When you go fishing, there are several tools that will increase your odds of having a nice day on the water. The appropriate boat and a reliable motor, or a pair of waders that doesn’t leak will help you enjoy the day more. A properly tuned depth-finder will reveal fish holding structures, and a sensitive rod will better relay a soft strike. Another tool that will enhance your day on the water is a landing net.
Why net your fish? Many anglers like to watch fishing shows on television in the winter months. On some of those shows you see the anglers lifting their catch out of the water by hand or by swinging the fish into the boat. That might look exciting and dramatic, and usually these landing techniques will work out, but when they don’t work out, bad things can happen: Bad things that range from a little bad to really bad. Here’s what I mean.
When you swing a fish in the boat, you might swing it so it comes directly to your hand. That’s a good thing. But every now and then, as you swing it, the bait might pop out of its mouth or the line could break. If the fish lands in the water, all you lose is the fish and maybe the lure.
But if the fish lands in the boat, now you have a fish flopping on the floor, maybe with a bait in its mouth, maybe not. Either way, it’s going to knock stuff over in the bottom of the boat. Hopefully you and your boat partners don’t get finned or gilled or hooked trying to get the fish under control.
Also, sometimes when you swing a fish into the boat, the rod tip breaks. That’s not a good thing either.
If you try to hand-land the fish, especially a slippery, smaller northern pike with a crankbait in its mouth, and if that pike gives a flop at just the wrong moment, now you’ve got a really bad thing going on. You’ve got one of those treble hooks on the bait in the fish and the other in your hand. I’ve had that happen twice and didn’t enjoy it either time.
Netting the fish is better for you and the fish. If you’re going to keep the fish, it’s best to get the fish in the boat as quickly as possible and get your bait back out there in hopes of getting another fish to bite.
If you’re going to release the fish, it’s better for the fish to get it in the net and back in the water as soon as possible. When you hand-land a fish, you need to play the fish out completely, and tiring them out reduces the chance for a successful release. If you swing the fish in the boat and it flops on the floor, it can injure itself, also reducing the odds of a successful release.
Frabill is the leader in net technology. If space is a consideration, take a look at the Hiber-Net. When you’re using jigs or other single hook lures, the Hiber-Net is outstanding. The bag of the net retracts into the handle, but it is easily deployed when needed. The new Power-Stow net is another space saver.
The Conservation Series of nets were introduced just a couple of years ago but have quickly gained favor by anglers everywhere. The bag has a flat bottom and no knots, which makes them very fish-friendly.
This year when you go fishing, use a net to land your fish. It’s better for you and it’s better for the fish, and those are both good things.
To see all the newest episodes of Fishing the Midwest television, visit fishingthemidwest.com or MyOutdoorTv.com
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