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Four top-rated fishing nets that won’t leave you empty-handed

Secure your catch.
Secure your catch. ( Raghavendra Saralaya via Unsplash/)

Not all fishing nets are created equal. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of models that promise to do effectively the same thing: bag fish. But, as any experienced angler knows, certain nets are far better suited for targeting some species than others. (We dare you to try to nab a big bull redfish with a tiny trout hand net.) We’ve rounded up four top-rated models, one of which is sure to suit your angling needs, whether you’re targeting trout, walleye and bass, or specks and redfish.

An affordable trout net, with a handy, built-in measurer.
An affordable trout net, with a handy, built-in measurer. (Amazon /)

You’ll struggle to find a quality, easy-to-carry trout net that’s more affordable than the 24-inch Ego Blackwater. It’s super-lightweight, at 14 ounces, and includes a built-in, retractable, quick-draw tether. Most notably, the bag has a measuring stick or sorts printed inside, for quick, hands-free sizing. It’s one potential shortcoming is that it comes with a nylon bag, as opposed to rubber, which tends to be easier on fish for catch-and-release.

A premium 26-inch net for diehard trout bums.
A premium 26-inch net for diehard trout bums. (Amazon /)

The Fishpond Nomad fly-fishing net is substantially more expensive than the Ego Blackwater, but if you’re a buy-once-cry-once sort of person, you’ll likely think it’s worth the cost. The 26-inch net is made of lightweight carbon-fiber/fiberglass composite that’s waterproof, buoyant, and effectively bombproof. The net comes standard with a clear rubber-net bag. If you’re hoping to return trout to the river unharmed, it’s widely held that rubber bags, compared with nylon ones, tend to remove less slim from catches and thus result in higher survival rates. Flies are also less prone to become tangled in rubber bags.

A sturdy, no-frills model designed for competitive bass and walleye anglers.
A sturdy, no-frills model designed for competitive bass and walleye anglers. (Amazon/)

Ranger nets excel at simplicity. They are in no way fancy. But, unlike many nets you can buy cheaply online, they’re sturdy as heck and promise to hold up from season to season, even under intense tournament use, for which they were designed. The aluminum 345RD is made to handle hefty bass and walleye from boats. It has a 36-inch, non-telescoping handle and an 18-inch-by-18-inch hoop, along with a deep plastic-rubber net, to prevent tangles and harming catches. Made in the U.S.A., it comes with a three-year warranty, on the off chance you do have issues with it.

A telescoping net with enough strength to handle monster speckled trout and redfish.
A telescoping net with enough strength to handle monster speckled trout and redfish. (Amazon/)

Telescoping nets are a mixed bag. Many aren’t as sturdy and reliable as you’d hope, and thus often end up hanging in the garage, seldom used. The Frabill Conservation Series Landing Net, meanwhile, is widely praised for its durability and strength. The handle extends from 24 inches to 48 inches, and its hoop measures 20 inches by 23 inches, the perfect size for speckled trout and redfish. And its knotless, specially coated mesh netting is designed to prevent fish injuries, for the catches you want to release.

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