We mainly catch bass and panfish while fishing and have a shallow rubber net for that. But on occasion we will catch larger fish like Northern Pike, Walleye and Musky. Earlier this year my son caught a Musky and I had to scoop the tail end and lift it out of the water with the fishing line. Yes, my net was too small. So after looking at nets online I can't tell what size to get. The Musky nets are very expensive. How do you size and pick out a good net?
How to pick a net for fishing.
I get most of my landing nets out of the dumpster at campgrounds, add new netting and cut off an old mop handle some duct tape and you got a brand new long handle net. Nobody in my boat yells get the Frabill !!!!!
I found a nice and practically new Frabill at a rummage sale a few years ago for $10. That's how I picked my net.
Anyone have a Ranger net? Been looking at them on Fish USA.
part of the reason for a big musky net is so you can handle the fish boat side without scooping it into the boat and let it flop around on the deck. You simply remove the hooks while the fish is in the net, but still in water. This minimizes stress on these large fish and prevent delayed mortality.
I also use a stow master net and I always keep it in boat regardless of what i am fishing for. I have had mine for 15 years and still looks new. You can get a bag too for it.
A big net also ensures you are ready for fish of lifetime. I am sure any guy who lost a 50+ inch musky because he had wrong net would gladly cough up $200 for that fish back
When I was ~12 years old my dad lost the biggest fish of my life while trying to net it up on LVD. To this day he still tells the story about how the pike was rainbowing a good foot out of either side of the net because it was a shallow rubber net. It clearly haunts him a little more than me, all I remember is him waist deep over the side of the boat trying to grab it as it swam away.
Anyways, he purchased a cheap but deep poly net after that. Still used the rubber one 9 times outta 10 because it's more convenient with less tangles. Deep poly net ~$30-50, deep rubber/musky net ~$100-150. You can't put a price on the fish of a lifetime.
small fish - you need a small net.
big fish - you need a bigger net.
Sometimes you need a longer handle, but maybe a shorter handle will work.
Or, buy a nice gaff.
I have a Stowmaster musky net that I bring along when I am fishing lakes that have musky even if I won't be fishing for them. The Stowmaster folds up nicely for storage, I don't have the largest size, mine is the next size down, and seams to be good enough for musky. Unfortunately your going to spend a lot for a musky net.