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Best Kayak Fishing Net - Landing Your Catch In 2022

Written by: Pete D
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Kayak fishing offers unique challenges. In addition to handling your kayak on the water, perhaps modifying your casting technique, and taking tackle organization to the next level, you’ll need to really consider how to maximize space.

The puzzle is how to fit all the things that every angler needs on such a small platform, and from fishing electronics to tackle storage options, you’ll need to rethink how you approach angling.

That’s true for landing nets as well, and the larger, longer models that are common to boaters just won’t fit well on a 12-foot ‘yak!

Don’t worry: if you’re in need of a landing net for your kayak, we’ve got you covered. We’re experienced kayak anglers ourselves, and we’ve reviewed a few of our favorite options.

Quick glance at the best kayak fishing nets:

Related:

Best Kayak Fishing Nets Reviewed

Sunshine Fishing Fly Fishing Landing Net

SF Fly Fishing Landing Soft Rubber Mesh Trout Catch and Release Net with Silver Magnetic Net Release Combo Kit

Amazon 

Handle material: laminate bamboo and hardwood

Size: (head) 9.5” x 16” x 10”; (handle) 8.3”

Mesh material: rubber

Hoop shape: rounded teardrop, squared-teardrop, and long oval

Kayak anglers know that space is at a premium, and while you might not be chasing trout, everything from crappie to smallmouth, and flounder to largemouth, will fit in Sunshine Fishing’s Fly landing Net.

Three hoop shapes are available, and each of them is long and wide enough for fish as long as 20 inches or so, given hoop dimensions and net depth. That’s a great size for lots of applications, and the short overall length makes this a great option for kayakers while still providing enough reach to scoop a fish up from the cockpit.

Multiple mesh sizes are available, but I recommend larger holes and bigger mesh to minimize scale damage for catch and release.

As an added bonus for kayak anglers, these nets use a magnetic lanyard that keeps them ready to use but out of the way. And if you drop Sunshine Fishing’s landing nets overboard, they float, so no worries!

Overall, these are well-designed and constructed, and though intended for trout anglers, they make excellent all-around landing nets for kayak fishermen.

Pros:

  • Very strong handle
  • Awesome rubber mesh
  • Excellent choice of hoop shapes
  • Fantastic lanyard system

Cons:

  • Not a good fit for larger species like catfish, redfish, or snook

Wakeman Fishing Rubber Landing Net

Wakeman Fishing Retractable Rubber Landing Net - 35 Inch Handle

Amazon 

Handle material: wood

Size: 28” (overall length); 12.5” (hoop width)

Mesh material: rubber

Hoop shape: round

For kayak anglers on a tight budget, Wakeman Fishing’s Rubber Landing Net makes a lot of sense. It’s a quality product at a very attractive price point, and it more than gets the job done.

Wakeman Fishing uses a wooden frame and handle on this net, and it’s well-finished, attractive, and strong. The handle is longer than the similar Sunshine Fishing model, and the hoop is a bit larger, too. That, in combination with a 14-inch net depth, allows you to scoop up pretty big fish, and I wouldn’t hesitate to use this on everything from specks to largemouth.

The net is made from quality rubber that minimizes tangles and avoids most attempts by a sharp treble to puncture it. It’s also very gentle on the scales of any fish you plan to release.

Of course, at this price, something’s gotta give, and you won’t find a nice magnetic lanyard on this net. Instead, it wears a more old-school design that secures to your wrist.

But for anglers who balk at more expensive nets, Wakeman Fishing has a product that works really well without breaking the bank.

Pros:

  • Very strong handle
  • Awesome rubber mesh

Cons:

  • Standard lanyard isn’t as handy as the magnetic option offered by Sunshine Fishing

Frabill 3058 Sportsman

Frabill 3058 Sportsman 17'X 19' Td - 36' Fixed Handle (Clr Rbbr)

Amazon 

Handle material: aluminum

Size: 17” x 19” (hoop); 36” (handle)

Mesh material: rubber

Hoop shape: round

Kayak anglers don’t just chase small species, and from reds to snook, catfish to walleye and pike, big fish demand an equally big net. Frabill’s 3058 Sportsman fits the bill perfectly, providing a big hoop and a long handle that give you plenty of reach and leverage.

