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A kayak AND a net? You bet!
A net can be an essential piece of equipment for kayak fishing.
It can help you land your catch more easily than simply using your hands and it can be safer for the fish if you plan to release it afterwards.
A great kayak fishing landing net should be compact and easy to carry on board your boat. We have put together a short guide to some of the best products out there and the useful features you might want to look out for.
Top 5 Best Fishing Nets For Kayakers
1: ForEverlast Inc. Generation 2 Pro Non-Snag Floating Fishing Net (best overall)
- Length: 29 inches
- Weight: 12 ounces
- Hoop Size: 16 inches
This ForEverlast Inc. Floating Fishing Net is a lightweight landing net that is designed for kayak fishing. One of its main features is that it is built to float, meaning you can tether it to your boat and float it off the side if you need to.
Another great feature is its bright green color, so that it’s easier to see if you misplace it.
The net has a large teardrop opening that is 16 inches wide and just over 19 inches long. It also has a depth of 18 inches, which can be ideal for catching large bass. It can also be a good size for crappie and walleye.
The net is made from rubber coated nylon and is built to be non-snagging. It can also be used in both freshwater and saltwater.
A handy feature of this landing net is the retractable bungee cord within the handle. This can let you clip it to your gear or tether it to your kayak.
- Highly visible
- Non-snag mesh
- Large net
2: EGO S2 Slider Fishing Net
- Length: 29 to 60 inches (handle)
- Weight: 2.5 pounds
- Hoop Size: 17 to 24 inches
The EGO S2 Slider fishing net can be a great option if you are looking for a net with an adjustable handle. This telescoping handle can be extended from 29 inches up to 60 inches, making it ideal both for compact storage and open water fishing. The handle can be adjusted using a button to push or pull it out.
The EGO S2 is available in different hoop sizes, starting at 17 inches, giving you the opportunity to choose the best one for the type and size of fish you plan to catch. It features a PVC coated mesh that can be ideal for both freshwater and saltwater, but is also available in a variety of mesh fabrics for versatility and preference.
Another great feature of this landing net is that the pole is interchangeable with other products, such as a deck brush and lure retriever (sold separately).
- Extending handle
- Interchangeable with other compatible products
- Ideal for freshwater and saltwater
- Large hoop sizes
3: Plusinno Foldable Fishing Net
- Length: 27 inches
- Weight: 11 ounces
- Hoop Size: 12 inches
The PLUSINNO Foldable Fishing Net is designed to be lightweight and portable, making it ideal for kayak fishing. It can be folded down for easy storage on deck and measures just 17 inches when collapsed.
The 12 inch hoop size can be ideal for landing smaller bass and panfish, with the net having a depth of 7.5 inches. This means that it may not be suitable for some larger species, such as large catfish or muskie.
The nylon mesh net is knotless and features a waterproof coating to help prevent hooks from snagging, as well as improve durability. The pole is made from carbon fiber and fiberglass for strength and the handle benefits from having an EVA foam grip for traction and improved comfort.
- Collapsible design
- Ideal for pond fishing
- Knotless mesh
4: San Like Folding Fishing Net
- Length: 31.9 inches
- Weight: 13.5 ounces
- Hoop Size: 13 inches
This San Like Folding Fishing Net can be ideal for kayak fishing in freshwater. It is lightweight and features a folding aluminum pole for easier storage and benefits from a non-slip handle.
When folded, the pole measures just under 17 inches. It can also be folded easily simply by pushing a button.
The 13 inch wide net has a depth of just under 12 inches, so it can be suitable for catching a wide range of freshwater species. The waterproof net has a rubber coating to help prevent damage to fish scales, meaning it can be safer for catch and release fishing. This should also help to stop your hooks from getting caught in the net.
- Non-slip handle
- Rubberized mesh net
- Extending handle
5: Sougayilang Fishing Landing Net (best budget net)
- Length: 28.3 inches
- Weight: 11 ounces
- Hoop Size: 14.5 inches
This Sougayilang Fishing Net can be a great budget landing net for kayak fishing. It can be folded up into a compact size that’s convenient for stashing in your gear bag or securing on deck. Folded, the net, with the pole, measures 16.9 inches but features an extending handle that can be useful in larger bodies of water as well as smaller ponds.
The landing net has a 7 inch EVA handle for a comfortable grip. The net itself is made from a nylon mesh with a waterproof rubber coating that is designed to prevent damage to fish scales. The depth of the net is 12.9 inches and can be ideal for small to medium sized fish.
It also comes with a clip on a lanyard so that you can attach it securely to your fishing vest or to your kayak.
- Rubber coated nylon mesh
- Compact when folded
- EVA foam handle
What Features Make A Good Kayak Fishing Net?
