A fishing net is an essential tool in every fisher’s tackle box. Well, even the most compact fishing nets cannot fit into a tackle box, but you get the idea. There are many styles of fishing nets (which are also known as landing nets) to choose from, and the best fishing nets for each style may be fashioned in completely different ways from one another. That’s why we’ve provided a list of several of the best fishing nets below for you to consider.
After reviewing many different fishing nets we have identified the best available for multiple types of fishing. While examining each fishing net we considered factors such as net basket size, overall material quality, and handle reach in choosing our top picks, and then we compiled a detailed rundown of many more quality fishing nets to help you identify the best one for your specific needs.
We looked at dozens of fishing nets and have chosen the SF Rubber Mesh Fishing Net as our overall top pick. It feels great in your hands, has the right size of net basket for freshwater fishing, and is safe for a catch and release style of fishing where you would want to avoid causing the fish you catch any unnecessary harm.
In This Article
The 5 Top-Rated Fishing Nets
|Best Fishing Net Overall||SF Rubber Mesh Fishing Net||4.5|
|Best Kids Fishing Net||ODDSPRO Kids Fishing Net||4.9|
|Best Budget Fishing Net||PLUSINNO Folding Fishing Net||4.9|
|Best Long Reach Fishing Net||KastKing Madbite Fishing Net||4.3|
|Best Pier Fishing Net||Frabill Pier Net||4.6|
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Best Fishing Net Overall: SF Rubber Mesh Fishing Net
For landing a trout, bass, pike, or any other freshwater fish found in the lakes and streams of the world there is no better overall landing net than the SF Rubber Mesh Fishing Net. This net is adequately sized for the majority of freshwater fish and is the right choice for those who want to catch and release the fish they hook. The soft rubber netting won’t further harm the fish, and because the netting is virtually invisible when underwater it won’t spook the fish you’re trying to catch.
This teardrop-shaped fishing net measures 25 inches from end to end with a nine-inch handle and a net basket that is 16 inches long by 11 inches wide and 10 inches deep. There are also square and round-shaped versions of this net available with similar dimensions. The frame is made of a rigid hardwood that is sandwiched between pieces of laminated bamboo, giving this fishing net a distinct and attractive look. The wooden frame is protected by a waterproof coating and floats on the water’s surface.
A secure bolt has been drilled into the handle. This is where the included bungee spring cord can be connected, as well as its carabiner and quick-release magnetic clip. This design makes storage secure and easy, and that magnetic quick-release clip enables you to react at a moment’s notice when you hook a big fish. Each element of this fishing net has a special quality to it that makes it stand out, yet each piece works harmoniously with the rest of its construction to make it the best fishing net on the market. It’s a wonderful net, and it comes backed by a one-year warranty to boot.
SF Rubber Mesh Fishing Net Key Features:
- Clear rubber net
- Floating hardwood and laminated bamboo handle
- Teardrop, round, and square basket designs available
- Magnetic release and carabiner clips
Best Kids Fishing Net: ODDSPRO Kids Fishing Net
Just because this is a kid’s fishing net does not mean that it has to be low quality and ineffective. The ODDSPRO Kids Fishing Net is quite the opposite, actually. This telescoping fishing net is made from sturdy, lightweight materials like aluminum and carbon fiber that, dare we say it, might even make the adults jealous of how well this net performs. ODDSPRO makes a number of top-tier fishing nets, and they didn’t take any shortcuts when designing this stellar kids fishing net.
The net basket is comprised of a polyester webbing that is attached to a corrosion-resistant aluminum ring. Polyester is more durable than other fishing net materials, making it a better choice for children who may play with it and scrape it against rocks or the hard ground. The aluminum ring is strong yet lightweight so that children can easily lift the net even when it is fully extended. A rotary switch resides where the basket meets the handle arm, allowing you to completely detach the basket as a compact storage solution.
The telescoping handle has a single twist-lock extension mount that enables the extension of the fishing net up from 28.4 inches to 40.3 inches in length. Capped off by a soft, slip-resistant EVA grip, the handle arm is made of ultralight and rustproof carbon fiber. A small lanyard loop is installed at the end of the handle. Users have reported catching everything from small bass to frogs and butterflies with this net. It’s colorful, durable, and it actually works as a fishing net. Your kids are going to love it.
