BUYER'S GUIDE: Best carp landing nets

We've rounded up a selection of the best landing nets on the carp market and put each one of them under the microscope in this group review.

As usual, tackle editor Marc Coulson has ditched the catalogue waffle and written about these nets based on his own hands-on experience.

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ESP TERRY HEARN

RRP: £169.99 | www.esp-carpgear.com

 

 Lovely carbon and solidly built, as you'd expect from ESP

Lovely carbon and solidly built, as you'd expect from ESP

One thing I have always admired ESP for is that its products are always exceptionally well made and without too many unnecessary ‘bells and whistles’, but they fulfill their intended purpose faultlessly.

While the Terry Hearn net may not be as ‘deluxe’ as one or two others on my list, the quality throughout is doubtless; it more than does its job and looks great at the same time.

 The ESP Terry Hearn net

The ESP Terry Hearn net

Sure, looks shouldn’t mean too much in a landing net, but in reality we all love our kit to look the part.

The one-piece carbon handle is strong yet lightweight and features a roughened area for better grip. It’s also dressed with a simple nylon spreader block, into which the 44ins carbon net arms are attached and replaced extremely easily.

The mesh is nice and soft and there’s plenty of room, as with most of the nets, for some seriously big carp.

 The spreader block

The spreader block

TRAKKER EQ

RRP: £129.99 | www.trakkerproducts.co.uk

TRAKKER EQ net review

Another one-piece carbon handle (there is a two-piece version available) this time boasting three shrink-wrap handle sections.

The first thing you notice about the EQ is the machined stainless spreader block, which looks the part and is not overly bulky.

However, it inevitably adds a little weight and, so, a net float would be a useful accessory to buy if you owned this net.

 The stainless spreader block catches the eye

The stainless spreader block catches the eye

I also found that removing and locating the arms into the spreader a bit tight initially, but it did get easier after a few goes.

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The handle itself is super strong and retains a little flexibility, which I prefer, and it’s extremely well balanced.

The mesh is also among the softest and boasts reinforced sections at each corner, rounding off an impressive all-round net which again looks the part too.

FOX HORIZON XT

RRP: £190 | www.foxint.com 

I owned and used one of these until I managed to leave it at a Kent fishery last summer and I absolutely loved it.

The most obvious feature is the multi-piece handle which is made up of 6ft and 3ft sections, allowing it to be used at a standard length or at 3ft or 9ft with both pieces employed.

 The multi-piece handle is very impressive

The multi-piece handle is very impressive

The 9ft option is a godsend when landing fish on zigs or when that little extra reach is needed in some swims, while anybody landing carp from a boat will appreciate the 3ft option.

Each section features soft, shrink-wrap grips.

The quality throughout is exceptional and I found the compact spreader block one of the easiest to use in terms of popping the arms in and out.

 Small spreader block is easy to use

Small spreader block is easy to use

Carbon arms feature stainless end sections while the net is reinforced in the corners. I tested the 46ins version net, which is huge, but there’s also a 42ins model as well as spares and accessories available.

WYCHWOOD SOLACE

RRP: £59.99 | www.wychwoodcarp.co.uk

The first thing I must say about this net is that it is exceptional value for money at just under £60 and includes a free net float into the bargain.

 Compact and under £60 - a great deal

Compact and under £60 - a great deal

Okay, it might not be as deluxe as some here, but come on, that’s a third of the price of some and a quarter of the price of the Solar!

The two-piece handle comprises two 3ft sections and, while boat anglers might like to use it at half length, for me the main advantage of this is its compact nature when packed away.

 You get a net float as standard

You get a net float as standard

The arms locate into and remove from the spreader block very easily and I like that the net itself is reinforced along the length of the arms and cord.

The real tackle tarts might want to look at a bit further up the scale than the Solace, but for me this is a great piece of kit for really not a lot of money.

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It would make the ideal net for the occasional carp, the man on a realistic budget, or even as a spare for idiots like me who lose things for fun!

GARDNER DUAL REACH

RRP: £110 | www.gardnertackle.co.uk

As the name suggests, at full length this is a seriously long net, thanks to the two 4ft sections which combine at a central spigot.

This makes it ideal for use when zig fishing, for example, and while the added length can take a little bit of getting used to, it undoubtedly offers advantages over a 6ft version.

 It's long!

It's long!

With just the one 4ft section employed it’s again a much easier proposition when landing fish from a boat.

The net itself is sizeable too at 44ins and the super-soft dual mesh will swallow up any carp you’re likely to encounter.

The net is also reinforced along the length of the arms and cord, which I like to see.

