A landing net is a very useful piece of gear to assit in landing fish. In some situations they are the only way to safely land trout without breaking them off. But let’s be honest, they can be a bit cumbersome and bulky to carry.
So what is the best way to carry a net?
Well, I must admit, I have lost no fewer than three nets while out trout fishing, and have found several which other anglers have lost. With some nets costing well over $100 there must be a secure way to attach them, but at the same time be within reach while landing a fish. A net carrying system is no good if it requires both hands and plenty of reaching to access.
Lost your landing net?, and looking for a new one. I have a comprehensive guide on the best landing nets for trout fishing here.
Clip it to your vest collar
This is my preferred method, and it is free. My vest has a fairly stiff and thick collar, and I simply attach my net to it by a tiny clip. I can feel it hanging there but it does not cause any discomfort, I guess the cut of the collar helps disperse the weight across my shoulder making it less noticeable when compared to hanging from the loop on my back. It also hangs high enough to avoid most waist-height vegetation.
It is also much easier to access than relying on the back loop. I simply reach over my shoulder and the handle is in the perfect location. It then takes a short pull and the net is in my hand.
Reattaching it is also a breeze. I pull my collar slightly forward and reattach the clip.
Downsides? Well, it is not the most secure and I have lost a few nets over the years. I usually realize when it falls off but I have lost a couple of nets while pushing through thickets of undergrowth and it must of snagged on a branch or twig. In theory, I could use a lanyard but they also snag and I like to keep clutter to a minimum while out fishing
Magnetic Net Holder
Magnet net holders sound like a great idea. Simply clip one side of the holder onto your vest or pack, and the other to the net. Then rely on the magnetic force to hold them together.
Could not be more simple.
I have owned several magnet net holders over the years, and while they do hold the net fairly firmly. It does not take much pressure to release the bond. That is useful when reaching for the net, but lets useful when the net tangles itself in some vegetation and decides to release itself.
Luckily innovation found an answer, and now most magnetic net holders include a bungee lanyard that connects the two sides of the magnet. If you drop it, the bungee prevents it from getting lost.
They work quite well and are certainly one of the better options, but I always find it a bit awkward to snap the two magnets back together.
Quite a few companies make magnetic net holders, in my experience the Fishpond Confluence Net Release is a good product and I do prefer the rubber connector over the metal latches that other brands use. The Chinese copies on amazon all basically do the same thing but for a third of the price.
Holster-Style Net Holder
Well like the name suggests, a net holster holds the net securely by the handle in a sheath that is attached to a belt.
How well they work really depends on the shape and the length of the net handle. Nets with short handles have a tendency to jump out while walking, but they do hold long handle nets very securely.
They are also very easy to access, and the net does not get in the way while walking or casting. It is a good solution.
Downsides? Well, it can not really be used when wearing a pack. Which really limits its utility on longer trips. It also requires quite a rigid belt, the standard fabric wading belts are simply not firm enough to hold it steady.
The most popular example is probably the Smith Creek Net Holster. It is quite a nicely engineered product but it carries quite the price tag. Follow the link to check prices and reviews on Amazon. I honestly can not say much more about them.