MidCurrent Tested and Trusted: Rising Lunker Net

July 2, 2024 By: Kubie Brown


All images via Rising

I’m just going to say it—I absolutely hate short-handled nets. As iconic as that classic image we all see in paintings and magazine covers of trout anglers holding their rods over their heads while squatting down to scoop a trout from the water with a spoon-sized net, the fact is that it never plays out like you see in the photos.

That wry smirk of accomplishment plastered on the angler’s face is in real-life a grimace of frustration as you reach out with the net like Indiana Jones trying to grasp the Holy Grail, while the trout thrashes and tries to get away. It usually leads to an uncoordinated dance of cursing where you wave your rod over your head trying not to break it while growling “Come here you little bastard!”

I put up with that short-handled net nonsense for years, until a friend randomly gifted me with a Rising Lunker Net. I haven’t looked back since.

The Perfect Tool For The Job

With its longer handle, light-weight, and easy-carry frame, the Lunker net is a mid-size net that has quickly become my go-to net for when I’m both fishing and guiding. It’s just the right size for me to use as both a wading staff and a boat net as its 24-inch handle and 22-inch hoop give it just enough extra reach for both tasks. Yet, as it’s made of anodized aluminum, it remains light enough for me to easily wield with one hand when out walking and wading on small streams as well.

When I get a fish in the Lunker, the light-rubber netting is perfect for laying the trout out flat with plenty of room for easy unhooking and release without a bunch of extra netting for the line to get tangled in. The longer handle may seem like it would get in the way, but it’s actually very easy for me to hold between my legs when I’m unhooking a fish by myself and is absolutely fantastic for holding out beneath a client’s fish should they drop it during a photo-op. Mostly though, the extra length is just perfect for reaching out and scooping those stubborn fish that would normally be just out of reach.

Durability and Adaptability

Most mid-size nets on the market are made of wood. While these definitely look pretty, the fact is that if you fish a lot and have the net banging around in the back of your truck a lot or are lugging it through thick brush to the trout stream every day, those wooden nets can get ugly in a hurry. The Rising Lunker’s aluminum body and rugged construction means you could drop it off a cliff and it will still look as nice as the day you bought it. In short, it’s just the perfect net for hardcore anglers who are constantly putting their nets to the test.

Another fantastic thing about the Risen Lunker net is its adaptability. The standard net comes with an 11-inch deep rubber bag which provides plenty of room for your average trout. However, if you’re fishing for larger game like steelhead or even just extremely large trout, you can order a second 22-inch bag from Lunker. Switching out the net bag takes only a few minutes and consists of removing one screw to pull the hoop off the net and then sliding the net bag off one side. Then you thread on the deeper bag, reattach the hoop and screw and be out on the water without missing a beat.

A Final Secret

There is one other fantastic aspect of the Rising Lunker net that makes them a favorite of trout anglers the world over—it’s also a flask. Now I’m not saying you have to put alcohol in it, but having a hollow handle with a pop-off waterproof cap does have its advantages. It can serve to carry extra water for those long backcountry fishing trips. Or you can fill the hollow space with some dry matches, tinder, or other small survival items. But of course, the best and probably most common thing you can do with it is to fill it with the libation of your choice to drown your sorrows on those hard days or to celebrate the especially good ones.

With the flask acting as an extra bonus, the length, durability, and adaptability of the Rising Lunker net just make it the perfect tool for me and for every other angler that’s sick of the short game.