Nothing makes a fish bigger than almost being caught! Landing a fish without a net makes for these great stories. Using a decent net allows your fish stories to have a Happy Ending.
The most reliable way to land a fish is to beach them. This can be a problem if you are in a boat or chest deep in the water. It is also rough on the fish if you plan to Catch and Release them. Beached fish are pretty much down for the count even if they swim away.
Not all nets are created equal. The net fabric is key to success. Nets that have holes and tears in them are worthless. Cloth nets will wipe the protective mucous coating off the fish’s skin. The best fabric is one-inch square netting made of rubber or nylon. Whatever net fabric you use, wet it first. Wet your hands also before handling any fish you plan to release.
Stout handles and frames are important. Years ago, I was catching pike in a Canadian lake. We had decent gear and a huge net. My partner was net ready as a MONSTER Northern Pike came along side the boat. The fish had fought hard and slid into the net. My friend then lifted the netted pike up and out of the water. The aluminum handle bent and broke along with my line and heart. Make sure that the net construction matches the fish you plan to net.
If you wear your net on a vest, use a retractable net retriever. The net needs to store high on your back, so it is always available. Be careful when walking through the bushes with a retriever net. They have a knack for hooking up and releasing back into your face just when you release you are snagged. Magnet net holders work well but if you need to fight the fish longer, after getting your net, the net will end up on the ground.
Know your net worth and have fun!
For more Montana Grant, visit his blog at www.montanagrantfishing.com.