There are few freshwater fish that are more fun to go after than the northern pike. Even moderate sized northerns can give one heck of a fight, and you want to make sure that you don’t lose them once you bring them in close to the boat.
Even with a good net, getting them in isn’t guaranteed once the hook is thrown…but there’s a reason our old Scout Master with the walleye net lost more pike by the boat than anyone else.
Why aren’t all fishing nets the same? What makes one net better for one fish or worse for another?
Experienced northern guides and pike anglers generally agree that the best fishing nets for pike are made from strong materials that don’t get slick when wet, large hoops, and deeper nets. This combination is crucial for the reach, grip, and size needed to bring in big pike even while they continue to fight and struggle.
There are a lot of good fishing nets out there, and my brother and I each have several. You don’t need the same net when taking the little nephew out fishing for a bucket of panfish versus what we need for big bass, or the mighty northern pike.
If you want the quick down and dirty on the three best overall pike fishing nets we’ve used in our 25+ years of fishing for pike, here it is.
Scroll down past the table to get the deep dive reviews on each.
|Pike Fishing Net||Personal Take||Biggest Potential Con||Check Current Pricing|
|EGO S2 Slider Large Landing Net ||The best overall northern pike fishing net out there. Extremely well made, good hoop, good net material options, and this always felt comfortable. Also the easiest to use sliding action BY FAR in my years of pike fishing.||The slider on some older nets can be iffy, especially if it’s been used 4-5 years||Check Current Prices on Amazon|
|Premier EZ Catch Net||Outstanding premium fishing net. If you don’t like sliding nets or don’t care about versatility and just want a good old fashioned one piece that can take the beating a giant pike can put on it while your arms are extended – this is it. It’s one of my two favorite fishing nets of all time – the other being the EGO.||If you’ve ever leaned at boat’s edge and tried to pull in a 30 lb+ northern with full arms extended, you know about weight imbalance. Nothing can help that here, or shorten it for tight fits – you just gotta deal.||Check Current Prices on Amazon|
|Ed Cumings Salmon and Steelhead Net||The best budget option for pike fishing nets. It might be designed for salmon and steelhead, but it’s a quality traditional net that gets the job done.||Handle gets slick in heavy rainy or wet conditions and the foam comforters around the handle can get worn off over time.||Check Current Prices on Amazon|
Best Overall Pike Fishing Net: EGO S2 Slider Large Landing Net
There are several good nets for pike fishing out there, but one definitely sticks out from the others. Better than the popular Frabill line, better than the premium Plusinno brand, or the many copies off of both, while it might not have the same number of reviews on Amazon or other big retailers, among the nets we’ve used when pike fishing, this is the net that my brother and I have liked the most.
The grip is rock solid. Even when the water is splashing around the lake or the rain is coming down, the handle didn’t get slick.
I was always able to keep a solid grip on this net even when the weather turned, which anyone who has fished summer in Ontario knows, can happen relatively quickly.
The handle is a bit longer than your average net giving the extra reach I like to see, but not so much that the weight balance is off, the way I’ve found with some extra long nets.
EGO’s S2 Slider net does a great job of nailing the balance of sturdiness, length, weight, and balance to get the job done to handle all your fishing needs.
The largest net has some insane reach but I actually recommend that you get the middle sized one as the long one is so large it can be hard to wield.
And a net that long that is sliding has more chance of failure if improperly handled.
So my recommendation for the best overall EGO S2 net build for pike:
- Go with the 29 inch net that extends up to 60 inches
- Go with lightweight rubber netting (PVC coated nylon is also okay)
To me the rubber mesh is the best netting that you can get because the hooks don’t get tangled with the net. In my experience with the cloth netting while it’s nice, it does have that issue so I would make sure to go with a style less likely to catch those treble hooks.
Finally, practice holding this net on the high side of the handle. These nets are not built for hands to be as far away as possible, fully extended, and lifting the fish up out of the water and back to the boat. No sliding net is built for that level of pressure.
Learn to hold and center these nets properly and you won’t be disappointed.
Positives of This Great Fishing Nets:
- Exceptional sliding net that is easy to use
- Great high end materials used
- Exceptional and comfortable grip on handle – I’ve never seen someone drop these nets even in inclement weather
- Great net depth
- Excellent hoop size
- The specially made handle is comfortable which is important when fighting a feisty northern
- Durable – mine is four years old and counting
- 3 different sizes and 6 different types of netting available
- Durable if used PROPERLY
- Officially this net is tested up to 30 lbs of fish which is a problem if you get to the truly giant pike. However, talking to several pike guides we’re confident that the net is not going to “just snap” or anything like that. Companies need to be on the safe side, so they go low and test in the worst case scenarios. This net can almost certainly hand 35-40 lb pike, but there are heavier duty nets out there as an FYI.
