What Makes a Good Net for Fly Fishing?
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What Makes a Good Net for Fly Fishing?

There are few things more relieving than sliding a fish into the basket and having a moment to take a breath.  There are scenarios where a net is not necessary, but more often than not a net will be your best friend when bringing a big fish to hand.  Not only does it increase your landing ratio, but a fish-friendly net will decrease your catch-and-release mortality and impact on our fisheries.

What makes a good net?  Here are a few things to look for:

Floatability:  I once had a customer come into the fly shop I was working at and complained that his new $200 net sunk to the bottom of the lake while he was releasing a fish.  The net itself was a work of art but liberally varnished and very heavy.  When choosing a net, make sure that you have the freedom to use both hands to release a fish without worrying about the dent it may make in your pocket.

Mesh vs. Rubber: Popular now is “ghost mesh”, a rubber netting with large diameter holes that becomes very slick when wet.  A lot of anglers are gravitating towards this as it has almost no chance of knocking slime or causing bodily harm to the fish before being released.  Catch & release mesh is another great option, and much lighter than rubber.  The only real downside to mesh is that small flies have a way of finding themselves caught up in it.

Handle Length + Basket Depth:  Make sure that the net you are choosing is appropriate for the fishery at hand.  Hiking a small spring creek that doesn’t hold a fish larger than 8″?  You do not need a long-handled salmon net and vise-versa.  Take into consideration the size of the fish you are regularly going to be targeting as well as an appropriate handle length.

This post is in no way sponsored, but I am a firm believer that Moby Nets (Owned by Don Chatwin) are the best nets you can buy with money.  Have a great long weekend!

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