Losing a fish before you even had a chance to land it is such a frustrating moment, huh? I know, I’ve been there – and that’s exactly why I’m telling you this:
You need to include a fishing net in your gear.
Kayaks are pretty compact – which makes landing fish tricky enough. Now, add maintaining your balance, keeping control over your paddle and fishing rod, and handling a live catch into the mix – and, well, you get my point.
It almost sounds impossible, right?
So, do yourself – and the poor fish – a favor, and choose the best kayak fishing net!
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In A Hurry? The Winner After 35 Hours Of Research:
ForEverlast Inc. Generation 2 Floating Fishing Net
Why is it better?
- Has a rubber-coated, non-snag netting that’s gentle on the fish
- Suitable for catch-and-release fishing
- The net has a total length of 29 inches, so it’s super-compact
- The tear-shaped measures 16 x 19 inches, and the large opening makes it suitable for landing fish of all sizes
- Features a retractable bungee cord built into the net’s handle for tethering
- It’s designed to float, meaning there’s no risk of losing it in the water
- Available in bright colors, including orange and green, making the net harder to misplace
- The net weighs less than one pound and is highly portable
Do I Need A Net For Kayak Fishing?
Sure, technically speaking, a rod is all you need to catch some fish. However, handling live fish in a tiny plastic boat tends to be a lot more challenging than most people realize.
Don’t believe me? Well, kayak anglers let me ask you something:
Have you ever lost the fight while attempting to land a fish from your ‘yak or managed to get it onto the deck, only to have it flop and trash around between your legs before jumping back into the water?
It’s a rather discouraging moment, isn’t it – especially if you fought hard to bring it in.
So, while I do agree that a net isn’t an absolute must, it does make the whole ordeal of landing a fish a lot easier and reduces the risk of losing your catch. More often than not, it’s safer for you, too – especially if you’re dealing with large, toothy fish or risk getting poked by their sharp fins.
Oh, and there’s one scenario where a net makes all the difference – catch and release fishing.
It’s much better for the fish to get netted than to have it trash around on your kayak’s deck while you try to remove the hook.
How To Choose The Best Kayak Fishing Net: All Your Questions Answered
Yeah, you know what a fishing net looks like – but are you sure that you know how to choose the right one for your intended use?
If your answer is anything other than a loud “Yes,” I recommend going over the following section before getting to the kayak fishing net reviews.
What Is The Best Size Of A Fishing Net?
I think it goes without saying, but:
The size of your kayak fishing net will be a vital consideration here – and the size and type of fish you plan on catching will be the most significant factor.
The bigger the fish you intend to catch, the bigger your net should be. That’s rule number one – because having the right size minimizes the risk of the fish escaping.
So, be sure to check the size and depth of the fishing net’s hoop.
Next, check the size of the actual mesh.
If you plan on catching smaller fish species and baitfish, you’ll want to ensure that the holes are small enough to trap your catch – rather than allowing it to escape. On the flip side, larger saltwater species call for larger mesh holes because the net will be easier to move through the water.
What Is The Best Material For Fishing Nets?
Okay, I think one thing’s pretty obvious here – your fishing net will be made of some sort of mesh material. The real question is:
What kind of mesh fabric?
More often than not, it will have nylon netting – although some might have a rubberized coating in addition to the nylon.
Now, here’s something I’d like you to keep in mind:
You should aim for netting material that’s soft and won’t hurt the fish – especially if you intend to release the fish into the water unharmed.
In that sense, nylon with a rubber coating will be more fish-friendly; nylon alone tends to be a bit harsh. For best results, opt for knotless mesh construction that won’t get tangled with the hooks.
However it is possible to rubberize your fishing landing net as a DIY project – check out the video below
As for the handle’s material, it’s mostly a matter of preference. Aluminum and a combination of carbon fiber and fiberglass are the two most common options you’ll find on today’s market.
What’s The Right Handle Length For A Fishing Net?
Shorter handles are great to land fish in close proximity – and they’re easier to stow in a kayak. However, longer handles allow you to reach further and retrieve fish that’s further – or deeper – in the water.
The body of water you’re fishing in is a major factor here. Longer handles are better suited for open waters, while shorter ones work best in streams and ponds.
As you can imagine, this is also a matter of portability.
