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Correct Net Lands More Fish

by: Brad Wiegmann

  Landing nets are the last thing most anglers think about; until itís too late and your trophy fish swims away.  Anglers will spend hours, and hundreds of dollars selecting lures.  These same anglers, when buying a landing net will purchase whatever was near the checkout counter or in stock.  Itís no surprise at the number of fish lost next to the boat due to inappropriate landing nets.

  Contrary to what many anglers believe, no one net is good for all situations.  When selecting the correct landing net, first decide on hoop size and shape.  Hoops are designed with either a tear drop, D-shaped, or scooped shapes.  A tear-drop shape is very popular and performs satisfactorily in most situations.  The D-shaped performs well in shallow water because its flat front rim hugs the lake or river bottom.  This net is also used in shad tanks and livewells to catch baitfish.  Scooped nets are preferred by trollers who normally net fish farther away from the boat, placing the net under the fish. 

  Next to consider is handle length and style.  Anglers on shore need at least a 48 inch handle or telescoping handle depending on the shoreline situation.  If wading or using a float tube a short 5-15 inch handle makes handling and transporting easy.  For Jon boats, canoes, kayaks or bass boats a 30-36 inch handle is adequate.  In deep Vís or runabouts a 48 inch handle is sufficient.   The 72-96 inch or longer telescoping handles are preferred by many trollers in large boats or with high sides.   

  Now, select your netting to your fishing style.  The mesh size for small to medium freshwater fish is 1-inch.  Larger fish require a 1.25 to 2-inch mesh size.  Netting depth should be selected on the length of your average fish caught.  Next, select which type of netting is appropriate for your fishing circumstances.  Netting is available in either knotted netting or knotless nets.  The knotted nets are more likely to be abrasive which can remove the fishes protective slime coat.  On the other hand knotless nets are designed to protect the fish for catch and release situations.  Another option for catch and release is a tangle-free rubber mesh.  This netting is a soft, elastic net made from rubber which prevents removing the protective slime coat from fish.

    Deciding on which landing net is appropriate can be difficult.  If you still need help, try using net finder feature.  This part of the website will help you select which net is right for your fishing situations.  See for more information on landing nets.

A popular landing net among professional tournament bass anglers is the Frabill Competition Series Professional Grade Catch & Release Landing Net.  This net comes in 5 different models; each vary in hoop size, hoop style, netting style and material, depth, handle type and length to match the appropriate species of fish the angler is targeting.  The real bonus to anglers using a Frabill Competition Series Net is being able to win contingency money.  At official 2008 FLW events, the angler catching big fish of the tournament and netting it with a Frabill Competition Series Net will win contingency dollars.  Only nets with the official FLW logo will qualify for the contingency dollars which increases at the championships significantly.

   So the next time you go lure shopping set aside some time checking out landing nets.  You will probably find, just like lures, you need to buy one or two.  Now you just need your buddy to grab the net, FISH ON!

Brad Wiegmann is a professional fishing guide on Beaver Lake and outdoor writer.  Contact him at (479) 756-5279 or by e-mail at