- Don’t buy used. Some of the older models from around 2017 had some manufacturing issues. The slider had some weaker pieces that could break with overuse, a defect that’s been fixed in newer models.
- If you use crankbaits the cloth netting can really catch the hooks. Go with the rubber mesh. Trust me on this one.
I’m Not the Only One Big on the EGO S2 Slider Fishing Net
Runner Up Best Pike Fishing Net: Premier EZ Catch Net
In this situation this is less of a runner up and a 1A-1B scenario as both of these fishing nets are absolutely fantastic when it comes to pulling in the medium and big pike.
My brother says he actually thinks he prefers this net just a touch more, though he’s hard pressed to put his finger on why.
My personal belief: we both grew up with solid handle fishing nets versus slider nets so we feel comfortable handling long nets with a lot of weight away from our center mass.
For larger guys like us, that means handling these nets in even the most challenging of conditions shouldn’t be an issue.
However, if you are smaller in stature then this matters because if you have a big pike all the way at the far end of that net – that’s a lot of weight way off your center of balance.
So one interesting note on this net: it’s not designed for fishing.
Which I think is part of the reason it’s so well built to handle big northern pike, because it needs to be able to handle large birds, baby goats, or feral cats.
Suddenly the freshwater wolf doesn’t seem so intimidating, does it?
This is a great option for northern pike, but it is VERY IMPORTANT to note this is the Premier EZ Catch Net and not the standard EZ Catch Net. There are differences between the two nets, including the actual company creating them.
Yeah, it makes a really big difference.
We’re not talking about looking for nets that are good for standard fish, we’re looking for nets that can work with really big fish.
So if you see a picture of this net over a baby goat don’t worry: you have the right net. Use it for fishing (not saltwater – it’s not designed for that) and you’ll see good results – although based on my experience you will be digging out some treble hooks out of the netting.
But that trophy pike won’t get away 🙂
Positives of This Great “Fishing” Net:
- Solid one piece design means very few potential points of failure
- High quality aluminum means the net is very strong yet very light
- 23 inch hoop gives plenty of room when netting
- Designed for various land animals and that solid construction is perfect for big fish
- Deep enough net to handle the biggest pike or muskies
- Not built for fish so not built for a stable center of balance
- Handle can get a touch slick in really rainy wet weather
- Can be a bit much for small kids or smaller people to handle
Best Budget Pike Fishing Net: Ed Cumings Salmon and Steelhead Net
While this isn’t as good a net as the two up above, it is a solid options for the beginning angler who finds themselves on a budget and can’t quite spring for a premium fishing net.
Believe me, I get it. If you want to be fully loaded for all fishing experiences, that is going to take a major hit on the wallet over the years.
That said, there is a good option for anglers who want to go after the biggest pike the area, want a fighting chance at landing them, but don’t have a lot of cash to burn on a premium net.
This is a touch heavier than the others on the list, but honestly I don’t mind that as the difference between 1.5 and 2.5 lbs shouldn’t be anything that makes a major difference when it comes to buying decisions.
I liked the black foam grips, though in my experience these do wear down over time so this net will not be nearly as comfortable to grip after two years of use as it is out of the box.
So keep that in mind if that’s a big factor for you.
This net is specifically designed for salmon/steelhead. These fish can hit some heavy weights, which is a good when you’re looking for a net that is going to be able to handle a sizeable pike. However, salmon and steelhead tend to be stouter than pike so a really lengthy pike is still something to keep an eye on.
The net is long/deep enough, but don’t get lazy with your pike netting technique!
As long as you keep those in mind, the classic Ed Cumings net should be enough to do the job.
Positives of This Great Fishing Nets:
- Excellent hoop size
- Designed for large freshwater fish like salmon and steelhead, making it a better fit for pike than many bass nets
- 36-inch net depth
- Will feel comfortable to “old school” anglers used to the old fashioned nets
- Handle can become very slick in extremely wet weather
- The reach won’t be the same as some of the more premium nets
- Comfortable foam handles will wear out over time
Honestly, these are the best pike fishing nets we’ve used or have recommended to us from friends who act as pike fishing guides or have done even more successful northern pike fishing.
If you go with one of these options, you stack the odds in your favor the next time that giant pike ends up on the line 🙂
What Makes A Quality Pike Fishing Net?
One of the major things to understand is that you will need a net that has some depth to it. Nets designed for walleye, trout, and even bass only need a certain amount of depth because of the size limits of the fish. Then you look at 40 to 50 inch northern pike and realize you’re going to need a bigger net.
