Posted on June 01, 2015
This has been a hot topic discussion as of lately so I figured I would put my 2 cents in. Do you really need to carry a landing net when kayak fishing? The answer is YES, you need to have a net with you on your kayak to land fish more consistently. I believe it is one of the most important assets on your boat. I strongly believe that I have lost many fish before simply because I did not bring a net. It's true that a net may not have made a world of a difference, but why take the risk? You may not think you need one now, but give it time and eventually you will start to carry one. No one likes losing fish. Especially when you are in a tournament and each fish could make the difference between winning and losing.
It's frustrating when you get a fish right beside your boat and you can see it, but never land it. I always bring one along with me, and I will never leave it at home again. I like to CPR - Catch, Photograph, and Release... catch being the most important word there.
If you happen to hook up with a pike or muskie, then you will need some lip grips to get it into your kayak. It'll be much easier to lip grip the fish when it can't go anywhere inside the net. Also, if you even try to grip a bass by the mouth, you run the risk of sticking your own treble into your hand while trying to retrieve the fish.
One last note here. I'm a believer in carrying a net everywhere, but I know there are times when it simply causes you to fail. Whether you take too much time to grab the net, or you accidentally snap the line with it, there will be times when a net won't be the best option for you.
This is a picture taken after I ALMOST caught a huge muskie. Brand new Rapala Husky Jerk snapped in half as it jumped out of the water. My friend luckily caught it in the net, but one second later it dug its head into the net and managed to open up a hole large enough for it to fit through. The holes were only about an inch in diameter and it was a brand new net. After that catastrophe, I had to tie the hole shut with a little bit of my stringer just so I could use it for the rest of the night.
If you don't own a net, you can pick one up for yourself in the net category.