Net Gains
Written by James Athey - Team Experience Outdoors   
Friday, 20 April 2007 12:43

You spent hours collecting information from the Internet and from the reliable sources you are lucky enough to have in your network. All hooks have had a touch up on the ol’ stone and are sticky sharp.  Your equipment has been maintained and in good working order. With a few adjustments for present conditions your game plan has paid off and you are treated to a magnificent battle with the fish of a lifetime! As adrenaline sets the stage you reach the final moment of truth, the net job. Not much can bring such an abrupt halt to the rush as a botched net job. Even the best of fishing buddies can’t help wondering for a second or two if it wasn’t a deliberate act of jealousy-induced madness. I’ve had my share of net losses mind you, but I’m going to talk about a few things that may turn some of your net losses into net gains.


I’d wager that the majority of botched net jobs are due to one of two technique blunders. The first one being where the netter grasps the net with an iron grip, gets that deliberate look of determination and promptly drives the net into the fishes head with such force that Ahab himself would be proud. If you have ever witnessed the “harpoon” yourself, then you know all about the thoughts of madness of which I speak. Words fail at a moment like that. As hard as it is for your mind to believe what your eyes have just seen, at least the harpooner was deliberate. The second and probably most common mistake of technique is the half-hearted attempt. There are so many things that can go wrong during a weak attempt at netting a fish. Hooks get tangled on the outside of the netting, the fish gets spooked by the net and rips off on a tear etc. Netting a fish should be an aggressive action, not a passive one. When the opportunity presents itself to make the attempt, do so with confidence.


Basic techniques for successful netting: 

  • Get the angler to guide the fish to a clear area where you have good access for netting.
  • Be alert for any sudden changes of direction the fish may make.
  • Net the fish head first. If it is going to move quickly it will be in the direction it is facing.
  • With your forward hand holding the net loosely, and your rearward hand extended behind, make a stab with the net in front of where the fish is facing and scoop it back towards the fish's tail and then up to the sky. If it is a sizeable fish don’t try to pick it straight up out of the water as many nets can’t handle the stress. I have seen more than one net bent downward at a 45 degree angle from the weight of a bruiser fish.
  • Point the butt of the net to the sky and lift the net towards you hand over hand until you can lift the fish into the boat. Make sure you keep the net handle pointed up during this process. This not only prevents bent net syndrome, it also prevents your fellow fishermen from getting the net butt in the eye. In addition, it locks the fish into the net so that it cannot jump out of the opening.
Follow these basics and not only will you get more fish in the boat...your buddies won't cringe every time you pick up the net.Net Gains

Note the rearward extended hand poised for a confident, aggressive net job.









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