Often overlooked but of importance is a fishing net. No matter if you’re fishing from the land or a boat, a fishing net will help you avoid losing the fish when you are near landing it. Nets come in various shapes and sizes for different applications ranging from hand-sized bait nets to large basket nets for the largest fish. The question remains how to net a fish?

Steps To Net A Fish 

Speaking from experience, I have left my net back home at the most crucial times. Make sure that a net is packed with you for every fishing trip. The day it’s left behind is the day you will have the trophy catch at the end of the line. 

The two types of fishing nets we are going to focus on are landing nets and hand nets.

What is a landing net?

Often the fish fight intensifies as it nears the side of the boat. As a result, the fishing line may break, or the hook may pull out of the fish’s mouth. Rather than pulling the fish into the boat by pulling up on the line, place a landing net under the fish to remove it from the water. 

These types of nets come in many forms. Small nets can be attached to your waist, wading a stream for trout or big collapsible options for much saltwater fish species. The net should be sized appropriately to the type of fishing you are engaging in. 

What is a hand net?

Hand nets, although small, are essential for fishermen. Many coastal and freshwater anglers like to use live bait. Live bait must be kept in baitwells with an air pump or circulating pump to keep the water oxygenated. 

The purpose of a hand net is to allow you to catch the bait in the live well without using your hands. Overhandling of live bait can injure them, making them less active when placed on the hook. Not only can the bait be hurt, but baitfish fins or shrimps heads can impale your skin, leaving painful wounds. I have left my bait net behind far too many times. Store the net in the live well to avoid forgetting it on your next trip. 

How do you use a landing net to land a fish?

Key points

-Have the net ready before you start fishing

-Inspect the net for any damage such as holes that a fish can slip through

-If it has an extension handle, lock the handle in place fully extended

Once you have reached your fishing destination and the net is ready, you’re ready to start fishing. I have made the mistake of not being prepared ahead of time, scrambling to get the net ready, and ultimately needing to flip the fish into the boat by hand or losing it. 

It doesn’t matter if you’re fishing alone or with a partner. The rod and net can be handled simultaneously. 

As the fish moves close to the side of the boat or land, have the net positioned with the end of the basket just at the surface of the water. The net should not be used to chase the but rather have the rod guide the fish to the net.

When your catch is just a foot away from the net positioned at the surface of the water, lower the net beneath the fish and lift the fish up and out of the water. Place the fish in net on the land or in the boat to handle it. 

If you’re alone, hold the rod hand and the net in the other. If you’re fishing with a friend, ask them to net the fish, and offer guidance if necessary. 

Often the hook will come free of the fished mouth, which may cause the fishing line and hook to become tangled up. Take your time to free this up. 

Once the fish has been released or placed on ice, dip the net back in the water to clean it from fish scales or slime.

What are other variations of nets essential for fishing?

Another form of a landing net is called a bridge and pier net. Its purpose is the same but the design is much different. 

When fishing from piers or bridges, the obvious challenge is lifting the fish from the water to the structure that is well above the surface of the water. Pier fishing can be a fun experience. 

These nets are much like a basket with a long line attached to it. Lower the line and basket to the water and maneuver the fish into the net before lifting it to the pier or bridge. 

A second important net is the cast net.

Cast nets provide the opportunity for anglers to catch bait. Both baitfish and shrimp are frequently caught by tossing a cast net. 

The cast net is a net that expands when it is thrown. A tether line attaches to the wrist and can be thrown over baitfish schools to catch them rather than buy live bait. Throwing a cast net can be challenging, but with practice, you can be a pro.


Fishing nets come in all different forms. How to net a fish is an easy task if you’re prepared ahead of time. Take a visit to the local tackle shop if you’re not sure what exactly to use, and they can guide you on the correct net for the type of fishing. Now it’s time to land your dinner or trophy fish without risking losing it.