ODDSPRO Kids Fishing Net Key Features:
- 40.3-inch length at maximum extension
- Telescoping handle arm
- Lightweight aluminum and polyester net construction
- EVA-coated carbon fiber handle
Best Budget Fishing Net: PLUSINNO Folding Fishing Net
The PLUSINNO Folding Fishing Net is a go-anywhere fishing net thanks to its easy-to-store foldable design. This could easily be your go-to fishing net for most lure-tossing occassions, and it is certainly a convenient option for people who like to fish from their kayaks and canoes where storage space is limited. It’s an average-sized net that reaches 24.5 inches from end to end, but when folded that size drops to a compact 17 inches, which is the size of the net basket.
Because it has a short handle, you’ll always have the right grip and leverage to pull in the fish you catch. The large basket is 17 inches long by 12 inches wide and has a depth of 10 inches. Featuring a coated nylon mesh in a hexagonal design, the basket is strong and will not easily become tangled with hooks or cause damage to a fish’s scales. The flat, linear bottom the net is designed to hold a fish’s weight across its even plane which also reduces the risk of injury to the fish.
Both the basket hoop and the handle frame are made from an aviation-grade aluminum alloy, and the handle is then covered in a slip-resistant polyurethane grip. Where the handle and hoop meet there is a hinge that is triggered by a push-button mechanism to fold the handle over and into the basket net. This hinge is stable when locked into its extended position, yet folds easily when the button is pushed and the lock is pulled back. The end of the handle has a small lanyard loop.
PLUSINNO Folding Fishing Net Key Features:
- 24.5-inch length
- Hexagonal nylon mesh
- Slip-resistant polyurethane handle
- Foldable push-button design
Best Long Reach Fishing Net: KastKing Madbite Fishing Net
Compact and lightweight are not necessarily terms you would think could be associated with a long-reaching fishing net, but they are truly descriptive of the KastKing Madbite Fishing Net. While this telescoping landing net can extend up to an impressive 76 inches of overall length, it can also be compressed and folded down to a packable 33 inches for easy storage and its aluminum construction keeps the weight to a modest two pounds.
Bigger fish require bigger net baskets, and the KastKing Madbite has that covered as well. The squarish net basket measures 24 inches long by 20 inches wide and is 24 inches deep. It features a strong aluminum rim and a rubber-coated nylon mesh net that has a flat bottom. The design ensures that fish won’t be unduly harmed while it flops around in the net, making it an excellent choice for both fishers who want to keep their fish and those who prefer to catch and release. Each fish that you catch can be quickly measured using the 24-inch ruler that has been imprinted on the handle arm.
There is no confidence-evaporating flex or a noticeable weak point where the handle meets the basket as the folding mechanism is comprised of industrial-strength graphite to ensure maximum durability. The graphite is secured in place with stainless steel screws, and the folding mechanism is protected by a two-step unlocking process.
KastKing Madbite Fishing Net Key Features:
- 76-inch length at maximum extension
- 24-inch deep basket
- Graphite folding center yoke
- Ruler imprinted on the telescoping arm
Best Pier Fishing Net: Frabill Pier Net
There’s no better heavy-duty pier fishing net than the Frabill Pier Net. Featuring a solid steel hoop and thick black ply netting, this net can catch and hold a heavy load of fish without issue. Also included with the net is a pre-rigged 50-foot rope that is securely attached to three points on the net’s steel ring. The rope’s length and net’s strength combine to make this the ultimate pier, dock, and bridge fishing drop net.
We’ve read numerous user reviews where people have lauded this net’s fish-catching capacity. It’s a popular choice for coastal residents and visitors alike who go pier fishing, particularly in Florida, where pier fishers claim to have hauled in three-foot-long blacktip sharks, 80-pound rays, and large steelhead with this net. The strength and capability of the Frabill Pier Net is top-notch, and we think it’s the best choice for catching large fish or even the occasional crab.
But not everyone needs a pier net to catch large fish. This pier net’s netting has 1.5-inch holes, which is fine when you’re aiming for rays and sharks, but not so much for minnows and crawdads. If you’re out for the small fry, we have several other tightly-woven pier net recommendations for you listed further below.