Simple, strong, and well-executed, Frabill’s Sportsman provides enough reach to work forward of the cockpit or comfortably net a fish while holding a long rod. The 36-inch aluminum handle provides roughly 55 inches of total reach, and it isn’t going to bend or collapse under the weight of a monster.

The 3058 features a ⅜-inch rubber mesh that stretches under load, growing to accommodate heavy, long species.

While this net is on the long side, for bigger fish, that’s pretty much a necessity. And when you’re trying to net a struggling snook, you’ll be glad you've got that much reach.

My only complaint is that the dark mesh can spook fish, and I’d love to see a clear option on offer.

Pros:

  • Very strong, very light handle
  • Nice, rubber mesh that’s deep enough for big fish
  • Excellent hoop size for large fish
  • Plenty of reach

Cons:

  • Dark mesh can spook fish

EGO S1 Genesis Landing Net

EGO S1 Genesis Floating Fishing Net, Fishermen’s Tool, Salt & Freshwater, Non-Slip Grip, Compact Storage, Lightweight, 30+ Attachments, Warranty

Amazon 

Handle material: aluminum

Size: 17” x 19” (hoop); 25” (handle)

Mesh material: rubber

Hoop shape: squared teardrop

Ego’s S1 Genesis Landing Net is a worthy competitor for the Frabill Sportsman, and for kayak anglers targeting large species, it may be the best way to go.

While multiple handle lengths are available, I really like the 25-inch option. That length, in combination with the 19-inch hoop, provides plenty of reach while keeping overall length pretty manageable.

The hoop and handle are made from high-quality aluminum, so strength and durability are not an issue.

My choice and recommendation is to go with the rubber net, which protects fish better than nylon and tangles less, too. EGO’s S1 is plenty deep enough for real bruisers, and everything from pike to walleye will find space enough in this big hoop.

One place where the EGO outclasses the Frabill is security: the EG S1 floats, so dropping it in the drink isn’t the end.

Pros:

  • Very strong, very light handle
  • Awesome rubber mesh that’s deep enough for big fish
  • Excellent hoop size for large fish
  • Plenty of reach 
  • Floats!

Cons:

  • ???

YakAttack Kayak Folding Leverage Landing Net

YakAttack Kayak Folding Leverage Landing Net, 12' x 20' Hoop with Foam Extension

Amazon 

Handle material: aluminum

Size: 12” x 20” (hoop); 56” (overall)

Mesh material: rubber

Hoop shape: square

YakAttack’s Landing Net is a revolutionary product for kayak anglers, solving two problems simultaneously. First, its folding design minimizes already tight space, and second, its unusual handle design improves leverage, making it easier to net big fish one-handed.

This net features a large, squarish hoop and a deep rubber net that accommodates big fish. Pike, walleye, reds, snook, big bass: they’re all going to find a place in this net. And the durable aluminum used to create the hoop and handle isn’t going to give under load.

When not in use, the hop folds back, minimizing space. That’s a clever design, and for kayak fishermen who need a really big net, it’s an essential.

As good as that is, it only gets better when you try to net a big fish one-handed. The unique bend in the handle and forearm rest work together to provide substantial leverage, making the heavy lifting a lot easier. That’s a big deal when you try to land a monster, and if you’ve worked with standard designs from a kayak before, you know just what I mean.

Overall, for kayak anglers chasing really big fish, this is the net I’d recommend.

Pros:

  • Very strong, very light handle
  • Awesome rubber mesh that’s deep enough for big fish
  • Excellent hoop size for large fish
  • Plenty of reach 
  • Folds
  • Provides fantastic one-handed leverage

Cons:

  • ???

