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Courtesy of Gink & Gasoline
13 COMMENTS / POSTED ON DECEMBER 9, 2012 / BY KENT KLEWEIN
Having someone that knows how to use a net is priceless. Photo Louis Cahill
I love those fish landing commercials because they point out how important a role your net man can play in helping you land fish. A lot of the time props are only given to the angler battling the fish, but many times the experienced net man by your side deserves a good portion of those props. There’s no doubt that when fish and angler are evenly matched in a fierce battle, having an experienced net man can often end up putting the odds in the anglers favor. Many of my big fish have only been landed because I’ve been lucky enough to have a badass with a net backing me up. As a guide, I’ve had lots of time to hone my netting skills over the years. During the process, I picked up on some key characteristics you need to make sure you carry with you at all times if you want to become worthy of holding the “Extreme Net Man” status.
And for the respect of both female and male anglers out there let’s consider the phrase “Extreme Net Man” to be uni-sex please.
You not only have to have an offense that’s deadly accurate at scooping up fish, but you also need to have a strong defense as well. A good defense means you’re constantly looking for danger zones during the fight and you do whatever you can to help the angler keep the fish away from them. Examples are blocking a snag with your body to avoid a break off, or cutting off a fish running downstream that’s about to move into big rapids or round a bend. The net man can often move quicker than the angler with the rod because they don’t have to worry about keeping line tension during the fight.
A prime example of reading a fish is understanding sometimes fish are too hot to rush in and net, even when they’re within range. Examples of this are, jumping, thrashing, or erratic moving fish. These all provide very small margins of error for the net man. If you’re off just a few inches with your scoop you can end up ticking the leader and breaking a fish off. Another issue that can arise from moving in prematurely to net a fish is you may abruptly spook the fish, causing a sharp increase in line tension that could cause the line to break or a hook to pull free. That’s just a couple problems you can run into if you don’t read a fish correctly. Always start out moving in one step at a time while your reading the fish. If the fish seems ok with your presence then continue closer until you can get a good scoop. Always try scoop a fish head first or from the side. If you try to tail net a fish most of the time it will swim out of the net during the scoop.
Let’s say your towards the end of the battle and the fish is done making long runs and is pretty much just bull dogging you stationary in the current. In this situation, I’ll position myself directly in front of the angler crouched down. As the fish is worked in I’ll be equally ready to scoop the fish if it decides last second to move left or right. I see a lot of guys standing on the left or right side of the angler. If your on the left and the fish breaks right you may miss your opportunity to get a scoop on the fish. Keep your options open by standing in the best offensive position when the fish is ready to be netted.
If you want to catch jumping fish out of the air and pull off split-second ninja scoops you need to carry the right net. An extreme net man will always carry a medium to long handled net with a wide brim and basket that’s deep enough to hold a trophy size fish securely. The net will be tough and durable enough to take a beating and perform flawlessly day in and day out. Lastly, an extreme net man will always have a back up net in the car just in case.
Keep it Reel,
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