You either carry one, or you will soon.
Seems there are two kinds of kayak fishermen: The ones who use landing nets and ones who make fun of other kayakers using landing nets.
Early in my kayak fishing, I didn’t care to use a net because I was doing more offshore fishing than freshwater or inshore fishing. I used a gaff for offshore and in freshwater or inshore I’d flip the fish inside of the kayak.
As time passed, I started to understand the importance of using landing nets. Here are a few reasons why I frequently carry one now.
First reason is self-safety. I’ll never forget the day I caught a sail catfish, and my finger was penetrated by a barb. It was painful and I thought my fishing day was over, but thank goodness I rarely fish alone. My good friend Jean carried a medical kit and whiskey to dress my wound. If only I’d used my landing net that could’ve been avoided.
Second reason is the safety and handling of the fish. When I fish inshore, it’s certain I will not take home all of my catch. Here, you want to land fish as quickly as possible and allow your catch to swim off. You’re able to unhook the fish and keep it in the water while in a net. This helps to allows that fish to become a trophy catch if not already a trophy catch.
I currently use a Yak Attack Leverage folding landing net and it floats, which I think is essential. I can’t tell you how many times my net has dropped into the water off my kayak. No need to worry, if it’s buoyant. The size of the net is based on the kind of fishing you do. I normally fish for snook, reds and big inshore fish, so my net works for me.
So the advantages of using a landing net are many. Your fingers are safe from being stuck or otherwise harmed. The fish gets to swim away healthy. And of course your landing ratio goes way up.
Keep nets within quick reach such as rested on the bow of your kayak or in a rod holder directly behind you. Nets are especially beneficial in tournament fishing to keep the trophy fish and the angler calm while preparing the camera and measuring device for photos. As fishing goes, things happen fast… use it! FS
Published Florida Sportsman Magazine November 2020