Gear Essentials: How to Choose the Right Net

There comes a time in every fly fishing trip where you think to yourself “man I wish I had a bigger net.” Surely we can all relate to that statement or at least wish we had our nets with us when a monster brown is playing tug of war at the end of our line. A landing net is an essential piece of equipment that all fly fishermen should have in their arsenal, but the question is, “what type of net do I need?” We have just the answer for you! Here, we at Flylords break down the advantages and disadvantages of landing nets and which net suits your style of fishing.

The Importance of Having a Net

Having a landing net in your arsenal is something that we can’t stress enough. We all know that fish are delicate species in a sense and they need to be handled with care to preserve their life as best as possible. Think about it this way, when a fish hits the bottom of your net, use the care and attention you would if you were handling a newborn. Returning the fish to its natural habitat as quickly as possible is of top priority. Having a net makes this process a whole lot easier. Nets allow anglers to limit the amount of handling taking place while also keeping the fish submerged underwater; this is vital for a healthy release. Moral of the story, invest in a net. It is a lifesaver for sure and the fish you catch will appreciate it as well.

The Question Remains, What Type of Net Do I Need?

Anglers know this first hand, fly fishing offers a sense of versatility making each of our experiences on the water unique to us. That is the beauty of this sport, but there are types of equipment with specific benefits for certain situations. A landing net is one of those pieces of equipment. Modern landing net brands offer various basket and handle lengths, and these two features should be considered when analyzing your common fishing scenarios.

Short Handle Small Basket Nets

There always comes a time and a place where a large net may not be necessary based on the type of fishing you are doing. If you find yourself buried deep in the mountains searching for native brook trout, wild rainbow trout, or wild brown trout, then a short handle small basket net is perfect for you. A smaller net comes in quite handy when trapezing through thick brush or heavy mountain laurel. Smaller nets tend to be more lightweight and easier to transport when hopping from stream to stream.

Short handle nets can also be used by the average fly angler who hits his/her local water every week. Or maybe you are the type of fisherman who primarily wades to cover water. In these cases, there isn’t a need for larger nets and a smaller handle will suffice. Shorter handles and smaller baskets can offer some drawbacks as well that aren’t huge but are some things to think about. Depending on where you’re fishing, smaller nets will require longer fight times and may lead to more difficulty landing fish.

It is important to be aware of your net size and the species that will fit in your net. Small handle and small basket nets are perfect for your smaller to moderately sized species such as trout, bass, white fish, grayling, etc.

Long Handle Landing Nets

So yeah you may fish smaller waters at times but most of your time is spent on larger bodies wading or floating in a drift boat. Long-handled landing nets are the nets for you. Longer handle nets provide anglers with an advantage due to the ability to net the fish sooner than someone using a somewhat smaller net. Typically, longer handled nets feature a larger basket as well, perfect for Muskie, Steelhead, Salmon, etc.

Longer handled nets provide many key advantages and disadvantages that should be considered. Having a longer handle allows anglers to reach further, shortening the fight with the fish. This not only improves your success rate, but it’s also much healthier for the fish and substantial for their life. Nothing is worse for fish than unnecessary stress and so longer handles reduce that worry. While the size of the net is perfect for landing fish, it can make packing a little more difficult. These nets are cumbersome and require a good bit of space. While some may prefer longer nets no matter the location, they are advised for large bodies or on boats.

If you take a float trip with a guide on any river in the world, you will likely find a long-handled net. The goal when paying for a guide is to catch and land fish right? These nets are preferred by guides to make their clients experience more enjoyable. The added length makes landing fish on drift boats or other watercraft much more efficient. If you find yourself in need of a longer net, that advantages far outweigh the disadvantages!

Net Recommendations

Short Handle Nets

Fishpond Nomad Hand Net – $125.95

Image Courtesy of Fishpond


  • 26” Length
  • Weight with rubber bag: 400g or .88lbs
  • 13” W x 18” L Head
  • Bag depth of 12″


  • Carbon Fiber & Fiberglass composite
  • Waterproof/weatherproof & buoyant
  • Clear rubber net bag
  • RiverKoat finish (Rubberized paint for the greatest grip when wet)

Shop here!

Rising Brookie 10 Hand Net 

Image Courtesy of Rising


  • American Made
  • Anodized Aluminum
  • Knurled Texture on Handle for grip
  • Rubber Net Bag available in Black or Clear
  • Measurement indicators on hoop – 10″, 12″, 14″, 15″
  • Custom acetal bolt to hold hoop to handle securely, while allowing easy dis-assemble and re-assembly for replacing bags or travel
  • Threaded sealed end-cap makes for water-proof storage in the handle or a streamside flask
  • Hoop is 16″ Long, Width tapers from 11.5″ – 5″, Net Bag is 8.5″ deep but stretches
  • 10″ Handle Net is 28″ long including Hoop
  • Colors – Orange, Red, GunMetal, Wasabi, Blue, Purple, Black, Pink or Mix Colors for TwoTone
  • Unconditional Warranty – excluding net bag in most instances.

Shop here!

Long Handle Nets

Fishpond Nomad El Jefe Grande Net – $219.95

Image Courtesy of Fishpond


  • 52.4” Length
  • Weight with rubber bag: 610g or 1.3lbs
  • 13” W x 21.75” L Head
  • Bag depth of 14″
  • 27″ scaled ruler on the handle


  • Carbon Fiber & Fiberglass composite
  • Waterproof/weatherproof & buoyant
  • Clear rubber net bag
  • RiverKoat finish (rubberized paint for the greatest grip when wet)
  • Scale on handle

Shop here!

Orvis Brodin ECO-Clear Guide Net – $189.99

Image Courtesy of Orvis


  • USA-made PVC-free clear plastic net bag
  • Sustainable plantation-raised teak wood
  • Industrial-strength polyurethane finish
  • Reinforced yoke
  • Inlaid mother-of-pearl measure marks
  • 49″ long

Shop here!

There are many net options in the fly fishing world. We hope this helps when choosing the best net for your style of fishing. Grab your pack, stay safe, and hit the water!

Written by Flylords Content Team Member Grant Michaels. Check out what he is up to here: @gemichaels.

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