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Gear Review: Fishpond Nomad Hand Net

Think An Expensive Net isn't worth your Money? Think Again.

Initial Thoughts

My experience with Fishpond has been outstanding. Since I started working in the fly fishing industry about 10 years ago, I've always viewed their products as high-quality products.

I was working at Bigfork Anglers Fly Shop in western Montana around 2015 when the shop owner, Jason, told me that I had been doing good work and deserved a bonus. He handed me a Fishpond Nomad Hand net.

Up to that point in my life, I had used nothing other than cheap, made-in-China rubber fishing nets that worked fine but usually ended up broken with how hard I fished (or how abusive I can be to my gear; you decide). I can remember one distinct occasion where I slipped in the woods and fell directly on a wooden net I was carrying and hearing the loud "CRACK" of the frame being snapped into two pieces.

I held the Fishpond Nomad Hand net and was immediately in awe of one thing: the price tag. I was honored to receive that bonus from Jason because I never would have forked out over $100 for a net at the time. As I continued to inspect the net, I noticed the smooth, yet grippy texture of the handle of the net. The span/width of the net was larger than I was used to carrying at the time, but I don't even notice anymore.

Physical Specifications

Basket dimensions: 13" x 18"

Bag depth: 12"

Length: 26"

Weight (with rubber net): 400g or 0.88lb.

Material: Carbon Fiber & Fiberglass Composite

Other: Waterproof, Buoyant

It is nice to have such obvious dimensions on this net, especially if you like measuring your fish. A fish that spans the basket of this net is 18" long. A fish that spans from end-to-end is 26". Easy enough to measure just using your net.

A 21” walleye that fit easily in the Nomad Hand Net


This net floats, and floats well. That is really important.

I was fishing Rock Creek near Missoula, Montana around 2016. I had landed a fish, I put it in the net, and shared some smiles and a quick grip-and-grin with my fishing pals. I was used to my net being attached to my fishing pack, and for some reason that day, it wasn't.

As soon as I let the fish go, I instinctively reached behind me to check for my net...and it was gone. Knowing exactly what had happened, I ditched my rod on the bank and started sprinting down the creek in my waders and boots on that slippery cobble. I eventually found the bank and ran along the stream scanning...and sure enough, there was my beautiful Fishpond net bobbing in a tailout of a pool about 100 yards from where I had last used it. (My lesson learned that day: buy a magnetic net release.)

The handle on the Fishpond Nomad Hand Net is short. This is different than many of the nets you see anglers carrying around these days. While there are certainly instances where having a long-handled net is useful (Fishpond sells these too), there are also times where a short-handled net is beneficial - to the wading angler, specifically. When making long day hikes or bushwhacks into a fishing spot, it's nice to not have to worry about a long handle getting in the way. Attaching to the outside of a backpack or day pack is not a logistical/orientation issue like it might be with a long-handled net. However, a short-handled net like this is not ideal from a boat or if you are fishing from a bank above the water.

Shannon and Dylan with a nice Salmo trutta under the Big Sky

The frame of this net is extremely durable. I've been known to use my net as my sort-of balancing object while wading through slippery streams, and on more than one occasion I have, without thinking, used the frame of the net to break my fall. While I don't recommend this, my Fishpond Nomad Hand Net has held up despite those instances for well over 7 years now.

I have replaced the rubber netting once in 7 years, but most of that is again, user error, as I bushwhack into brush regularly to find "untouched waters" and my net sometimes gets caught in woody debris. I do notice that over time, whether it is the sun or the exposure to dirt, the clear rubber of the net tends to discolor and turn a little yellow. I should probably buy a black rubber net as my next replacement. Replacing these rubber nets is easy and requires just a few minutes of threading and knot tying, a great little wintertime project.

I put common carp in this net regularly in Iowa, as well as other species of fish that range up to 15 pounds. While I don't sit there doing bicep curls with my Nomad Hand Net with a carp in the net, it is clear that the rubber net is able to support a significant amount of weight without the rubber breaking or the frame stressing.


The Fishpond Nomad Hand Net is a fantastic product from a respectable company. The net is wide, and yet small enough to easily be attached to a pack and/or transported with the angler on his ventures.

If you're nervous about the price tag, let me assure you of the value of owning this net:

  1. Fishpond stands by their products. If something goes wrong with your net, they will take care of you.

  2. Fishpond nets last for a LONG time.

  3. The Nomad Hand Net, specifically, has a nice deep bucket that allows for you to hold some pretty sizable fish while not carrying a massive net with you.

If you are an adventurous, wading angler, consider purchasing a net from the Fishpond line of nets. Having used the Nomad Hand Net for 7 years now, I don't plan to use anything different on my wading adventures to corral what I find on the end of my line.


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