When looking for the best fishing nets, one size or style definitely does not fit all occasions. Depending on your fishing exploits, the net may be a secondary tool to keep the fish in place, or it may be a primary tool to land the big one. In addition, in some cases the size and the materials used vary, depending on the use you make of the netting. Whether you are hoping for a successful crabbing excursion, recreational boat angling, or plan on catching and storing bait fish for ocean fishing, there are specialized nets that make your task easier.
Dip Nets Are the Best Nets for Crabbing
Rely on the long-handled dip net when you are in search of tasty crabs. At the end of the long handle is the netting, which is made from knotless nylon or even aluminum, to withstand the pincers of your target species. The net portion resembles a box or basket, which makes it possible to even scrape it gently along the bottom of a body of water to disturb the crabs, which in turn lets you scoop them up.
The depth of the netting varies. Fishing nets for smaller crab species are only about 10 inches deep, while those for bigger species are about 24 inches deep.
Landing Nets Are Best for Boat Angling
Bring along a landing net when you are fishing from a boat. As the fish is caught on the line of your fishing rod, the landing net allows you to hold onto the fish with the device, even as you are attempting to unhook the animal. Landing nets look a lot like dip nets, but their rim holding the net is a lot bigger.
The best landing nets have a wide rim of about 21 inches and feature a deep net, which lets you hold on to even bigger species of fish. Landing nets usually have a short handle---about 36 inches in length---and feature soft polymer netting. This prevents damage to the fish, while at the same time holding them in place.
Best Nets for Catching Baitfish Are Shad Scoops
Attach your shad scoop net to the boat, and as you make your way to the fishing grounds, you might be scooping up some bait in the process. This is faster than using a throw net, since you are actually on the water en route to the fishing venue, rather than having to stop in shallow waters and hope that some baitfish are nearby.
You will notice that shad scoops capitalize on the knotless nylon method of netting, which provides extra strength to the setup. Moreover, the hoops are usually made of steel; this allows you to pull the net at a good rate of speed, without actually having to worry about the current snapping the ring. Once caught, transfer your bait fish to a live net.
Best Nets for Storing Baitfish Are Live Nets
Angling with baitfish is a good way of attracting predatory fish, especially in the ocean. Keeping the baitfish alive until ready to use requires either aerated containments, or the use of live nets. These nets are funnel shaped, allow easy top access for the angler to retrieve a bait fish, but prohibit the fish from using the small opening to escape.
If you catch your baitfish with a throw net or shad scoop, transfer them to the live net, and let it hang over the side of your boat. Then you will have access to fresh live bait that is not so traumatized by being caught as to move only sluggishly. Sizes for these nets vary, and usually they are 2 or 3 feet in diameter, about 6 feet long and made from nylon mesh.