Landing nets are really important for getting fish onto the bank. They're available in a variety of shapes and sizes and this guide will cover the most common types of landing nets and the best situations to use them. Alongside having a landing net you'll also want an unhooking mat. Here we have a Beginners Guide to Unhooking Mats which covers everything you need to know about unhooking mats and cradles for both coarse and Carp fishing.
NET AND HANDLE SIZE
One of the first things you need to consider when buying a landing net will be its size. You'll want to match the size of the net for the size of the fish you're going for. Typically for match fishing the most common net size is between 32 and 36 inches. Whereas for Carp and larger predator fish like Pike or Catfish the most commonly used net size is between 42 and 50 inches. You'll also want to pay attention to the nets depth. Generally for match fishing the nets are relatively shallow so the fish can be unhooked faster. However for the larger species it's important to have a deep net so they can fit inside it.
It's also important to consider the handle's length. Net handles are available as either separate sections or telescopic. Telescopic handled nets are compact and great if you're covering a lot of ground while fishing. Although shorter handled nets will generally be more stable, having a longer handle can definitely help you land fish that you aren't able to get close to the bank.
The two main net shapes are triangular and circular, also known as spoon shaped. Typically the rounded nets are less flimsy and mostly used for match and coarse fishing. However, when using a circular net you'll have to get the fish into the center of the net before it's safely netted. For larger species like Carp its best to use the triangular shaped landing nets. Generally triangular styled nets have the largest design and can also be pulled back through the water easier with a big fish inside. Also, it's easier to net a large fish due to the bottom of the triangle design. Generally once it's past that part of the net it's secure.
When choosing a colour for your landing net you'll want to opt for a darker colour which will blend into the water like a green or black. If you have a bright coloured net it can potentially frighten the fish even more just before you net it and you could lose the fish. Luckily there's plenty of nets with darker colours on the market.
NET MATERIAL AND MESH SIZE
The three main materials used within landing nets are non coated nylon, coated nylon and rubber. Non coated nylon nets are the least expensive, however they can have a rough texture which isn't great for landing fish and can flick scales off more easily. On the other hand, both coated nylon and rubber have a smooth texture. The softer texture makes it safer for the fish and easier for the fish to slide into. Also rubber nets don't absorb water so with a few shakes it's dry which can help reduce the nasty smell.
When it comes to mesh size, nets with larger gaps in the mesh can be moved easier through the water. However, If you mesh holes are too big it can cause damage to the fish as their dorsal fin is much more likely to get caught in them. Typically for larger species the mesh holes don't need to be any larger than 20mm.
A net float is a small buoyant piece of equipment that slides up to the end of the nets handle. Net floats will stop the handle from sinking through the water making it much easier to net a fish with one hand when you're on a solo session. The net float shown here is Aqua’s Net Float.
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