My Favorite Net Ever

July 11, 2024 By: Spencer Durrant

I read Kubie Brown’s piece last week about nets, and one line jumped out at me: “I absolutely hate short-handled nets.”

I understand Kubie’s reluctance. Short-handled nets aren’t ideal when you need to reach to net big trout at the end of long leaders. They’re certainly not the best for a buddy to use when trying to “help” you land trout from deeper water, either.

However, I prefer short-handled nets. As much as my fly rod collection begs to differ, I have a minimalist attitude towards gear when I’m on the water. I got rid of my old fishing vest years ago in favor of a chest pack. I lose my waders as soon as wet wading is possible, and I only haul along a few fly boxes. I don’t say any of this to brag, but to drive home the point that I prefer having as little gear along as possible, which means I opt for a short-handled net.

The cheap ones have served me fine over the years – $25 big-box store specials with mesh baskets that are trashed within a season, but I don’t feel too bad when I lose them. For my birthday this year, my wife got me a new Orvis Wide-Mouth Hand Net. It’s quickly become my favorite piece of gear for a few reasons.

This net only has a nine-inch handle, which is more than enough for my average-sized hands. The net’s mouth is wider than normal, as the name implies, at 10.5 inches across by 16 inches long. That’s proven plenty large for netting trout past 20 inches, and the extra-deep bag makes this net more versatile. The thinner material used for the net bag doesn’t grab onto hooks as badly as some other materials do, and of course its rubberized.

It’s also incredibly light. Orvis doesn’t publish a weight for it, but I don’t notice it hanging off the back of my chest pack.

If my buddy’s Fishpond Nomad is a Corvette, the Orvis Wide-Mouth Hand Net is an MG Midget. Small, fun, entirely capable, and more than enough net for the average trout angler who does most of their fishing via wading.

If you’re in the market for something light, priced well, and durable, the Orvis Wide-Mouth Hand Net is hard to beat. I never expected to enjoy a net this much, but it’s been a game-changer for my wading setup.