The Global FlyFisher
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The landing net for the coast
I often wonder what US fishers do if they stumble on a really big fish that they want to net. I'm aware that many fishers land many - if not all - of their fish with the hands. I use the hands for all but the largest. But still it must happen that fishers strike on a brown trout or rainbow is much too big for these small snow shoe nets.
Edit May 2011: This is a very old article, dating more than 15 years back, and even though it did hold true while I used a net, I haven't been carrying one for years. The last decade or so, I have hand landed my fish when catch&release fishing and used the very simple and efficient method of beaching them when they were larger and I wantede to keep them.
I often wonder what US fishers do if they stumble on a really big fish that they want to net. I'm aware that many fishers land many - if not all - of their fish with the hands. I use the hands for all but the largest. But still it must happen that fishers strike on a brown trout or rainbow is much too big for these small snow shoe nets that I see on photos and videos.
On the Danish coast my net is considered a small one. It's not because we catch extremely large fish, but still it's easier to land a small fish in a large net than vise versa. The frame on my net on the picture is approx. 70 cm (28") from end to end and 50 cm (20") across. It's made from a tonkin rod and a deep net bag (80 cm or 32"). The handle is very short, which is all that's needed when fishing wading or from a float tube. I bought this one, but it would be quite easy to make one similar yourself.
The net is carried in the same way by almost all Danish fishermen: the handle stuck into a belt and carried with the frame up behind your neck. I even wrap the bag around the handle before sticking it in there, which gets the thing out of the way of bushes, braches and even drifting sea weed. It's easy to get at; no clamps, magnets og locks - just pull it out. It's tied to the belt with a string (approx. 1 meter or 40") and when I run into a fish, I just get it out in good time and let it float in the water. When I run into very good fishing, and want to take home more than one fish, I don't even bother to put it back between fish.
But remember: try not to use the net if you intend to C&R the fish.