While fishing kayaks tend to be significantly bigger and broader than your average recreational ‘yak, you’re still tight on space – and that means you should carefully assess whether or not the net will fit.
My advice is to look for collapsible or folding handles if you’re worried about taking up space on the kayak’s deck or portability. Telescoping handles that can be extended as needed are a safe bet.
Is The Net Floatable?
When you’re fishing from a kayak, there is usually a much higher chance of some of your gear ending up in the water; that’s just how it is. So, I’d say it’s pretty apparent why having a net that floats would be highly beneficial:
If you happen to drop your net in the water, it’ll be much easier to retrieve than one that doesn’t float.
That said, if you like a particular fishing net but it doesn’t have a floatable design, that might not be a deal-breaker. You could make a DIY floating net by securing some foam from a pool noodle onto the handle or attaching some foam onto the lanyard.
Either way, there’s a pretty simple way to address the issue of non-floatable design.
How To Clean Kayak Fishing Nets?
Yes, fishing nets are generally pretty durable and designed to catch fish – but sometimes, there’s some gunk and funky residue that needs to be cleaned. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a moldy, bacteria-ridden net – often accompanied by the smell of rotten fish.
Sounds lovely, huh?
The good news is that nets are generally easy to clean.
For rubber-coated nets, spraying them off with fresh water and wiping them down after each use is generally enough.
If you have a nylon net, though, you’ll have to put in a bit more effort into maintenance because the nylon tends to absorb smells and bacteria. So, give it a good soak in hot water first, then use a brush to scrub away any dirt and debris.
When you’re done, just hang it out to air-dry – and it’ll be good to go for your next fishing trip.
Best Kayak Fishing Nets – Top 10 Picks Reviewed & Rated
Best Modular Kayak Fishing Net
EGO S2 Slider Fishing Net
Right off the bat, I have to tell you – the EGO S2 Slider is among the most versatile fishing nets currently available on the market. And no, that’s not just some empty promise:
The net comes with a telescoping handle that can extend from 48 to 108 inches at the push of a button, meaning it nails the perfect balance between portability and usability – especially in open waters.
That’s not all, though. The EGO S2 Slider sets an entirely new standard regarding construction, boasting a modular platform that will essentially allow you to use more than 30 interchangeable attachments – besides the net, that is.
Of course, you’ll have to get those separately – but it’s still worth mentioning here.
As for the hoop, it measures 17 inches and is made of clear rubber – and to make things even better, it’s designed to support up to 30 pounds worth of fish. Impressive, right?
- Aluminum handle and clear rubber netting
- 108-inch total length
- 17-inch hoop
- Weighs 3 pounds
- Modular design with over 30 available attachments
- The telescoping handle extends to 108 inches
- Capable of holding 12 to 30 pounds worth of fish
- Suitable for use in open waters
- It’s on the heavier side
- The most expensive fishing net I’ve reviewed
- You have to get the interchangeable attachments separately
EGO S2 Slider is more than a fishing net. It’s a modular platform that can be transformed into – well, whatever you need it to be. If you have the money – go for it!
Best Collapsible Kayak Fishing Net
PLUSINNO Fishing Net Fish / Landing Net
The PLUSINNO fishing net is all about portability and lightweight design – and depending on the type of fish you plan on catching, you can choose among four different hoop sizes, ranging from 12 to 20 inches.
I’ve opted for the 16-inch hoop version because I feel like it offers the best value for your money – but again, that’ll be a matter of intended use and preference.
PLUSINNO’s 16-inch model features a telescoping, three-section pole made of carbon fiber and fiberglass, complete with a skid-resistant EVA foam grip. As for the actual net, it’s made of nylon with a non-absorbent coating to prevent any moisture and odor from lingering around.
The net’s perfectly suitable for catch-and-release practices, thanks to the knotless, fish-friendly design that won’t damage fish scales.
It’s not designed for netting heavier fish, though; I’m not sure the handle would survive weights of more than a few pounds.
