
Regardless of the size of the handle, almost all modern landing nets feature a telescopic handle that compacts to make storage a breeze. While you’re waiting for a bite, the landing net can sit folded and collapsed, and you can quickly extend it for when you need it. This feature also means you can store more essential tools in your boat since the landing net isn’t taking up as much space.
Consider Accessories Like Magnetic Release
Another thing to consider with your landing net is the accessories included with your purchase. Many of the products we’ve listed in this review feature magnetic release tools. You connect the clip to your vest and clip the other end to your net. This helps keep your hands free until you actually need to use your landing net.
Frequently Asked Questions
What size landing net do I need?
The size of your landing net depends on the size of the fish you intend to catch. For fly fishing and smaller game, a more compact sized landing net will work just fine. These products also feature a shorter handle, so maneuvering the net through the water to land the fish is more comfortable in the stream of a river. This shorter handle size also means you’ll have to reel the fish in close, which then increases the risk of the fish slipping its hook.
As you keep progressing in size, you’ll need a larger landing net to catch these bigger gamefish.
Are rubber nets better for fish?
Yes, rubber nets and coated nylon nets are better for fish if you’re planning to catch and release. These textures reduce the chances of injuring the fish, or damaging the protective slime which prevents mold from growing on the fish.
If you’re going to catch and keep the fish you hook, this isn’t so much of a concern. Regardless, all of the products we’ve listed here feature rubber or coated nylon netting, and most of the landing nets you find will have this feature because it all helps the fishing net last longer.
Do you need a net for fly fishing?
You don’t need a landing net when you’re fly fishing, but I’ve never hit the river near my house without one. A landing net makes it easier to catch the fish you’re reeling in on the fly, and it decreases the chance the fish will slip your hook as you’re trying to reel it in close to you.
How do you measure for a replacement landing net
To make this easy, imagine the hoop of your landing net is a clock. First, measure from 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock and then from 9 o’clock to 3 o’clock.
These are the dimensions you need, and when purchasing the replacement webbing, keep in mind the shape of your landing net hoop. To assemble the new netting, separate the land net’s hoop from the handle. Then, weave on the newly purchased mesh by looping each of the perimeter rings until the entire hoop is covered.
Here’s a helpful video we found for those visual learners.
The Bottom Line
The industry of landing nets is diverse, meaning there are endless options from which to choose. To create this guide, we combed the industry for finalists, and relied on our personal experience, to create a resource for the best landing nets on the market. Taking into consideration the material of the netting, the length and durability of the handle and the overall quality of the product were just some of the factors.
Others, such as which products best serve the needs of different types of fishing, helped use decide on the PLUSINNO Landing Net series as our number one product. The ability to customize the handle length and hoop size means you can create a landing net to suit any need. Anything from fly fishing to saltwater game fishing stands to benefit from PLUSSINO’s industry-standard design and netting.
What more is that PLUSSINO’s landing nets collapse and fold to make for efficient storage. I can easily carry the product in my backpack when I’m fly fishing on the river near my home. Then, when I’m wading in the stream, the belt clip allows me to keep my hands free until I’m ready to land the catch.