Landing Nets

A good landing net is an important piece of tackle. You don’t want the thing to let you down at the critical moment when your best fish of the year is dangling temptingly near, with the hook hanging onto a mere sliver of skin. That’s not the time to be wrestling with some collapsible wonder net that refuses to deploy

The LAW – It is now law in the UK that all landing nets used in fresh water have knotless mesh. If you are still using an old landing net with knotted mesh, you could find yourself in trouble. Replacements for the actual net bit are available at modest cost.

Trout Nets

A good net should be light but strong. It should have a simple folding mechanism and belt clip for easy carry. Ideally, it should also have an extendable telescopic handle that can be pulled out with one hand, using your foot on the net rim. There are occasions when you need extra reach to land a fish (e.g., from a high bank). I believe that a shiny net frame can frighten a fish just as you are about to net it.

Never ‘chase’ a fish with a landing net. The correct way to net a fish is to sink the net in the water; then draw the fish firmly but quietly over the rim and lift. If you are asked to net someone else’s fish (particularly a salmon) the best thing to do is walk away and pretend you haven’t heard! If pressed, wade a short way out – downstream if in a river – into at least a couple of feet of water and STAND STILL. With the net in the water wait until the fish is brought to you. Only lift when the fish is over the net.
If you intend to release a fish, do not beach or net it and then pick it up. The worst thing you can do is lift it up by the tail, with its head hanging down. That is likely to damage the spinal column and/or internal organs. Instead, hold the fish by the wrist of the tail with one hand and cradle it under the belly with the other hand to support its weight.