- Carbon fiber and fiberglass handle and coated nylon netting
- 38-inch total length
- Triangle-shaped 16-inch hoop
- Weighs 0.88 pounds
- Has a three-section, composite-material pole
- Features a skid-resistant EVA grip
- Nylon mesh has a non-absorbent coating
- Knotless and suitable for catch-and-release practices
- Has a belt clip for portability
- Collapsed down to only 17 inches
- The locking mechanism is cheaply made
- The handle feels like it will snap if used for heavier fish
If you want to keep things as compact and lightweight as possible, PLUSINNO’s fishing net with a telescoping handle and collapsible design is a safe bet.
Best Budget-Friendly Kayak Fishing Net
RESTCLOUD Fishing Landing Net with Telescoping Pole Handle
Okay, what if you want something reliable and long-lasting – but you’re working with a somewhat tight budget? Then I’d suggest looking into the RESTCLOUD fishing net.
Thanks to the corrosion-resistant aluminum handle, this fishing net is suitable for both fresh and saltwater use and promises reliable, long-term performance.
Furthermore, the telescoping handle extends from 18 to 36 inches – and, together with the hoop, it gives you a total of 50 inches to work with length-wise. The actual net has a 16-inch hoop and a depth of 12 inches, and it’s made of lightweight, soft mesh fabric.
Plus, the entire net is foldable, so it remains compact and pretty easy to store.
The netting isn’t rubber coated, but if you take good care of it, I’m sure this won’t be a problem.
I’d recommend that you avoid using it for fish that weigh more than 3 pounds, though. It doesn’t handle higher weight very well.
- Aluminum handle and nylon netting
- 50-inch total length
- 16-inch hoop
- Weighs 0.75 pounds
- A budget-friendly option
- The telescoping pole extends up to 36 inches
- The entire net is collapsible for compact storage
- Suitable for fresh and saltwater uses
- Extremely lightweight construction
- The netting isn’t rubber coated
- Not suitable for catch-and-release fishing
- The handle is a bit flimsy and might break easily
Okay, sure, RESTCLOUD’s net is far from perfect – but at this price point, you’re getting a pretty decent, long-reaching fishing net. And sometimes, that’s more than enough.
Best Versatile Kayak Fishing Net
Frabill Trophy Haul 1821 Fishing Net
In case you haven’t heard of Frabill, they’re one of the leading companies that specialize in ice fishing – and they’ve been around since 1938. So, yes, they have quite a reputation to live up to – and the Frabill Trophy Haul 1821 does so perfectly.
The net’s aluminum-based handle features a sliding design that allows for quick and convenient one-touch adjustments. To add to it, the handled yoke ensures better balance, making it easier to manage.
Oh, and get this – it also features a built-in LED light!
The hoop measures 18-by-21 inches and has a depth of 14 inches, making it a rather versatile option, suitable for catching a wide range of fish. As for the actual net, it’s made of conservation material and boasts a snag-proof slide, asymmetrical in design, complete with a flat bottom.
- Aluminum handle and coated nylon netting
- 48-inch handle length
- 18 x 21-inch hoop
- Weighs 3.5 pounds
- The handled yoke improves balance for easier use
- Has a built-in LED light
- The dimensions are suitable for a wide range of fish
- Asymmetrical design with a flat bottom
- Snag-proof slide net with conservation material
- This model is on the pricier side
- It’s one of the heaviest nets I’ve reviewed
- Doesn’t collapse entirely for compactness
Even though it’s a bit heavy, I love how versatile Frabill’s Trophy Haul 1821 kayak fishing net is, with its sliding 48-inch handle, a large hoop, and a pretty deep flat-bottom net.
Overall Best Kayak Fishing Net
ForEverlast Inc. Generation 2 Floating Fishing Net
You can take one look at ForEverlast Inc. Generation 2 fishing net, and you can tell straight away that it’s designed with kayak fishing in mind.
It’s compact, lightweight, and boasts a large, tear-shaped opening that measures 16 x 19 inches and has a net depth of 18 inches. And that makes it suitable for pulling in all kinds of fish – big or small.
While we’re at it, it also features rubber-coated, snag-free netting, suitable for catch and release fishing.
Oh, and did I mention that it’s designed to float, too?
That means it’ll be a lot harder to lose it in the water – especially with the bright-colored design – and if you’re extremely tight on space, you can even tether it to the side of your kayak using the built-in retractable bungee cord and just let it float there.
The potential downside is that it’s available in one size only – but I don’t feel like that should be a deal-breaker.
