Nets are often the only way to land a fish, but they are next to useless if you do not have a good method of carrying it. When the time comes to use your net, you are typically preoccupied with trying to control the fish. The odds of losing the fish greatly increase if you have to struggle with handling your net.
Here are two tips that can make netting a fish less stressful.
- First, we wear a vest and suspend the net from the back D-ring. The key is to hang the net bow up and handle down. By doing this you can easily reach behind your back and grab your net by the handle and land the fish. Many people hang their nets with the handle up. This makes it very difficult to grab the correct end of the net in a hurry.
- Second, use a leash. When you are standing in moving water, and you set your net down to continue to fight a hot fish your net rarely stays where you left it. A bungee cord leash also holds your net when you hike through willows.
Handle with Care
Try to use your net a last resort. If you can, land the fish with your free hand (be sure your hand is wet!), or try to remove the hook with your Hemos without ever touching the fish. Trout have a protective slime coating covering their skins that defends them from a disease. The more you handle a trout with your hand or net, the more of the protective coating you remove. Be nice to the trout and use a rubber net bag, and minimize the time you handle the trout before releasing her to fight another day.
A final pro tip – the biggest problem with hanging your net from the back of your vest is when you bend over it tends to swing around and conk you in the head. If you attach a bungee to the handle and the other end to the D-ring on the back of your vest and run it inside your vest, it will keep the net from moving.
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