Frabill Pier Net Key Features:
- 36-inch diameter steel hoop
- 36-inch deep black ply netting
- 1.5-inch net holes
- Pre-rigged with a 50-foot rope
Who Should Buy a Fishing Net
Whether you’re a seasoned fisherman who heads out to the waterways every chance you can, or you’re taking your family out on their first fishing trip for the year, you should have at least one good fishing net. Fishing nets are almost as vital for any type of fishing as is a fishing rod. Every person who fishes should buy a fishing net to make their experience better and increase the chances that they will land the big one.
Kids love to play with fishing nets, which is why we included a selection of children’s fishing nets for you to consider. They can be great fun even when the kids are playing on the shore of a lake or stream where only tadpoles and small fish can be found.
Pier fishing is an entirely different method of fishing that often involves catching baitfish such as minnows or small crustaceans like shrimp and crawfish. If you like to fish, there’s no better way to catch your own bait than to spend some time at the dock or a waterway bridge where you can use a drop net to trap some bait. Some areas of the world also provide excellent pier fishing opportunities for larger sea creatures like rays and steelhead.
No matter how you fish, you need the right gear to have a successful fishing trip. We recommend that every fisherperson has a fishing net, and we can also help you equip yourself with other necessary fishing gear like the best lures and flies.
Important Features to Consider
There are a few important considerations to think through before purchasing a fishing net.
- Fishing net length. The longer the net, the less you will have to reach. You may not require a long net if you are flyfishing or lake fishing from a rowboat as you will be close in proximity to the fish as you reel them in. Kids nets are best kept short as well because children don’t have the strength and dexterity needed to handle a long-reaching net. You will need a long net when ocean fishing or beach fishing because in these situations you will likely pulling in large fish that are far away from where you will be positioned. There are solid-handle long-reaching fishing nets available on the market, but most people will benefit more from a telescoping handled net that can reach far when needed and be compacted to a small size for storage.
- Net depth. Net depth is a key factor in how large of a fish you can land with the net. The diameter matters as well, but the deeper a net is the more securely it can hold a flailing fish, reducing the chances that it will accidentally escape.
- Net material. Nylon nets are strong, but they can damage a flailing fish by scraping away at their scales and natural exterior oils. Most nylon nets are coated in anti-snag slippery substances to reduce this effect. Clear rubber nets are soft and prevent fish from damaging themselves in the net, and they’re also virtually invisible when underwater which makes it so that they are less likely to spook fish, but they can’t hold heavy loads of fish easily without breaking.
- Handle material. The handle material determines your grip and comfort as well as the strength and longevity of the net itself. Laminated wood, stainless steel, aluminum, carbon fiber, and plastic are all common handle materials. Some are more durable than others, and some are more slip-resistant when held under wet conditions. Cheap metal nets tend to corrode and rust as well, so it may be worth spending a few extra dollars to ensure that your net will last for many fishing trips to come.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does a fishing net work?
There are multiple ways to use a fishing net, but the general idea is that a fishing net is used to help you land a fish and pull it into a boat or onto the shore after you have hooked it and reeled it in. The fishing net makes it easier for you to lift the fish and reduces the chance that the fishing line will break or that any unnecessary harm may be accidentally caused to the fish.
Fishing nets can be used as a complete fishing tool in and of itself, too. Bait fishers and children often use nets to scoop up minnows or tadpoles that are easy to collect and make for great bait for catching larger fish. Pier fishing nets take this to the extreme by setting up an underwater trap for fish and then quickly pulling in the net once some fish have found their way into or above the net.
How many types of fishing nets are there?
There are dozens, and there is sure to be a specialized version of each net designed specifically for any type of fish that you can think of. They’re all made of different materials, designed with different basket shapes, and have varying levels of reach. We’ve condensed the wide-range of net types into general fishing nets, kids fishing nets, telescoping or ‘long reach’ fishing nets, and pier fishing nets. Each of these has multiple levels of subcategories that can be explored, but, frankly, we think for most people a net is a net and that these four categories contain enough variety for most people to consider.
Do you need a net for fishing?