- Rubber-coated netting
- 29-inch total length
- Tear-shaped 16 x 19-inch hoop
- Weighs 0.8 pounds
- Has a built-in retractable bungee cord in the handle
- The fishing net has a floatable design
- The bright color options make it easier to spot
- Suitable for wade fishing
- The fishing net is available in only one size
- There’s no extension for the handle (but you can make one)
ForEverlast Inc. Generation 2 net will become your trusted companion on fishing trips for years to come – there’s no doubt in my mind about that. I seriously can’t recommend this one enough!
Best Landing Net For Kayak Fishing
KastKing Fishing Folding Landing Net
KastKing has quickly become one of the staple names in the fishing world, thanks to its ability to produce high-quality but budget-friendly fishing gear. This brand knows how to strike that fine balance you want to see in your equipment – and that’s evident in this fishing net, too.
It employs high-strength aluminum for the handle and the rectangular-shaped net frame, making sure that it’s lightweight but rigid. Speaking of the handle, it boasts a folding center yoke, so you get a fishing net with a total length of 76 inches (counting the 24-inch hoop) – but it folds down to 33 inches for convenient storage.
Oh, and it has a handy 24-inch ruler on the handle, making it easy to measure your catch on the spot.
As for the net, it’s made of a rubber-coated material and has an incredibly fine mesh, suitable for smaller fish species.
I’ve noticed that the hinges take some time to loosen up; you’ll probably find it a bit tricky to fold and unfold at first.
- Aluminum handle and rubber-coated netting
- 76-inch total length
- Rectangular 24-inch hoop
- Weighs 2 pounds
- The net is made of a rubber-coated material
- The handle features a printed-on 24-inch ruler
- Folds down to a size of 33 inches
- Comes with a carrying bag
- Suitable for smaller fish species
- The folding mechanism takes time to loosen up
- The mesh openings are a bit small, making unhooking fish trickier
I you need an extra-long fishing net, I don’t think you’ll find a better fit than KastKing’s folding net. I mean, come on – this thing measures 76 inches when fully extended!
Best Fly Fishing Net For Kayaks
ODDSPRO Fly Fishing Landing Net
ODDSPRO Fly Fishing Net is probably one of the cheapest options I’ve tested while putting this list together – but don’t assume that the lower price point makes it “inferior” in any way.
Sure, it boasts a simple, no-bells-and-whistles design, but it still does the job – and reliably so. If you have doubts about that, look at its construction:
ODDSPRO went with a combination of carbon fiber and fiberglass for the handle, making it ultra lightweight – the whole thing clocks in at 0.7 pounds – but impact-resistant. As for the netting, it’s rubber-coated and knotless, so it won’t retain odors or get tangled with the hooks.
I should warn you that the handle measures a mere 8.5 inches, though. Which is to be expected considering it a collapsible fly-fishing net. Personally, it’s not a deal-breaker – I love that it’s so compact – but it’s something to keep in mind depending on your intended uses.
- Carbon fiber and fiberglass handle and rubber-coated netting
- 8.5-inch handle length
- 15.5 x 11.5-inch hoop
- Weighs 0.7 pound
- Extremely lightweight and compact design
- The handle has a non-slip coating
- Folds down at a push of a button
- Measures only 17 inches when collapsed
- Suitable for trout fishing and fly fishing
- The handle’s on the shorter side and might not work for everyone
- The included attachment cord isn’t elastic at all
If you want something ultra-compact and lightweight, I can’t recommend the ODDSPRO enough – even if the shorter handle means it won’t be as versatile as some other fishing nets I reviewed.
Best Net For Smaller Fish
YVLEEN Folding Fishing Net
Okay, the next option I’d like to recommend is this YVLEEN fishing net.
And yes, at first glance, it offers a lot of the same – an aluminum handle coupled with the coated nylon mesh. Pretty standard, but it still deserves mention.
The handle measures 23.6 inches, but it actually extends to 39.3 inches max since it boasts a telescoping design. Oh, and there’s a nifty belt clip added to it, meaning that portability won’t be an issue.
The hoop is not so much a “hoop” – it’s more of a triangle with 16-inch sides. Either way, it holds the non-absorbent coated nylon net, which, by the way, has a depth of 11.8 inches.
