A fishing net (sometimes called a landing net) should be in every fishing boat. It may seem like “a net is a net” with which I can scoop up fish; but it is not that simple. How you use the net matters. Used improperly, too many anglers botch the catch at the netting stage. There are several things to consider when properly using a fishing net.
The first thing is to use the correct size net. Landing nets come in various sizes for various sized fish. One size is suitable for the average catfish, bass, and other sized fish. If you are looking to catch bigger fish, look for the bigger size nets. If you are into “catch and release”, get a cradle net that causes less harm to a big fish.
A second thing about using a fishnet is to select one with the proper mesh. It pays to spend a little more for other kinds of netting than knotted nylon because knotted nylon may harm a fish. This is especially important if you plan to release the fish. Knotless nylon, coated with other materials are better for “conservation nets”.
A third thing about using a fishnet is to use the power of teamwork. Most of the time, there are multiple people in the boat. One person is catching the fish while another one uses the net. Both people need to understand how to net a fish and how to communicate during this process. If you have a person with no fishing experience in the boat, make sure you have stressed proper procedures when “manning” the net.
A fourth thing about using a fishnet is to always net your catch headfirst. Mishandling the fishnet is the most common error an angler makes when trying to net the fish. If the fish realizes what is happening, the fish is smart enough to dart for freedom. You could push the net while chasing the fish’s tail or the line may snap and the fish goes free. Realize that fish do not swim backwards. When you have the rim of the hoop under the fish’s head, you are usually home free.
Many times, the focus on fishing is about bait, lures, and other things used to entice the fish to “bite”. It is heartbreaking when the fish “bites”, but you lose it in the end. Using the proper net in the proper way will help you “seal the deal”.