It seems very simple to catch a fish with a net in your pond. Just see the fish, put the net by it quickly, and scoop it up. Right? Wrong!
Fish are really great at sensing danger and quickly avoiding it. Plus what you see and do underwater is refracted, meaning it isn’t really where you see it. Put the two together and you can get calamity easily.
Thankfully there are many tips for catching a fish in a pond with a net. Follow everything below and you’ll be scooping up fish in no time for whatever purpose you may need!
Using bait to lure fish
If there is one thing to take away from this article – it’s to use bait to lure fish into your net.
Now a fish is not going to swim into your net just because bait is in it, so that is not my suggestion. Instead, find a piece of food your fish likes and feed them a piece or two to get them accustomed to eating it. Then, put one in the water and as they are moving towards it, put your net in behind them and catch them.
This works well because you get the fish into an area you can easily net them. If you’re trying to catch multiple fish at once, you’ll find that “chumming” an area works well. This is just putting lots of food over an area to get them all in that vicinity.
But even if you are after a specific fish – putting bait in a specific spot will likely draw it’s attention. They will eat a few pieces and become accustomed to seeing it – making them less aware of the net when you eventually use it.
If you can, using floating bait here works well. Anything that sinks to the bottom of the pond works very poorly. Floating works best because it’s easy to get a net in behind them quickly and they don’t have as much room to avoid it. If it’s on the bottom, you’re likely to bump across the bottom and never actually get the fish which can avoid the net much more easily.
Strategize the area to net
When choosing where to place the bait to scoop up your fish you need to think of a couple things.
Pick an area that is decently shallow but not extremely so. You want an area that is deep enough you can get your entire net in but not deeper than double your nets width. This helps you get a good swipe at the fish without it being so deep they have ample room to avoid it.
Natural cover that you can pin the fish against is also great. This could be the edge of the pond or a big rock or other natural feature in the lake. You’re trying to cut out escape routes for the fish to get away without getting in the net.
Make sure it’s also an area that you can reach easily and get the fish out of. You don’t want it right up next to you as that may scare a fish. But you don’t want it so far away you can barely reach it. Try and hit a nice middle ground if you can.
Also try to pick the clearest water you can find. It’s hard enough to catch a fish when you can see it. Do it in a dirty part of the pond and you’ll make it even harder….
Pin your fish into a corner
If you have the ability to, you can also use the net to try and corral the fish into a corner.
You can use bait to assist, but essentially you will put the net behind the fish and move them into a corner where you can more easily scoop them up.
This will likely require a combination of all the tings listed above. You can put your net in one side of the pond which stops the fish from going that direction. Then, bait them towards the area you want and continually move the net behind them to keep them from going back.
Once you find the edge or an area where natural cover lets you pin them down, you can make the scoop and pick them up easily. Again, this only works in a few situations but is extremely effective when possible.
Buy the correct fishing net for the job
If you haven’t already gotten the net you want, let me make a few suggestions. Or just buy this net because it’s the best on the market in my opinion.
Get the biggest net that you can handle well. For most people, this is about a two foot diameter and up to a four foot length.
The length is going to be helpful for keeping the fish farther away from you so that it doesn’t get spooked. But if it’s too long it will be unwieldy and you can’t move it as quickly as needed to capture the fish. Four foot is a good length for most people but you can go longer in some cases.
The diameter depends more on what you have available and the depth of your pond. As mentioned before, you want your net to be completely submerged but not larger than the depth to allow maximum flexibility in movement. 2 feet is a good average that can be used and purchased easily.
You’ll want to think about handle length too. I find one handed nets are easiest to use so nothing with a long handle or anything heavy is needed. I want one hand to put down the bait, and another to use the net. So I recommend a one-handed if able.
The Frabill net includes all of those features and includes a handle near the base of the net if you want to only use it one handed. Or a long handle for two handed. It’s expensive, but if you will be netting fish often well worth it.
The fish catching motion with a net
We have prepared as much as we can – now it’s time to talk about the motion of getting a fish into a net.
This will require you to move as fast as you possibly can. Slow and steady won’t win the race. Just aim towards where the fish is and try to scoop it as quickly as possible so it can’t react and swim away.
You’ll also want to pull it towards the surface directly after getting it in the net. A fish can swim out of the net unless you get it above the water where you have the advantage. So as soon as it’s in the net, get it up and out.
Centering on the fish is also important. It will dart any way that it can to get away, so try and aim for it’s center of mass. That way no matter which way it moves, it has no where to go.
The only time this is different is if you’re catching it while it’s near the surface. Then, you can keep most of the net deeper and only use the upper area to target the fish. It has no where to swim but down, so you can adjust accordingly.
If you miss on the first attempt
Your first attempt is definitely the best chance you have to net a fish. They are likely to be much more aware afterwards that there may be something wrong as you bait them into an area.
But thankfully fish have pretty short attention spans. Give it a few minutes and just try again using the same techniques. Maybe using more bait if needed.
Then, you’ll find the fish very willing to cooperate as their need to eat outweighs their concern of getting caught usually. So you can try multiple times until you find the right way to get them netted.
Also try and find out what went wrong with your first attempt and plan accordingly. Did they have too much room to swim away? Were you too far away to get a good move on them? Could you lure them in closer with bait? Learn from mistakes and try again.
Finally – know that you won’t always catch them and this is a game of patience. Fish are not the most intelligent of animals so you sill have more opportunities.
If you follow these guidelines you will be able to net fish in your pond easily. Just remember to plan everything accordingly and bait the fish exactly where you want them before trying to scoop them up. If you have any other tips that you believe would be helpful please leave them below. While I have netted many fish from ponds, I’m always happy to learn new tips and tricks!