As any kayak angler knows, getting a live fish into a kayak is no easy feat. It’s hard enough, as it is, to keep your balance, maintain control of your rod, and manage the fish on your line.
After so much work, it can be quite frustrating to lose your catch at the end of the fight while you’re awkwardly trying to pull it over the side.
That’s where a good kayak net comes in.
Having your kayak net on hand means you can lock your rod into your rod holder and quickly and easily move your catch onto your kayak.
To help you pick the right kayak fishing net for your needs, we’ve pulled together this buying guide so you’ll know exactly what to look for. We also have reviews of some of the best kayak fishing nets on the market.
- Best Kayak Fishing Net
- Kayak Fishing Net Buying Guide
- Kayak Fishing Net Reviews
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Best Kayak Fishing Net
Kayak Fishing Net Buying Guide
Buying a kayak fishing net might seem simple. It’s just a net on a pole, right?
Well, actually, there are a few more things to take into consideration before you head out to purchase a fishing net. Spending a few minutes thinking about what you need from your net could save you from a lot of disappointing moments watching fish swim away from you.
Type of Net Mesh
As a general rule, kayak fishing nets come in one of three types of mesh: nylon or nylon coated, rubberized, and knotless.
Nylon mesh is the most common of the three, and has the advantages of being lightweight, hook-resistant, and immune to damage caused by salt and UV rays.
Some nylon nets offer a knotless construction. Knotless nets are lightweight and less likely to damage the fish, or snag a hook, than a knotted net. They are also far less likely, by comparison, to get tangled than a knotted design.
Rubber mesh nets are considered more humane to fish because they are less likely to scrape off the fish’s natural covering of mucus or damage the fish’s gills, scales, and fins. Rubber nets are recommended if you’re planning on going “catch and release” fishing.
Size of Mesh
When buying a kayak fishing net, it’s fairly important to consider the size of the holes in the mesh. Before making your purchase, think about the kind of catch you regularly go for.
If you’re angling for delicate river fish, like a trout, then a micro mesh net with a mesh grid of 3/16 inch in size is recommended.
For larger fish, such as the largemouth bass, walleye, catfish, crappie, northern pike or trout, it’s best to opt for a mesh with larger holes, up to one inch in size.
The material of your kayak fishing net is another important consideration. If weight is a significant factor when it comes to your gear, then it’s best to select a rod with an aluminum or carbon fiber construction to keep the overall weight down.
If you’re looking to tackle larger fish, then a wooden handle will give you the durability and leverage you need. It should be noted that, in comparison to aluminum and carbon fiber, wood is prone to damage if exposed to the elements without protection.
If your net sees a lot of action, then you will need to periodically revarnish it to keep it in good condition.
Alongside weight, size is a standard consideration when it comes to kayak fishing gear. The last thing you want is your net taking up a large amount of space, especially if you’re in a diminutive fishing kayak.
Some nets offer a telescopic or folding handle as a space-saving measure, but it’s always best to check out the length of a net’s handle before committing to one.
Kayak Fishing Net Reviews
If you’re looking for a longer fishing net to catch fish further away from your kayak, then the Fiblink Folding Aluminum Fishing Landing Net has you covered.
Made from corrosion-resistant anodized aluminum alloy for both the handle and the hoop, the Fiblink Folding Aluminum Fishing Landing Net extends to a lengthy 37 inches while condensing down to a portable 23 inches. The net itself folds down onto the rod for easy storage.
The microfine mesh is made from durable nylon and is knot-free, making it kinder to fish and ideal for catch and release fishing. The net itself has a non-absorbent coating, and all of the components are non-rusting and saltwater approved.
If the Fiblink Folding Aluminum Fishing Landing Net has any downsides, it’s that the mesh non-rubberized. As such, if you’re looking to be as kind to the fish you catch as possible, you may want to look elsewhere.
The SF Fly Fishing Catch and Release Net is an ideal choice for catch and release anglers looking to cause as little damage as possible to the fish they catch.
Made from a soft, clear, rubberized material, the SF Fly Fishing Catch and Release Net is specifically designed to avoid harming the fish’s gill, scales, and fins. An added benefit is that the net won’t tangle, rot, or mildew.
