There’s one fishing net on the market that is the absolute best: The Measure Net. It’s a lot like any other decent fishing net except it has a built-in ruler painted into the net, which, at a glance, lets you see the length of your catch before releasing it.
How does it work? Once you net the fish, it lays nestled in the soft nylon (or rubber) bag of the net. With the fish on its side, you can see measurement markings at the head and the tail. Because each of these markings start at the center of the net and work outward, all you have to do is add up the two measurements.
If your cutthroat trout’s tail is at the 8-inch mark and the head is at the 10-inch mark, you know you just caught an 18-inch trout.
Two things: 1) if you’re catching fish and you also release them — which is what I do 99% of the time — use a net because it’s gentler on the fish, and 2) use a Measure Net because you don’t have handle or squeeze a wiggling fish while you try to measure it.
It’s ingenious. The guy who invented it is Jeff Abel. He singlehandedly made measuring and releasing fish faster than ever.
The Measure Net Is Must-Have Gear
I have a medium nylon Measure Net that must be from a previous production run. It has a long bungie cord on the end and measures up to 14 inches on each side, giving you 28 inches of measurement. The largest fish I’ve netted in it was a 25.5-inch brown trout.
The sizes of the latest medium Measure Net only measure up to 24 inches, and if you catch one a little bigger, I’m sure you can guesstimate another inch or two.
There’s a small model that measures up to 20 inches, as well was a large model that measures up to 28 inches (and has a telescoping handle). Of course, if you’re into big fish, there’s the guide models that measure up to 40-inch fish. Plus, if you have an old-school fancy wood frame net that you love, you can buy a replacement net that will zip over the wood frame of your existing net, which, I’ve got to admit, is a pretty sweet deal.
Best Fishing Net Ever: So Get Two
The Measure Net makes a great gift, either for you or for a buddy. I actually recommend that you buy two. Why? When your buddy does all the driving up into the mountains to go fishing (with today’s price of gas) the least you can do is give him your spare Measure Net.