It’s not strictly required, but it makes fishing much easier. There’s always a chance that you could lose your fish after reeling it in and a net reduces the chances that you will lose that fish. With how difficult it can be to catch a fish in the first place, we recommend having a suitable net so that your experience doesn’t get ruined by a slippery runaway.
How do you land a fish without a net?
You can land a fish by reeling it in and lifting the fish with the fishing line, but this is risky as the line can easily break by doing this. Alternatively, you can reach into the water and hook the fish through its mouth and gills with your fingers, but this method can hurt you and the fish. A net is the safest and most effective option.
Other Fishing Nets We Reviewed
We looked at 20 other fishing nets. Even though they didn’t make our five best fishing net list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option for landing that big fish that you’ve been patiently waiting for. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.
This Creative Angler Fishing Net has an attractive wood handle and basket rim that is fitted with a 10-inch-deep rubber net that’s in a teardrop shape. It’s 25 inches from end to end and 11 inches wide. This net is a great size for fish up to about 20 inches in length.
- Clear rubber basket
- Easy hook release
- 25 inches end to end
Designed for saltwater wade fishing, and works excellently in other fishing applications as well, the Foreverlast Generation 2 Fishing Net will make a great addition to any fishing trip. This net will float in fresh or saltwater, and it has a bungee cord attached to the handle with a clip for secure storage. The net is coated in rubber to prevent harm to fish so that you can safely practice catch and release.
- Rubber-coated netting
- Floating frame
- Bungee cord on the handle with clip
The clear rubber mesh of the NetAngler Fishing Net won’t scare away nearby fish as it effortlessly blends into the water environment. When you land a fish in the net the mesh will not harm the fish or its natural oil coating, and hooks will not get tangled in the material. A swivel clip and cord are attached at the handle and feature a magnetic clip release so that you can access it in an instant the moment a fish strikes.
- Clear rubber basket
- Laminated wood handle and basket rim
- Magnetic release clip
Perfect for trout fishing, the OSDDSPRO Fly Fishing Landing Net has a wide and deep basket meant for fish less than a foot in length. The 8.5-inch handle features a textured non-slip coating to ensure a solid grip, and it has a collapsible handle with the push of a button for compact storage.
- Carbon fiber and fiberglass handle
- Rubber-coated nylon mesh
- Collapsible handle
The Trademark Innovations Fly Fishing Net is the net to get for anglers looking to land large trout. It measures 35 inches from end to end which includes a 20-inch long net that drops 10 inches deep. The glossy, long-reaching wooden handle is comfortable to hold, and the rubber net is the modern gold standard for river fish.
- Clear rubber net
- Marble wooden finish
- 35 inches end to end
Kids Fishing Nets
There are several bright colors to choose from in the ILLUMINET Kids Bait Net lineup. They each have a long 24-inch reach that is capped off by a deep eight-inch mesh net. Though simple in appearance, this net is an excellent option for kids as it floats, doesn’t rust, and its long reach lets kids scoop further without getting too close to the water.
- Multiple color options
- Floating polypro construction
- 24-inch reach
A great way to get your young child excited about fishing is to equip them with gear that’s branded with their favorite cartoon characters like this Kid Casters Paw Patrol Fishing Net. Boy and girl versions are available. This is a net that is comfortable to hold with its rubber grip and it has a large 12-inch net to scoop with.
- Boy and girl versions available
- Rubber grip
- 18-inch reach
The PLUSINNO Kids Fishing Net is an adult-like fishing net that is best for older children who can confidently work its telescoping handle and comfortably hold out its 42.2-inch maximum reach. This colorful net has a soft non-slip handle, a collapsible design, and has a large net basket that is 11.4 inches deep.
- 42.2 inches maximum length
- Telescoping aluminum handle
- EVA slip-resistant handle
This Shakespeare Barbie Fun Fishing Net and its Spiderman counterpart (see link) are meant for toddlers and can be thought of more as toys than true fishing nets. They’re excellent for a day at the beach or a riverside trip with the family, but they won’t hold much more than tadpoles or minnows.
- 16-inch length
- Barbie and Spiderman designs
- Meant for toddlers
Long Reach Fishing Nets
The EGO Reach Fishing Net is the official net of Crappie USA because it was designed to meet the needs of serious crappie anglers, though it can also be used for perch, bass, and other similarly-sized fish as well. This next extends up to 8.5-feet in length with its three-piece quick-twist telescoping design that EGO claims is easy to hold and operate with a single hand.
