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BobT

Net handling

13 posts in this topic

I would like to hear some opinions about a topic I had with a buddy regarding how to properly handle the net for someone.

My position was to that you keep the net out of the water until the proper moment to scoop up the fish. The person fighting the fish only needs to bring it within reach. I believe and have seen all too many fish catch sight of the net and at that moment make a sudden run and snap the line. To me this also provides for more flexibility when it comes time to net the fish.

My buddy contended that you should put the net in the water and allow the person handling the fish to bring it to the net.

Opinions?

Sorry, I left out his argument which was that having the net in the water will not spook the fish as much as the sudden appearance of the net when you do it my way.

Bob

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I'm on your side on this one BobT. I prefer to have the net out of the water until the fish appears to be ready for netting. I too have seen a number of occassions where the net is in the water, the fish sees it and makes a big turn and run the opposite direction and sometimes will snap the line or the hooks pull out. Having the net in the water to me seems like a less effective way of positioning the net correctly as it is more difficult to manuever a net in the water than out.

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I also think it depends on the size of the fish. Netting a crappie is a lot different than a pike or muskythat might take a run on you upon seeing the net.

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I donno Bob I think you are both rite. I have dun it both ways if you can keep the fish's head out of the water when neting you should be ok to have it in the water, ya know like when your troling but if you are fishing pike/bass in shallow keep it out of the water. I realy don't think there is a wrong or rite it is a case by case thing. but if you lose a fish it's aways the guy with the nets fault grin.gif

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I tend to think its the net plunging into the water that spooks the fish. After all the net (not moving) is not really more scary than the boat its being pulled toward. I like the net in early and drag the fish in.

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My feeling is to put the net in at the end. My reasoning is it is a heck of a lot easier to move the net into position when you are out of the water than in. The water has enough resistance to slow down your actions enough that it makes a difference in my opinion. I also want that net out of the way until I know the fish is ready to come in. If that fish isn't ready the net can get into the way of the line as that fish dives below it on another run.

Either way, I think the person catching the fish should have say in how it is handled for that fish. Almost like that person has the right of way.

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bobber/jiggin for eyes i go with the splash and scoop - in and out quick - for me its more of a having the net in the right place at the right time and its way easier to move the net out of the water.

trolling cranks/spinners i go with a long net, off the back, in the water, and drag the fish to the net. big eye is going to dive at the boat again no matter what but when fishing this way i know the fish is coming in from the rear so it is easy to know where the net should be.

musky fishing - well all i have to say there is keep the net ready and in the water - only have to get your hooks hung up on the outside of the net once to learn this lession. scoop not stab!

bass - well it would have to be a 10lber to get the net out

i pride myself on being a great net man - there is alot of skill involved and most people joke about it but there is a very big difference in someone who is good with a net and someone who is not. i truely believe it is more important than how you fight the fish - about as important as how you got the fish to bite in the first place.

i have three different nets for three different things - any fish in my boat that did not come off my rod, i netted it. fisherman on my boat learn quick to get out of my way and dont even think about grabbing the net unless i told you too. no matter how many people are on my boat or how busy i am doing something else i always drop everything to make sure its done right.

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Excellent question! And an underrated skill as well. Gus hit the key point, LISTEN to the guy on the rod! It's his fish, his call. Let him tell you what he wants you to do and when to do it. Obviously if it's an inexperienced angler that doesn't hold, but generally no one knows better when a fish is ready then the guy on the rod. And nothing sucks quite as much as having some bonehead (excuse me, well-meaning bonehead) knock your fish off with a bungled net job. At least if you do what he asks, you're off the hook if something goes awry. I pride myself on being a good net man as well, and I know which of my buddies I want manning the net when the moneys on the line.

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Great responses! In the end, the two of us agreed to terms as Gus suggested. The guy handling the fish has the say because then he knows what to expect. This reminds me of a rather silly incident I'll share.

Back in 2000, six of us had gone up to Lac Seul for a week of fishing. At one point one of the two-man teams had hooked a rather nice size northern. When his partner had realized that the northern was a wall-hanger (estimates were in the low 20s) he got so excited that he tripped over the minnows, spilling them all over the boat and then picked up the landing net which was under an open tackle box, spilling tackle into the net. When the fish ws finally brought to the boat and he reached out with the net one of the lures fell off, hitting the fish and spooking it into a mad run. It turned just right and bit off the line. Needless to say, this fellow was lucky he didn't get thrown overboard.

Goes to show how important it is to keep order in a boat.

Bob

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I've taken my fish netting to new heights in the last few years since I've started river fishing flathead cats at night. And for some reason, I think I'm the guy always doing the netting and less catching. Hmmm...

Anyway, there are a number of factors on the river at night which can make netting a fish a real activity. Darkness, very murky water, and current are all factors that play into the net job.

The bottom line is the net man has to be ready and in position. Ideally, the net guy will be downstream of the angler so the angler usually will have to work up the side of the boat to get in front. If not the net man has the rod in the way and these fish can take off to the bottom in a hurry if they want to.

Some guys I fish with don't want you to use your headlamp either, believing that it will scare the fish as well. I like my headlamp on with red light or incandescent so you can see what you are doing, otherwise you are netting at a big splash in the water.

You have to be in position and ready because you won't see the fish coming until they nearly break the surface, at that point its a reaction and big scoop with the net.

Once fish is in the net, its nice for the angler to release his spool to take the tension off the line and then we'll lift the fish into the boat.

In this situation, I think the angler needs to trust the netman because there is no time to yell at him to net the fish.

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Hanson, excellent points about netting in dark/current situations. I once had a guide on the Kenai in AK give me grief because I broke his precious G Loomis stick trying to high stick the fish into position when he tried netting from an up current position, over my shoulder basically. It was just goofy, and he was supposedly a good guide. I agree totally, when you're fishing bigger, tougher fish, escecially under current, darkness, etc...you need to know who's doing what, and have trust in your net man. He is going to HAVE to make the call as to when to net most of the time. Thats why I like to have someone I REALLY trust on the net when it really counts.

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I get paid to net fish and you want that net out of the water until the fish is available. If the net is in the water and the fish is pulled in you are asking for heartache. The net could easily become inverted in current or by movement and the hooks could get caught and the fish could be gone. Also pulling the fish into the net and getting the head out of the water puts a lot of stress on your line and hook(s). The line could part or the hook could pop free, especially after an intense battle.

Just this sunday my girlfriend made a perfect net job on a 44 inch muskie i caught while walleye fishing. I was nervous because the net was far too small but I told her the right way to do it and she delivered. I agree that technique should be decided by the person with the rod. Unless I have the net...then it's just "Let me do what I do."

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I agree with you 100% BOBT. I usually only net fish big enough to make them worth netting and have seen alot of fish see an early net an run. I wait until it is in easy reach, then put the net in and scoop.

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