The stainless spreader block and arm tips were a little bit stiff to use at first, but were secure once fitted and Gardner has included a free net float to combat any additional weight in this section.

 The spreader block

The spreader block

To be fair, the weight gain is nominal and the entire net, even at its full length still feels light and well balanced. 

 A net float is included

A net float is included

Overall, especially given the price tag, the Dual Reach is a lot of net and gives you plenty of options.

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My only slight gripe, and it purely opinion, is that the finish is a little bit glossy whereas I prefer a matt or satin look. That certainly wouldn’t put me off owing and using one though.

Nash Scope

RRP: £164.99 | www.nashtackle.co.uk

A matt a black finish as you’ll see, this one fits in perfectly with the Scope family of rods and, like the 9ft rod, packs down to a super-compact 44ins.

 Part of the popular Scope family of kit from Nash

Part of the popular Scope family of kit from Nash

This means it works perfectly with the Scope luggage and means that even if you use it separately it takes up very little space in the car boot.

Instead of being two piece, however, the twist and lock telescopic design means it can be used at any length up to the fully extended 6ft and a few inches.

 The handle is telescopic 

The handle is telescopic 

I accidentally found that the butt cap unscrews, but for the life of me don’t know why. I’m sure it’s either irrelevant or there’s some sneaky reason behind it!

I love the finish on the handle which gives the Scope a stealthy look and that’s matched in the compact spreader block which I found easy to use when setting up and dismantling the net. I know I mention this in most of the nets, but it’s an important factor as far as I’m concerned.

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The arms too boast the matt black look and I also like that the mesh is a little darker than the others, while still khaki green.

 The Scope spreader block

The Scope spreader block

In all, if you’re after something super stealthy which looks great and also does its intended job perfectly, or if you’re bang into the Scope thing then, although not cheap, this is the net for you.

JRC EXTREME TX

RRP: £129.99 | www.jrc-fishing.co.uk

Okay, so this is a bit clever and very unlike anything else in this line-up.

JRC Extreme TX landing net review

The TX net and two-piece handle themselves are lightweight, robust and well made, and the clever magnetic net retention system is a great addition.

Basically there’s a small magnet embedded in the net and a metal disk in the handle and the two combine to retain the net when not in use.

The magnet, before you ask, is safely enveloped in a material section and never comes into contact wit the carp.

Right, let’s get on to the really interesting bit…

The TX has a clip-on LED light which attaches to the spreader block and which has three settings, namely red, white and off.

 This motion-operated light clips into the spreader

This motion-operated light clips into the spreader

When engaged, a motion/vibration sensor inside the unit automatically turns the light on when you pick up the net, giving you a beam of either light to aid landing the fish at night.

This may be up your street or it may not, but I do think that very many anglers will appreciate it – no more forgetting your head torch as you won’t need it!
 

 The JRC is a feature-packed piece of kit

The JRC is a feature-packed piece of kit

Finally, even if you do not want to buy the entire net, you can buy the light unit and spreader block (which would fit the large majority of nets out there) as separates, transforming your own net into one that offers the lighting aid itself.

SOLAR P1 BOW-LOC

RRP: £249.99 | www.solartackle.co.uk

Okay, there’s no doubting that £250 is a hell of a lot of money for a landing net, in fact it’s a lot of money to most of us full stop.

However, I’ve always been of the opinion that if you are in a position to spend money on the finer things in life then good luck to you.

 Made in the UK, this is a top-end piece of kit with a push-button arm release

Made in the UK, this is a top-end piece of kit with a push-button arm release

As a result, I’ve never balked at giving a fair review to any top-end kit, be that £500 rods, £700 reels or a bait boat worth more than my car!

So, assuming the price isn’t an issue, what you have here is about a good a landing net as you could wish for, all made from the highest-spec materials and with a genuine thought and design process at every stage.

The handle is made from genuine 3k carbon and boasts my favourite satin finish dressed with top-quality stainless fittings, for which Solar is synonymous.

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It also boasts Solar’s Twis-Loc system which allows it to extend telescopically from 4ft to a little over six and a half feet and anywhere in between. 

The stainless spreader block is where most people’s immediate interest is drawn, as it looks so darned good and features a push-button release mechanism to engage and disengage the arms in an instant.

 Build quality is exceptional

Build quality is exceptional

It’s exceptionally well made right here in the UK, but does add a little extra weight so a net float would be in order.

That said, even with all the trimmings adorning the Bow-Loc, the overall weight is still pretty impressive.

It’s a significant investment, and you might want to sleep with one eye open at night, but there’s absolutely no doubting the class of the Bow-Loc.