Catfish are among the most popular game fish in America. They’re big, strong, and can put up a hell of a fight!
Unfortunately, not many anglers use landing nets when fishing for these fantastic fish, resulting in many big catfish being lost, usually only feet away from the boat or shore. Taking a net with you on the water is the best way to ensure you’ll land those trophy cats!
Please keep that in mind when debating with yourself whether or not you should buy a landing net.
If you’ve decided to go ahead and get yourself a catfish net and need some help picking the right one, this article is for you!
QUICK SUMMARY: In this article, I’m reviewing three high-quality, reliable, and affordable catfish landing nets that you can find on Amazon. These are the Frabill Power Catch Teardrop, the Drifter Marine Predator, and the Ranger Flat Bottom Net.
What Is the Best Fishing Net for Catfish?
Not every catfish angler uses a net, but if you fish waters that hold big cats, getting one on land or in your boat without a landing net can prove extremely difficult.
Many trophy-sized fish have been lost because the fishermen who caught them didn’t have a net with them. And I think we can all agree that losing a massive fish right in front of your feet is very frustrating!
The solution is simple: just bring a landing net with you! You never know what you might catch, and with the right net, you’re chances of landing that monster cat will increase tenfold!
But what type and size of fishing net should you use for catfish? That’s what this article is all about.
The following three picks fit different budgets but have one essential thing in common: they all have deep nets.
If it’s one thing you should think of when buying a catfish net, it’s net depth! Because those big fish can get really long and are exceptionally good at getting themselves out of a net.
However, with a deep enough fishing net, you can land any big old cat, no matter its length or weight.
Let’s dive right in and take a closer look at these catfish nets, then!
Top Pick: Frabill Power Catch Teardrop Landing Net
This is a classic big fish net that both musky, pike and catfish anglers love! It’s a great all-round pick that fits most catfish sizes.
It’s got everything you’re looking for in a big game landing net and makes catching those trophy cats a lot easier. Many tournament guys use this net!
The Frabill Teardrop is made of high-quality, super-durable material that will last you for many years.
It has an extremely robust handle, hoop, and net bag, which is essential when landing big catfish, as those fish can go nuclear when you get them close to the net.
Here are some of the Frabill Teardrop’s most important features:
- Hoop size: 26×30”
- Handle length: 72”
- Net depth: 38”
- Knotless 1 1/2” mesh (100% tangle-free)
- Dual I-beam extrusion (super strong)
- Super durable Brute Hoop design
- Revolutionary Pow’R-Lok yoke system
- Field-tested by many professional tournament anglers
As mentioned above, the most essential feature of them all is the Teardrop’s net depth. With a 38-inch deep bag, you’re sure to land even the longest and strongest of catfish.
Both 50lb+ blues and flatheads can fit into this bad boy (if you know how to land your monster cats, that is).
Remember that these fish can be more than 4 feet long, so using a deep enough net is crucial. I cannot stress this enough!
- The only con I can think of is the price of this net. It’s definitely a high-end piece of fishing gear, but if you’re looking for a reliable big fish landing net that will last you many years, the price is undoubtedly worth it!
Runner-Up: Drifter Marine Predator Series XL Musky Net
The Drifter Marine Predator Net is another great pick for big fish anglers.
While having roughly the same hoop and net size as the Frabill Teardrop, this is a slightly sturdier net, making it an excellent choice for really huge catfish.
This landing net is rated to safely pick up and land fish up to 70lb without bending or failing.
So if you’re fishing lakes or rivers that hold regular monster cats, this is the right net for you!
Here are some of the Drifter Marine Predator’s most impressive features and pros:
- Hoop size: 37×3”
- Handle length: 48”
- Net depth: 36” deep-coated net bag
- Rated as one of the strongest nets on the market
- Reinforced anodized aluminum handle
- T-grip handle for extra control
- Rubber-coated net bag
- Very soft mesh for great fish care
The manufacturer highlights this net’s incredible strength and durability, and based on the many positive customer reviews, they’re telling the truth.
Salt and freshwater anglers praise the Drifter Marine Predator for its superb quality, strength, and practicality on the water.
The net opens fully and quickly so that you can land every single catch!
Smooth handling equals less stress on the water and better fish safety, so everyone wins!
- Due to its enormous size, this landing net isn’t super suitable for smaller catfish sizes. You can certainly land small fish with it, but it can feel a little overkill.
- Like the Frabill Teardrop, this net is also in the upper price range. It may not fit all budgets, but again, if you target really big cats, this net is an absolute must!
Budget Pick: Ranger Knotless Flat Bottom Net
The Ranger Net is a solid budget pick for beginners, youngsters, or anglers with a limited budget.
It’s way smaller than the other two nets, but landing fish between 10 and 20lb won’t be much of a problem with the Ranger, making it a good pick for many waters around the country.
Due to its smaller size, it’s also a perfect fit for bank or kayak anglers!
Here are a few pros and features of the Ranger Knotless Flat Bottom Net:
- Hoop size: 28×30”
- Handle length: 54-84”
- Telescopic handle
- Automatic line-up for quick extension
- Handle slides up into hoop for easy storage
- Knotless coated rubber net
- Very reasonably priced
Again, if you’ve just started your fishing adventure, this is a perfectly fine net for catfishing. It’s also a good fit for other predatory species like pike, walleye, and bass.
However, once you’ve improved your skills and start catching bigger fish, upgrading to a bigger net can be a good idea!
- This is a budget landing net, which means it might degrade over time.
- Again, the Ranger is a smaller-sized net. You can probably land fish that weigh over 20 pounds (with a little extra skill and luck), but it won’t be an easy task!
How Big Should a Catfish Landing Net Be?
This is a fundamental question, and if you’re fishing in waters that hold big cats, the answer is: big!
I have mentioned this several times in the article, but I wanted to cover this topic in a separate section to be on the safe side.
If there are fish of 30, 40, 50, or more pounds in the water you target, your hoop size should definitely be in the mid to upper 30 inches, and your net depth should be around 35 to 40 inches!
Big catfish are long creatures with enormous strength, and you need an appropriately sized net to get those fish out of the water.
The bigger and deeper your net, the easier it’ll be to do just that. But trust me; they’ll put up a good fight, and even with those big predator nets, landing a giant cat can still be extremely difficult.
Do You Really Need a Net for Catfishing?
Again, this comes down to the size of the fish you’re catching. Do you need anet for a 5-pound channel cat? Probably not, as you can easily hand-land a fish like that.
But what do you do if you end up hooking a 20, 40, or 60-pounder? They exist in many waters, so why shouldn’t you catch one occasionally, right?
And believe me when I tell you that hand-landing a catfish of those proportions is almost impossible!
So, you can either invest in that extra piece of gear and be sure to land all of your catfish, no matter the size, or you can end up losing that trophy cat that dreams are made of. The choice is yours!
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- What Is the Best Weather for Catfishing?
Featured image courtesy of Phil Colburn