Considerations For Selecting Fly Fishing Nets

By Stephanie Skinner

Fly fishing is a sport that is becoming increasingly popular. It is suitable for many different species of fish and takes the sportsperson into a number of different attractive locales. A lot of money is spent on the best equipment, with much attention being given to rods, lines, reels and artificial flies. But items which are often treated almost as an afterthought are the fly fishing nets.

A net to land the fish is vital, especially for catch-and release. Gaffing the fish does irreparable damage. The lines are delicate and often tested to the limit of their strength in playing the fish: they are not suitable for dragging the catch over rocks or through weeds at the edge. A net is also important when alone, as there is no-one else available to land the catch.

Indeed, several in different configurations might be needed. While short handles make for easy transport, a long handle is often essential in practice. A net with a telescoping handles meets the case, but it should be easy to extend and fix the handle in position using one hand. Different sizes might also be needed.

The shape of the rim of the net is also a factor to consider, some are triangular, some are oval or round. Triangular ones generally seem to be the most popular. However, shape is not as important as that the net should be big enough. A net which is too small will allow many fish to escape, while too large is clumsy to use.

A net is best held more or less horizontally in the water while the fish is swum over it, the net then being lifted at an opportune moment. Sighting the net often prompts a last escape attempt, which may succeed because this is an awkward moment for the angler. Choose a color which will not be so noticeable in the water.

The importance of good fly fishing nets is often under-rated, and the fishing experience is poorer as a result. A high proportion of last-minute escapes implies that the net and landing technique should be re-evaluated. Compared to other items, the net is relatively inexpensive, but its selection still requires the same care that is given to the more glamorous articles.

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