When you start getting into fishing, you think about fishing rods, reels, lures, etc. But rarely do people think about fishing nets. It is usually an afterthought because, in 90% of the cases, people just grab the net that’s hanging off the wall at their local fishing store and move on with the trip.
While there’s nothing wrong with that, you want to make sure that the nets you are using are specific to the species of the fish that you are planning to catch.
I know, all nets look the same, so why should anyone bother to get a different net for different species of fish?
That’s what I will be covering in this article. So you can know exactly what kind of net you should be using for bass. But not just for bass, you will know which net to use for any kind of fish that you catch.
So without any further ado, let’s just jump right into it.
What Should You Be Looking For In a Net?
Yes, all nets look the same. But….
Your Target Species
It all depends on what kind of fish you are planning to catch. In this article, we are going to be focusing on the best bass fishing net. But most people are into all kinds of fish. I’m one of those people who want to learn how to catch almost every species of fish out there.
Whether that is northern pike, walleye, etc.
For bass, you need a net that has a smaller hoop and a shallow net. Because bass by nature is smaller fish compared to walleye and catfish.
There are different types of nets that are available.
Knotted and knotless, coated nylon, rubber, non-coated nylon, you name it, they’ve got it.
So here’s the difference between each of them.
Coated nylon and rubber – these are the most fish-friendly nets out there. They are smooth and do not scrape the scales of your fish or remove their protective slime.
If you are going to catch and release the fish, then coated nylon and rubber nets are the best. You want to avoid your fish suffering unnecessarily.
Non-coated nylon and knotted nets – these are the more abrasive nets out there. You should get these nets if you are planning to keep the fish. Because these scrape their scales and also remove their protective slime, you should only choose this net if you are planning to cook the fish.
In general, though, you should always go for a mesh-treated net. Sure, they are a tad bit expensive than the non-mesh-treated nets, but treated nets always deliver better performance.
You get fewer tangles because of the rubberized materials and their rigid property compared to a non-treated mesh.
Another thing you should think about is the mesh holes. Like I mentioned above, there are different nets for different species. You just have to know which species you are going to fish for that day and get that net.
For example, if you are planning to fish bass and walleye, then you will need a heavy mesh with holes that are about an inch in size. These are smaller holes in comparison. If you are planning to catch larger fish, then you should go for a net that has larger holes, about 1.5 to 2-inch holes is what I recommend.
The larger mesh does make your job easier because, with the larger holes, there is less water resistance. So you can move the net through the water easily compared to a net with smaller holes.
Net handles depend on what you prefer. Most fish net handles are made from wood, fiberglass, aluminum, or composite. Obviously aluminum and fiberglass are stronger so most people go for that. And they also have a minimalist look and feel to it, and minimalism is all the craze these days.
If you are old-school, then you might prefer a well-crafted wood handle. But you need to make sure that you have an eye for it. If you choose the right wood handle, it will have an incredible natural look and will also be lightweight and strong. Almost as strong as aluminum and fiberglass.
Once you decide which handle you want to go with, you should also decide the length of that handle.
Small handles are great because you don’t have to worry about them not fitting in your car. The problem is, you will have to get the fish to come close to the boat to be able to net it.
On the other hand, longer handles work very well in deep waters when the waves are high or when you are in a deep V hull boat. It all depends on what kind of situation you will find yourself in.
If you want to keep your options open, then you should go for a telescoping handle. These handles have grown in popularity recently because you can retract them for better storage but you can also expand them if you want to fish in deeper waters.
But even with telescoping handles, they come in various lengths. So you will have to decide what length is the longest you can go.
The hoop size depends on the type of fish you are planning to catch.
For bass, a hoop that is 19 to 23 inches in length is perfect. Depth should be 16 inches deep.
Anything less than 19 inches and you will find yourself with a net that is better for smaller fish, like a panfish.
If you are a multi-species angler like me, then you might only need one net and you’ll be fine.
But if you like to go for larger fish every now and then, then you might need to buy 2 different nets. For larger fish like northern pike, you will need a net that is larger than what you would use to catch bass.
Best Bass Nets For Fishing Alone
If you are going to be fishing alone, then the Frabill Power Stow Net is the best net for you. You can easily control it and it also has a telescoping handle. So you can extend it from 30 inches to 48 inches. But you have to make sure that you are locking in your telescoping handles correctly.
I have heard a lot of people say that their telescoping handles collapsed when they were trying to catch a fish.
The Frabill Power Stow Net comes with a coated micro mesh flat bottom net. This is the perfect net for someone like me.
Sometimes I like to go on fishing trips and just catch and release. I don’t plan on bringing any fish back with me. So the coated mesh helps keep the fish not get injured, while I can have my fun. And when I do decide to bring some fish back, I can do that without having the fish go through so much pain of knotted mesh and whatnot.
Another great net you can go for is the Ranger Nets telescopic handle net. This one is very similar to the Frabill Power net but it weighs more. 2 ½ pounds compared to 2 pounds. And it also has a shorter retraceable handle. 29 inch X 45 inch.
Which Bass Fishing Net Should You Buy If You Are On a Budget?
Well, if you are on a strict budget of let’s say $50, then you wouldn’t go wrong with the Ranger 400 Series Pear-D Landing Net. This one has a 36-inch handle, a 22 x 20-inch hoop, and a 30-inch net depth. It is perfect for multi-species fishing and obviously, it is perfect for catching bass.
The downside is that the net does not have any coating, so you might not get as good a performance out of this one as the coated ones. Also, the fish you catch may get abrasion from this net. Another thing to note is that this one does not come with a retractable handle. The 36-inch handle is a fixed handle.
All in all, this is a great net for someone on a budget or if you are just starting out and getting your feet wet (no pun intended ?).
I hope this article helped you with deciding which net you wanted to buy.