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How many times has it happened, get the bite, a good hook set, play the fish, get it right to the side of the kayak, you reach for it and it comes off. Could have been your biggest bass ever, maybe a tournament qualifying fish, possibly your fishing for food, either way your fish is gone. For years I didn’t carry a net and then one afternoon I was fishing with one of my children. A jig bitten bass was diving under the boat, the reel drag was screaming and because for some reason that day I had loaded a net into the boat I was able to scoop up 9 ½ pounds of largemouth bass.

Nets like many other types of fishing tackle have come a long way. They range from tiny trout nets to gigantic long handled, deep basket nets capable of handling monster catfish, stripers, musky or lake trout.

Going Nuts Over Nets | Kayak Fishing
We’ve migrated to having nets for the more conservation minded fishing folks. Nets that get the job done of landing the fish and also aid in the successful release of your catch if that’s your aim. The development of rubberized netting helps greatly in ensuring that the fish have an excellent chance of survival after their meeting with the catch and release angler. The rubber is less likely to injure the eyes, gills or fins of the fish. In the case of the scaled fish that also rely on their slime coat to battle bacterial infection again the rubber especially of wet gives them a reasonable rate of survival.

Another fishing factor is that ability to unhook your catch. The old style nets created the possible nightmare of the hook / hooks to get caught in the nylon or rope style netting. For those who like to cast crankbaits the multiple treble hooks make the rubber models very desirable. From the standpoint of the angler wielding the net a longer handle decreases that chances of a long lean over the gunnel of the boat and the potential for a tip over or falling out trying to claim your catch. With space and room to operate in a kayak or other smaller craft at a premium extending handles are a plus. I store my net behind my seat for easy reach when called upon in the heat of the action. There are also floating models and tethers attached on some versions.

Going Nuts Over Nets | Kayak Fishing

I recommend you check out R S Nets USA the “Smalljaw” model, long extending handle and cavernous deep net 18 inches dep and 18 inches across to 48 inch retractable handle that will allow for just about any size fish, made in the USA (an added plus for me was the red, white and blue basket). Also the Pro Fish Gear floating net with an 18 inch deep capacity and a long tether. There are other nets available that fit your boat and budget, so you don’t have to go nuts over nets.