What We Consider When Selecting a Fishing Net

kayak fishing net considerations

Handle length and design

Big boats with tall gunwales demand long-handled nets. That’s just common sense.

But that’s not a problem kayakers face, and short-handled nets work just fine, with the added advantage of being easier to store on a crowded ‘yak.

If you’re someone who likes to keep it simple, and you primarily fish for species no bigger than largemouth bass, a simple, short-handled design will help you land your catch and be easy to keep out of the way when it’s not needed.

But for larger species like snook, reds, walleye, or pike, a larger net is going to be necessary. 

And if you’ve ever tried to lift 15 to 20 pounds one-handed in a landing net, you already know that the extra reach the net affords also creates a leverage disadvantage that multiplies every ounce.

Designs like YakAttack’s really make a lot of sense for kayak anglers chasing big fish - something you’ll know first-hand when you net a 25-pound snook!

Hoop size and shape

kayak fishing net hoop size and shape

If you try to land a fish with a net that’s too small for it, it’ll squirm its way free, possibly injuring itself in the process.

That’s not good for you, for the fish, or for the sport.

Look for a net with a hoop and depth that’s big enough to completely swallow the size fish you’re after. 

A properly sized net will hold a struggling fish securely, swallowing it deeply. 

kayak fishing net catches large fish

Mesh material

Three mesh materials are common, but only one really protects the fish you catch. In contrast to nylon, coated nylon, and knotless nylon, only rubber mesh minimizes handling time and scale/mucous damage.

Nylon is tough material, and it can really take a beating--but it’s also a bit rough on your fish. Especially for catch and release, this isn’t a great choice for more delicate species.

Sometimes coated to reduce its propensity to damage delicate scales, the only real drawback of nylon for big, tough bruisers is how easily sharp hooks end up embedded in it--and just how hard they can be to remove without damaging the mesh!

And coated or not, nylon landing nets increase handling time in a recent study of catch and release angling.

“[E]xtended handling times were noted for several mesh types (i.e., knotless nylon micromesh and rubber‐coated nylon mesh) relative to bare wet hands because of hook entanglement in the netting material. However, using bare wet hands to land Brook Trout resulted in higher odds of the fish being dropped into the bottom of the boat. We concluded that the large, knotless rubber mesh was the least damaging to Brook Trout.”

Rubber mesh is increasingly common, especially for catch and release anglers.

The rubber is gentle on the scales and gill plates and helps to keep your catch in tip-top shape. It’s also the best at preserving the mucous coating on fish, keeping them healthy and happy as you return them to the water.

It’s also really hard - I won’t say impossible! - to snag a hook in rubber mesh, making them easy to use and reducing handling time.

kayak fishing net rubber mesh

Knotless mesh designs are meant to be ultra-smooth, forgoing the usual knotted nylon mesh designs in an effort to spare more fish. And while the advertising hype suggests that they’re good for the fish, unfortunately, that’s far from the case.

As the Chinook Observer reports, “Knotless nylon mesh had the highest frequency of scale loss. Similar in frequency for scale loss was bare hands and rubber-coated nylon mesh.

The knotless nylon mesh most frequently caused mucous loss, about 1.5 times the loss of bare hands.”

Knotless mesh also attracts hooks like a magnet, increasing handling time substantially.

We will only recommend rubber mesh landing nets in an effort to protect the sport we love for future generations.

Final Thoughts

We can’t tell you which landing net is best for you - only you know what you need and can afford.

But we can tell you that you’ll be happy with any net on our shortlist, and all of them are excellent products that will get the job done if you do your part by selecting the right size or your quarry.

As always, we’d love to hear from you, and we’re here to field any comments or questions you might have. 

Please leave a message below!

About The Author
Pete D
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Pete grew up fishing on the Great Lakes. When he’s not out on the water, you can find him reading his favorite books, and spending time with his family.
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