Landing nets – Buying Guide, Review and Comparisons

 

There are so many varieties of fishing supplies to choose from that finding the right tool for your needs might often prove to be a chore. Fishing nets are no exception. Luckily for those of you who would rather spend their time catching fish than comparing stats, we’ve churned through all of the best landing net reviews online and found the model best suited for most circumstances: The Fiblink Folding Aluminum Fishing Net. Both amateurs and experts alike appreciated the versatility offered by its long extending handle, which is surprisingly sturdy and lightweight despite consisting of three separate sections for easy folding. We’ve also taken the more ecologically minded into account: Wakeman’s 80-FSH5003 model is specifically designed for catch and releases fishing, although in most other areas comes short of the Fiblink model.

 

 

Comparison table

 

 

 

Our top choices

 

Fiblink Folding Aluminum

 

What sells the Fiblink fishing net is the remarkable versatility offered by its three sections extended handle, especially since this feature doesn’t negatively impact its ruggedness and weight.

Arguably the best landing net handle on the market, there are three different lengths to choose from: 44 to 60 inches; 45 to 80 inches and a whopping 59 to 118 inches (*total length of the item). While 118 inches is long enough for thing like lobstering, the 45 to 80-inch model seems to be preferred by customers as the most practical all around.

Fully extended, its handle will provide more than enough reach for fishing off the land, while its compact size when folded makes it very easy to handle within the narrow confines of a boat. A true jack of all trades, it might not be the best landing net for kayak fishing, but it certainly can handle the job.

The two rigid pieces, handle and hoop, are built from extra corrosive-resistant hard anodized aluminum, making it both sturdy and durable. Its reliability is attested by the small number of complaints to be found parsing through customer reviews.

The 53-inch diameter triangular hoop allows for a 17-18 inch opening at its tip, which makes it suitable enough for large fish without adding much weight at the end of a long handle.

Pros

Three sections extended handle offers remarkable reach and versatility without any significant downsides.

Can be purchased in three different handle lengths to suit every need (most clients seem to prefer the medium one).

Equally suited for fishing on land and from watercraft as small as a kayak.

Very wieldy due to its light weight and moderate hoop size.

Buoyant (doesn’t sink when dropped) which translates into more points for reliability.

Cons

While a jack of all trades, only master of… some. Customers noticed that its light weight and dense grid mesh make it merely “workable” for lobstering and fast stream fishing.

The ruggedness of its nylon mesh may damage struggling fish, making it unsuitable for catch and release fishing.   

Click to see the price on Amazon!

 

 

 

 

Wakeman 80-FSH5003 

 

If you want to enjoy a nice quiet day luring fish without negatively impacting the local fauna, this is the product for you!

It has a fairly wide basket, with a relatively large 20 inch maximum opening at the usual 17 inches of depth. This, together with a certain degree of rigidity offered by the large gridded mesh ensures that the basket maintains its shape even when handling good sized fish. This will make it a lot easier for you to discard its content, in whatever way you see fit. The soft, plastic-rubber mesh stretches with the fish’s body and doesn’t catch on to either scales, gills, or your own hook will ensure that this live content will remain unharmed, for safe dispatch back into the water.

While these special features do impose a cost on weight and maximum reach, the Wakeman net is reliable, buoyant, sturdy, scores some points in handling for having a big basket, and is remarkably cheap for the materials used in its construction.   

Pros

Specifically designed to facilitate catch and release fishing. If a fan of the practice, this should be the ideal net for you.

The soft rubber meshing is soft and elastic, reducing the physical stress imposed on the fish.

The wide open basket is designed to reduce entangling, allowing you to release your catch back into the wild easily (or into your icebox!) with just a flip of the net.

Remarkably inexpensive for a rubber net.

An all around okay product for most needs. It’s sturdy and resilient, relatively easy to handle.

Cons

Although extensible, for more versatility and portability, the handle’s overall reach is relatively small.

Fairly heavyweight. At just about four pounds it could prove tiresome to use with one hand (But hey! That soft rubber mesh has to impose some sort of cost after all.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($27.09)

 

 

 

 

MadBite Foldable

 

MadBit is undoubtedly innovative and open to employing the new technological advancements in the fishing supplies industry. A lot of these made it to the final design of our featured product. First and foremost, its fine-grid mesh enjoys a special coating, which makes it both water repellant and easy on the fish’s body. This means that the mesh doesn’t soak, which makes it lighter during use, and doesn’t catch on to hooks, fish scales, and gills.