Looking at the netting, I feel like this would be an excellent choice for someone who’s more into catching smaller species or baitfish. Seriously, the openings are so tiny on this one!
- Aluminum handle and coated nylon netting
- 39.3-inch total length
- Triangle-shaped 16-inch hoop
- Weighs 0.87 pound
- EVA material on the handle for a non-slip grip
- The finer mesh is suitable for smaller fish
- Has a telescoping handle for easier storage
- Features a belt clip for portability
- Extremely lightweight construction
- The folding connector is plastic and may break
- Not sturdy enough to handle larger fish
- You should only use it in freshwater environments
While there are some durability concerns to keep in mind, YVLEEN’s kayak fishing net is still a pretty decent – and budget-friendly – choice for catching smaller fish species.
Best Fishing Net For Nighttime Use
Frabill Trophy Haul Bearclaw 1418 Fishing Net
I’ve already told you a thing or two about Frabill and its decades-long reputation when it comes to the ice fishing gear market. So, don’t be that surprised to see another one of their fishing nets on this list.
The Frabill Trophy Haul Bearclaw 1418 has a slightly different design, though, taking things to a whole new level:
Unlike most other kayak fishing nets you saw today, Frabill’s Bearclaw boasts a short, reinforced handle (it measures 18 inches), complete with a forearm support bar. What does that mean?
In essence, it makes the net a lot easier to manage single-handedly.
As for the netting, it’s made of a nylon-based conservation material and has a snag-proof design with a hoop that measures 14 x 18 inches and a depth of 11 inches.
And yes, much like the other Frabill net I reviewed, this one has a built-in LED light for nighttime use, as well.
- Aluminum handle and nylon netting
- 18-inch handle
- 14 x 18-inch hoop
- Weighs 2.7 pounds
- Shorter handle with a forearm support bar
- Designed to be used single-handedly
- Features a built-in LED light for nighttime use
- The netting has a snag-proof design
- This model is on the heavier side
- It’s a bit more expensive than the average fishing net
If you’re the type to go fishing before the sun’s even up, you’ll need some additional help finding your way in the dark. This Frabill Trophy Haul Bearclaw net with an LED light is your best bet.
Best Fishing Net For Single-Handed Use
YakAttack Kayak Landing Net
Did you seriously think that I would wrap up a discussion about anything even remotely related to kayak fishing and not mention YakAttack at least once?
I sure hope not. YakAttack’s one of the biggest names in the game when it comes to gear and accessories for kayak fishing!
And I can tell you one thing – this isn’t your typical, r
un-off-the-mill fishing net. I mean, look at the handle:
A bent, ergonomic design that makes it suitable for one-handed use – complete with the forearm grip that adds stability and control over the net. The hoop is oval-shaped and measures 12 x 20 inches, with full rubber netting.
Oh, and the best part is:
The hinged design means the handle essentially folds alongside the net, making storage easier.
I should probably warn you that it’s one of the most expensive fishing nets you’ll ever encounter – and you have to purchase the foam handle extension separately – but I guess quality comes at a price.
- Full rubber netting
- 49-inch total length
- 12 x 20-inch hoop
- Weight 2.3 pounds
- High level of accuracy and control
- Features a bent, ergonomic handle design
- Has a forearm grip for additional stability
- Hinged design with a folding handle for compactness
- Full rubber netting with larger holes
- Among the most expensive fishing nets I’ve tested
- Doesn’t fit YakAttack’s RotoGrip accessory that well
- The foam handle extension is sold separately
YakAttack knows a thing or two about kayak fishing gear; there’s no doubt about that. So, if you want a net that’s suitable for single-handed use and designed by a trusted brand, this is it.
Best Net For Kayak Fishing: Final Advice & Recommendations
Yay, you’ve made it to the end of this round-up – and, hopefully, learned a bit more about how to choose a kayak-friendly fishing net that fits your specific needs.
And that means there’s only one thing left to do – pick one.
As for my personal favorite – and the best kayak fishing net out of the bunch – the title goes to the ForEverlast Inc. Generation 2 Floating Fishing Net.
Don’t get me wrong; these landing nets are all pretty impressive in their own regard.
However, when it comes to striking the perfect balance of value, durability, and convenience, the ForEverlast Inc. fishing net does it better than its competitors – simple as that.