Small fish can be lifted out of the water, but big fish should be netted out. A good sized frame is essential as it can be quite frustrating trying to coax a big fish into a tiny landing net! A triangular shaped net has the advantage over a circular one in that it makes it easier to land fish in shallower water. The modern pan shaped landing nets are ideal for small to medium sized fish in that they are shallow and you do not have to grope around in the mesh for your fish as you do in a deep net. As you gain experience you will need a larger, deeper landing net for species such as pike, carp and barbel. Landing nets are now available in fine, knotless mesh and these avoid a lot of fish damage. The only disadvantage with a fine mesh landing net is that they are more difficult to manoeuvre in a fast flowing river. Even so, I prefer this type to the wide mesh knotted nets because as many torn tails and fins are caused by landing nets as by keepnets. Keepnets
Whilst not an essential item of tackle, many anglers like to retain fish in a keepnet until the end of the day. If you take up match fishing then a keepnet does become essential for holding fish until the weigh-in at the end of the match. The knotless keepnets have helped tremendously to avoid damage to fish but they are not infallible. There is not much point in going to all the effort of retaining fish in a knotless net if, at the end of the day, you tip the fish on to a patch of gravel or mud. Many water authorities now insist that knotless nets be used and have laid down rules governing minimum sizes. Try to choose a large, wide keepnet. The width of the keepnet is nearly as important as the length, for the fish must have room to move.