A landing net is an indispensable tool that benefits fly anglers and fish alike. For anglers, using a net means more fish landed, fewer tangled lines and last-second break-offs, and more time to stage the perfect fish photo. For the fish, a net means minimized stress upon landing, faster hook removal, and less damage to their protective coats of slime.
Basically, if you aren’t using a net, it’s time to get on board. And when you’re ready to buy, this article introduces you to the absolute best fly fishing net on the market along with a recommendation for a more budget-friendly alternative.
Fishpond Nomad Fly Fishing Net – The Best Fly Fishing Landing Net Around
Straight up the Landing Net I recommend is the Fishpond Nomad Emerger Fly Fishing Net (Link to Amazon to check prices). Embracing the “buy once, cry once” ethos, it’s one of the most expensive nets available but is built to take a beating for years “if not decades” in both freshwater and saltwater.
The handle and hoop of the Nomad are made of a carbon fiber and fiberglass composite material, which is extremely lightweight, strong, and impact resistant. Even the largest-sized models are light enough for single-handed use. And to help you hold on during chaotic fish-landing episodes, the handle of the Nomad is finished with a rubberized coating that stays grippy when wet.
If you do accidentally release the Nomad along with your fish, don’t worry it floats.
Adding to the Nomad’s durability, the composite material is both waterproof and UV protected. So even if the coating does get chipped from a rock collision, the material won’t degrade over time from exposure to water or the sun.
The net bag of the Nomad is made of a wide-meshed rubber that’s as good as it gets from a fish safety standpoint. Unlike other rubber bag nets, the Nomad’s net holds its form well underwater, providing plenty of space for the fish to hang out while you remove the hook and get your camera ready.
When you look at the full lineup of the Nomad Series nets, it’s easy to get a little frazzled there are so many sizes and shapes. Since the net you choose should be based on intended use and personal preference, we really can’t say which size is right for you. However…
If you’re looking for a good all-purpose size, go with the Nomad Mid-Length Net (link to Amazon to check prices) it by far the most versatile (and popular) size in the Nomad series.
With a 37-inch total length, the Nomad Mid-Length is long enough for use in kayaks and canoes, but not too long for wade fishing. In fact, many wade anglers simply tuck the handle into their lumbar pack straps or a net holster for quick access. Plus, the extra length gives you a significant reach advantage over shorter nets, which is particularly handy when landing fish with switch or Spey rods.
The EGO Backwater Trout Net -The Best Budget-Friendly Fly Fishing Landing Net
It isn’t much to look at, but it’s cheap, sturdy, and most importantly, fish-friendly.
With a composite handle and hoop, this Measure Net is lightweight and plenty strong. The handle is non-slip which helps you hang on with wet hands and keeps it afloat if it does take a swim.
The EGO makes nets in many sizes, but I really like the Backwater Trout. It’s about 26 inches in length and weighs under a pound. The light weight makes it easy to carry on your back. Mine has a “zip on” rubberized net bag which is kind on the fish. The bag can also be zipped off for quick cleaning or replacement.
And of course we can’t forget about the measuring tape built into the bottom on the bag. This feature allows you to measure your catch without removing it from the net or the water.
Overall, the EGO Backwater Trout Net (link to find out more at Amazon) will do the work it was made to do without any hassle. Simply replace the net bag every few seasons and if it does croak, the bag can be replaced with zip….
Get a Net and Land More Fish
Whether you go with the bomb-proof, feathery-light Fishpond Nomad or the fish-friendly-yet-affordable Measure Net, do yourself and the fish a favor get a net, land some fish, and bask in the satisfaction of achieving what you’ve set out to do.
Sources and More Reading
I’ve written about how I carry a net in this article. – How to Carry A Net Fly Fishing
I’ve written an article over the debate of taking a net fly fishing in this article. – Should You Take a Landing Net Fly Fishing
You can also read about how a landing net works with a FishPond Sling Pack in this article. Selecting a Sling Pack for Fly Fishing
Below I demonstrate in a Video how my fly fishing net fits into my Fly Fishing Setup.