Bigger nets can be a bit harder to handle, so finding that combination of reach vs. handling is important to make sure you can pull in a big, long fish that is thrashing, moving, and often fighting until the last minute.
Try that with a walleye net and you have a good chance of a pike throwing the hooks and thrashing its way out of your shallow net and back into the water. Possibly with a muskie-like tail flip on the surface of the water, one final “F You” to the angler who almost had one heck of a catch.
You need a good fishing net designed to handle the largest of northern pike.
A Good Fishing Net for Pike Has Depth
If you’re looking at a narrow hoop with a net that doesn’t go down more than 24 inches (and I prefer much more) then you’re just asking for serious trouble.
Big pike can easily go north of 40 inches and that means you need a net that is a minimum of 36 inches in depth and I personally prefer the 42 inch range.
This means the net is deep enough that it can handle even big northern pike, and while it’s not a guarantee, you’ll feel much better about your chances if that crankbait gets tossed in one direction after a nasty head shake but the pike is trying to struggle its way out
Needless to say, a deep net needs a good hoop size in order to be the full package.
Anything too short, too small just isn’t going to make the best pike net even if it’s more than enough for a walleye or decent sized bass.
A good hoop + good depth of net is a combination that is an absolute must for any pike angler.
A Good Pike Fishing Net Is Strong
You can’t cheap out on a fishing net if you’re going to use it for netting big pike. You want the premium materials (especially for telescopic nets – those are disastrous if they are shabbily made) can’t have any weak point and make it easy to break.
There are multiple styles of nets that can work with pike as long as the net and hoop are long enough and they are properly made, but make sure that you know how to properly use each one. Some have different techniques for where to hold the net, how to reach out, and how to pull off that all-important scoop into the boat.
Whichever style of net you take, make sure it’s strong. At that point the rest is on you to make sure you know how to use it.
A Good Pike Fishing Net Has a Great Grip
Get a big enough long net and a heavy enough pike, and all it takes is a little rainy weather to risk losing the fish and the net. Not a great experience if you’ve ever been there.
We’re looking for a net where between the materials used and specific designs of the handle that your grip is solid whether using bare skin or thinly gloved hands.
The grip matters and it needs to be there regardless of temperature or weather. Especially with how much great pike fishing comes with cloudy weather during a steady chop.
Things can get slick and that’s even before the slime from northerns come into play. A great grip is an absolute necessity when it comes to hitting the upper echelon of fantastic nets for bringing these hard fighting Esox into the boat.
Other Quality Pike Fishing Nets of Note
Are there other great options for fishing nets? Sure. You do have plenty of options. However, with that being said it’s important to focus on the best options.
Pike are aggressive fighters who don’t act docile when you’re reeling them in. This is part of what makes them so fun to catch. That also means they are among the popular freshwater game fish that are most likely to wreck your day by wrecking your equipment.
If you want other nets to pick from, take a look at our guide and make sure your searching hits all the check marks otherwise you’re buying a net that might be good for some fish but it will struggle to consistently handle trophy-sized northern pike or trophy-sized muskies.
You have options when it comes to fishing
Pike Fishing Net FAQ
Q: Do you really need a fishing net to land a pike?
If you want to do it safely, it’s highly recommended. While there are guides who can bare hand when need be, none of them I’ve ever talked to would encourage this practice. You want a net with you whether you’re pike fishing from shore, from a boat, or even from a kayak.
Perhaps the only time that this wouldn’t be the case is when you are ice fishing for pike. In those circumstances you don’t need a net, but make sure to have some quick reflexes if the pike tries to throw the lure once it’s up. Nothing like a hook to the eye to ruin an angler’s day.
Q: What is the best sized net for a northern pike?
A: The opinions on this vary however generally speaking the best pike fishing nets are going to be between 42-50 inches although a well designed 36 inch net can handle all but the largest pike. Even then a skilled pike guide can make a smaller net work if that’s all that’s on hand.
Q: How do you net a pike?
A: You want to net a pike head first when possible. You need to be fast as they will often react to seeing a net, but going tail first makes it more likely they will find a way to shake and wriggle their way out.
There are many options for fishing nets out there, however not all of them are going to be good for pike fishing. You need large next-level nets that are well-designed, well-made, and are going to hold up to a thrashing, because most pike I’ve ever fished for didn’t just come in quietly.
They fought and thrashed until the very end.
And more than once when the hooks were thrown they danced around the edge of that net…and sometimes made it out. The deeper nets with the right hoop size won’t guarantee that the pike stays in when it throws the hook during the early part of the netting, but it gives you the best chance to pull it off, for sure.
A good fishing net is one of your best tools in making sure when you finally hook and bring that trophy fish towards the boat that you will actually be able to bring it in.
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