The size of the net may be an important feature depending on the type or size of fish you intend to catch. Generally, the bigger the fish, the larger your net should be. This is so that your catch can fit comfortably inside the net, minimizing the risk of it escaping.
For example, if your net is too shallow or small for the fish, you may lose the fish before you’re able to bring it onto the deck. Conversely, if your net is too deep for your small catch, you may find that it’s a struggle to get it out of the net.
You may also want to check the size of the mesh. If you plan to catch small baitfish, you should make sure the mesh holes are small enough to trap the fish. Smaller sized holes can also be useful for catching other fish, such as trout.
For larger fish or some saltwater species, you may find that it’s easier to use a net with larger mesh holes, as this can be easier to move through the water when you’re scooping up your catch.
If you plan to catch a variety of different species, you might find that you need more than one size of net, as there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Most landing nets will often be made out of a type of mesh fabric. Many of them will feature a nylon material and some will have an additional rubberized coating.
The rubber coating can be better if you’re planning to catch and release the fish. This is because the rubber coating can help to prevent injuries to the fish so that the fish has a higher chance of survival once released.
Many fishing nets are designed with a knotless construction which can be beneficial because it usually helps to stop your hooks getting caught in the mesh, meaning you can retrieve your catch more easily.
The material of the pole or handle will often vary, depending on the type of net. Many handles will often be made out of aluminum or a combination of fiberglass and carbon. You can also find nets with wooden handles.
The material that suits you best will probably come down to personal preference and budget. Nets with aluminum handles will generally be less expensive than a high quality and lightweight wooden one.
Some handles will also come with a foam grip which can add buoyancy as well as provide comfort and traction, making it both easier to hold and pull your fish in.
The length of the handle can be an important factor to consider when choosing the right landing net. Handles with extending poles can be useful if you think you might need to reach further or deeper in the water to retrieve the fish, for example in more open water.
Shorter handles can be ideal for catching fish in close proximity to your boat and can be easier to stow in your kayak. A net with a short handle can also be better suited to smaller bodies of water, such as streams and ponds.
You’ll often find fishing nets that have folding or collapsible handles. This can be great for increased portability and can take up less room on deck. Some of them can even be clipped to your belt or vest.
A fishing net that floats is pretty much essential for kayak fishing, where items probably have a higher chance of ending up in the water than fishing from larger vessels. A floating fishing net can be more easily retrieved if you do happen to drop it.
However, it may be possible to add foam to your landing net if it doesn’t already float. You can do this by using the foam from a pool noodle, for example, and securing it around the handle. You could also add a lanyard and attach foam for additional buoyancy.
Should I Use Fish Grips Or A Landing Net?
Fish grips or lip grips can be useful for landing fish that may have sharp teeth or be more difficult to control. They are designed to let you handle your catch more safely than simply by using your hands. This can help to protect both yourself and the fish.
However, fish grips are generally not designed for landing your fish but they can help, particularly if you’re kayak fishing and your catch is close enough to your boat.
A fish gripper can also be beneficial as it can minimize the fish’s contact with other surfaces, such as the deck of your kayak or the material of the net, while you remove the hook.
Fish grips can be a better tool to use if you’re trying to land a larger fish that might be too big for your net. However, you should wait till the fish is tired out enough that it’s not going to pull you in the water or capsize your yak.
Video: Fish Grips vs. Landing Net
You should also make sure that you don’t pull the fish entirely out of the water with the fish grips. You should help to support the body of the fish with your other hand, otherwise you could injure the fish. This will likely be more important if you plan to catch and release rather than keep it.
A landing net can be quicker to land a fish than a fish grip because you can swiftly scoop the fish in the net rather than try to target its mouth with a fish gripper, which can take some time and usually requires the fish to be pretty close to your boat.
Depending on the material and design of your net, your hook can become tangled in the mesh, which can make it trickier to remove the fish from the net.
You don’t need to simply use one or the other. You can use both a net and fish grips to help you land your catch. The net can help scoop it from the water quickly and the fish grips can help you retrieve the fish safely from the net.
If you’re after the best kayak fishing net we think the clear winner from our selection is the ForEverlast Generation 2 Pro landing net. It is brightly colored for increased visibility. It’s lightweight and more importantly it has a non-snagging knotless mesh with rubberized nylon for added durability and damage prevention. It also has a retractable lanyard and it floats, making it ideal for kayak fishing.
However, another quality option is the Plusinno Fishing Net because of its collapsible design that can make it a convenient size for storing in your gear bag or on deck. It can be ideal for kayak fishing in smaller bodies of water and benefits from knotless mesh to help stop your hooks from getting tangled.
A great kayak landing net will be the one that suits you and this may not necessarily be any of the products from our top five. It can be worth checking that the net you choose is recommended for the type and size of fish you want to catch and is suitable for catch and release if necessary.