Another fine feature is its portability. It can be folded into a neat 21-inch package that fits basically anywhere around a car or boat, and thanks to a convenient clip it can be attached to a belt for easy carry on foot. The anodized aluminum handle can be freely extended to whatever length fits you best.

It comes in three hoop sizes: of 16, 20 and 24 inches of maximum width. All of them are triangular in shape for ease of handle and made out of a special extra-strong fiberglass composite.

More complexity also means more weight and more things to go wrong, however.  

Pros

Its telescopic handle is freely adjustable, meaning it can be set to whatever length the user is comfortable with.

The light nylon mesh is treated with a non-absorbent coating making it harder to soak, and therefore, it’s easier to handle when pulled out of water.

Entirely foldable which makes it very easy to carry. Can easily fit any fishing bag and most tool boxes, or be carried at the belt.   

Its special coating also makes it tangle-free and safe for catch and release.

Cons

Although generally well received by users, the reliability of this alternative doesn’t seem to be on the same level to other top of the line product. The excellent customer service and warranty makes up for this downside however.

Lack of buoyancy means you are at higher risk of losing the net if you drop it in the water.

Click to see the price on Amazon!

 

 

 

 

Buying guide

 

Like with everything else, there’s hardly a one-size-fits-all answer to what is the best landing net. A net perfect for carp fishing, that has received good  reviews, might not be so well suited for pike, eel or shark.  

In the hopes it will assist you in choosing the best fishing net for your particular needs, we have compiled a short list of things to look out for when deciding what to buy.

Handles

Long handles are very useful when fishing from land or when luring fish that tend to stay away from boats. If fishing from a boat, you also have to consider the space you have available. Long handles might prove cumbersome when used from a smaller watercraft, so always look at the gunnel height and storage capacity of your boat.

It is generally advisable to opt for more manageable short handles when river or stream fishing and long handles that offer better reach when lake fishing.

Luckily, most of the better fishing nets you can buy right now have extensible handles, that can be adapted to fit any situation. Telescopic handles used to have reliability and weight issues in the past, but with today’s material advancements these have been successfully ironed out. Really, there isn’t any reason not to go for an extensible handle, for both versatility and portability. The more it extends, the better!

As for materials, anodized aluminum is somewhat of a standard in the field. It offers the best strength to weight ratio and is known to last for a long time. Certain fiberglass composites and wood grains are used for more deluxe or flashier models, but they rarely justify the added cost.

 

Mesh type

The primary factor here is whether or not you intend to keep your catch. Nylon is known for its resilience, its lightweight and low cost, while it is also fairly resistant to hook entanglement and UV discoloration. It is, however, abrasive enough to damage fish scales and gills, making it ill-suited for catch and release.

Rubber is both soft on the fish’s body and doesn’t remove the natural slime that some species need to survive. It’s the ideal choice for catch and release, although it comes with extra weight and cost.

There are also knotless meshes, which due to their light weight and weaving pattern work best for fishing in fast streams or rivers. They are not prone to damaging the fish but aren’t as durable as nylon nets.

In regards to mesh grid size, small “micro-meshes” work well for all but the largest of fish.

 

Hoop

When it comes to the diameter of the hoop, there’s a trade-off between size and controllability. A larger sized “basket” makes it easier to scoop bigger fish. But since more bulk translates into more weight at the end of a handle, this will make for a less wieldy, more tiresome to use landing net overall.

Choose carefully and always consider that the longer the handle, the heavier the hoop and mesh will feel in your hand. Don’t always go for the widest hoop, since big fish can be handled just as well by medium sized nets with some operator skill. Consider that many of the best rated products out there have relatively small hoops, generally coupled with an impressive reach.

As for the shape, most manufacturers favor triangular hoops, since this feature offers the greatest maximum width for the least added weight. It is also an inherently sturdy geometrical form. Round hoops are better for catch and release fishing, since they are less prone to entanglement.

Brand reputation

You shouldn’t be buying from a manufacturer who doesn’t trust his own product enough to cover the costs in case of a breakdown. Most good brands out there generally offer a one year warranty for their fishing nets.

 

 

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