Im not sure how many times I have lost a nice fish because of not being able to just reach down and grab a fish but, I am positive that its more than just a few. Nothing worse than watching your trophy catch swim away before you can get him in the boat or on the bank. A great way to increase your landing rates is to have a landing net with you every trip.
It can be difficult to find a net large enough to make landing a very large catfish easy. A few companies make “catfish” landing nets that should be suitable for catfish up to 50 lbs. To land bigger fish you will need a bigger net. Look for nets intended for species of fish that grow very large such as muskie, salmon, or striper. A landing net for big catfish should have a net hoop of at least 24 inches in not more. If the body of water you fish holds monster catfish, I recommend buying the largest net you have room for.
Netting material is also something to think about. Catfish, because of their stiff and sharp dorsal and pectoral fins, can be hard on nets. Many catfishermen prefer using nets with rubber coated, “knotless” mesh to keep a fish’s fins from being caught in the webbing. The rubber coating is smooth and does less damage to a large catfish’s delicate skin which reduces the possibility of infection after the release. A nets mesh size is also very important.
Choose a net with a handle length that is suitable for the way you fish. If you are in a small boat, you may not need a really long handle like you may need if you are fishing from a large boat or the bank. A net too big for your boat or too cumbersome to carry can be a pain.
Slings have been used by European catfishermen to land monster Wels catfish for many years. Catfish Sling from Renegade Tackle is 50″ in length when assembled and folds neatly into its storage bag. Fish can be guided into the sling, safely weighed, and returned to the water with far less possibility of injury compared to other landing methods.
If you simply do not have the room to store a large net or a net is just too much more to carry, check out our article on fish grippers. Having the proper tools for landing large fish will definitely help your catch rates!
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Please leave us a comment and let us know what landing net you use or if you use one at all.