- Extends to 8.5 feet
- PVC or rubber-coated netting options
- Quick-twist telescoping design
The Fiblink Telescoping Fishing net is an aluminum alloy fishing net fitted with a slip-resistant polyurethane handle and a hydrophobic nylon net. It extends out to a whopping 118 inches, but also collapses down to a compact storage size thanks to its well-engineered folding handle and net construction.
- 118-inch maximum length
- Folding net and handle design
- One-year warranty
Intended for bass, trout, and walleye-sized fish, the Frabill Conservation Series Net is a well-rounded medium-sized net setup for safe catch and release fishing. It has a flat, linear net bottom that supports the weight of the entire fish, and its tangle-free micromesh is coated to prevent hooks or fish from becoming entangled with the net.
- Extends to 71 inches
- Linear bottom supports the weight of the fish
- Tangle-free micromesh netting
The Frabill Trophy Haul Fishing Net gives you the leverage you need and luxuries you desire in a net intended to land big, heavy fish. This net features a powergrip yoke handle where the net meets the handle arm to give you the best balance when hauling in a hefty fish, and it has LED net lighting for unbeatable visibility when fishing at night or during the early morning hours.
- Extends to 72 inches
- Linear bottom supports the weight of the fish
- Powergrip yoke handle with light
Perhaps the most compact of long reach fishing nets, the PLUSINNO Telescoping Fishing Net breaks down into a small package that includes a belt hook for convenient carrying, but also unfolds into a long-reaching finish net with an incredibly deep 17-inch triangular net.
- Extends to 59 inches
- Foldable net and handle
- Belt hook for easy carry
Pier Fishing Nets
The Douglas Net Company Drop Net can be directly dropped via a rope, but it is also lightweight enough to attach to most fishing pole lines. The cotton mesh is finely woven together, making this a great option for minnow fishing from the dock, and it’s rectangular design covers a large surface area.
- 36-inch cotton net
- Lightweight 1.25-pound design
- 1/8-inch mesh holes
The Easy Big Foldable Fishing Hand Net is everything that its detailed name suggests that it should be. It’s an excellent pier fishing net that can haul in everything from small minnows to larger fish and even crabs and lobsters. This net expands to a large 39-inch diameter when unfolded, but when packed away it is smaller than 15 inches across.
- 39-inch nylon and steel net
- 13.7 inches deep
- Includes a 13-foot rope
Designed in much the same way as the previous pier net we described, this Feililion Pier Fishing Net is made of the same materials and can be used to catch fish and sea creatures of different sizes included minnows, trout, shrimp, crawdads, crabs, and lobster. This net is a bit smaller than the last, and it is lighter.
- 39-inch nylon and steel net
- 11.8 inches deep
- Weighs 8 ounces
Budget Fishing Nets
Though the Magreel Fishing Net is affordably priced, it’s no slouch when compared to other triangular telescoping fishing nets. The aluminum rod can be extended using a twist-lock telescoping mechanism, and the entire tool can be folded down into a small, easy to carry package that has a convenient lanyard loop. It also has a 10-inch net depth.
- 39 inches when fully extended
- Foldable net and handle
- Anti-slip handle with carrying lanyard
The RESTCLOUD Fishing Net has dual twist-lock telescoping mechanisms that give this net an impressive 52-inch reach from end to end. This specific aluminum model is the least expensive of three available versions, the other two being made from stainless steel and carbon fiber. All three versions are budget-friendly alternatives to more premium nets, so give them a look by clicking this net’s product link to see which version you like best.
- 52 inches when fully extended
- Foldable net and handle
- Aluminum, stainless steel, and carbon fiber handles available
This Wakeman Retractable Fishing Net is available in several different sizes, all at budget-friendly prices. This specific model is the shortest and least expensive of the bunch, but if you need a longer reaching net that reaches 28, 56, or 64 inches you should give this product link a click and take a look at the longer versions of this product. They’re all inexpensive for their size.
- 25-inch overall length
- Different budget-friendly lengths available
- 10-inch deep net