The frame of the SF Fly Fishing Catch and Release Net is made of durable laminated bamboo and hardwood. It comes in square head, round head or teardrop designs.
The only drawback to this net is that it uses a paddle design, rather than a telescopic pole. This means that it has a very limited reach, although that might be a plus for those kayakers who have limited space.
To keep your net securely in your hand, the SF Fly Fishing Catch and Release Net comes with a magnetic clip attached to a safety cable that connects you to the copper swivel at the end of the handle.
If you’re looking for a simple and easy-to-use fishing net without any bells and whistles, then the KUFA Telescope Aluminum Landing Net is an excellent choice.
Made from strong but lightweight aluminum, the KUFA Telescope Aluminum Landing Net telescopes from a portable 27 inches in length to a lengthy 47 inches. The 16-by-16 inch triangular hoop supports a catch and release-friendly, knotless nylon mesh.
The KUFA Telescope Aluminum Landing Net blends a solid knotless mesh net with a lengthy telescopic pole made from lightweight aluminum. This combination makes for a simple but well-designed piece of equipment.
The PLUSINNO Fishing Net comes in four different sizes, including fixed pole (12-inch hoop size), 2 section telescopic pole (16-inch hoop size), 3 section telescopic pole (17-inch hoop size), and 3 section telescopic pole (20-inch hoop size).
This means you can take the excellent features that come as standard and apply them to a size and design the suits you best.
Regardless of the size and pole design, each PLUSINNO net is made from high-density carbon fiber blended with fiberglass to make the pole both solid and durable.
The waterproof nylon net is non-absorbent, so it won’t get heavy in the water, and the coating prevents bacteria and odor absorption.
The net’s knotless design makes it easier on fish and prevents both the net and fishhooks from getting tangled. The optional foldable and telescopic poles also come with a belt clip for ease of carrying and transportation.
If you’re looking for a net that can handle the rigors of catching larger and heavier river fish, then the steel-headed construction of the Wakeman Fishing Accessories Steel Frame Net might be exactly what you need.
Featuring a 16-inch long, single piece aluminum handle and a larger 10-inch deep net, the Wakeman Fishing Accessories Steel Frame Net is well-equipped for taking on the challenge of moving a large fish from the water into your kayak.
The durable nylon net is specifically designed for catching larger fish, with a 1-by-1 inch mesh that makes it unusable for smaller fish.
If you want a strong net for taking on the biggest fish the river can throw at you, then the Wakeman Fishing Accessories Steel Frame Net is a great choice. The drawback is that this net is not especially lightweight or portable.
The Wakeman Fishing Accessories Classic Landing Net is an excellent all-around net that can handle a range of fish sizes. It’s also telescopic and has a rubberized net that’s ideal for catch and release fishing.
The net is made from high-quality thermal plastic-rubber which prevents damage to fish, helps to eliminate tangles, and keeps your hooks from being caught in the mesh.
The wide net opening, coupled with its flat-bottomed basket, allows you to land fish of all sizes.
The retractable and corrosion-resistant aluminum handle extends from 35 inches to 56 inches when the handle is fully extended, making it well-suited for pulling in fish from further away.
The Wakeman Fishing Accessories Classic Landing Net is a fantastic choice for anglers looking for a lightweight telescopic net
KastKing MadBite Improved Fishing NetÂ
The KastKing MadBite Improved Fishing Net is our pick for best kayak fishing net because it combines a durable construction with a lightweight and convenient folding telescopic design.
The rubber-coated nylon fine-mesh net is resistant to tangles. It also protects your hook points from getting stuck in the net, and it won’t harm the fish’s scales or gills, which aids in a safe and quick release.
Even better, the coating on the mesh prevents it from absorbing water, so it won’t become heavy when immersed.
The pole of the KastKing MadBite Improved Fishing Net extends to 35 inches in length and folds down to a length of just 21 inches.
Made from durable E-glass, the KastKing MadBite Improved Fishing Net is extremely sturdy and will not dent or bend like aluminum. All the Karstking’s components feature a non-glare finish and are saltwater-safe and non-rusting.
To make it as easy to use as possible, the KastKing MadBite Improved Fishing Net also comes with a handy belt clip for easy transport.