The Landing Net
So, I don’t use one. I don’t need one. If your technique is good, a landing net isn’t necessary.
Having a landing net for the less skilled, can be a good idea. For flounder especially. Flounder fall off the hook more than any species. Get the net under them and you capture some of the flounder that normally get away.
The savvy angler should learn to use their hands better. Me personally, I don’t even take a landing net. How many fish do I lose because of that? Not very many. You have species like silver trout, the goal is to “get the fish over the boat” as quickly as possible. They fall off the hook and they land in the boat. Captured. It is a small skill but it is the way to operate.
They make a lot of nifty nets these days. They fold down. I have two of them. Gave a third one to Craig at 12 Fathom. Very handy.
Silver trout and flounder mentioned, the net is a very good idea if you are targeting flounder. The landing net serves another purpose: Holding the fish safely in the water while getting ready for the photograph.
Properly using the net, I learned as a kid. It is common sense. Get the net low enough in the water and “under” the fish. Lift at the proper time.
Learning to use your hands: All the skills put together, you can get away with not using the net. Treble hook lures, going to cause some work in a landing net. If you leave the right amount of line out, grab the leader to control the fish, you can set your rod down to use both hands for capture. Reeling up too much line and you have handcuffed yourself. Do it right. A seven foot rod, leave 8 feet of line out the tip of the rod. Raise the rod up straight overhead. The fish will slide up the side of your kayak or boat, grab the leader and finish the capture. Practice it.
Larger species: King mackerel and cobia. Grouper. A gaff is probably a better tool than a landing net. There are oversized nets that will work. A gaff stuck in the meat of a large fish you are harvesting is a better choice in my opinion.
Rubber versus mesh? The rubber nets are often less troublesome. The mesh nets seem to get the fishing hooks lodged in them easily. The thicker rubber nets you don’t seem to have the same problem.
A quick internet search and you will find options on nets from $15 to $100 or more.
Your choice: Learn to use your hands better. Take a net on those flounder trips.
Wikipedia: Info on nets in general-
A fishing net is a net used for fishing. Nets are devices made from fibers woven in a grid-like structure. Some fishing nets are also called fish traps, for example fyke nets. Fishing nets are usually meshes formed by knotting a relatively thin thread. Early nets were woven from grasses, flaxes and other fibrous plant material. Later cotton was used. Modern nets are usually made of artificial polyamides like nylon, although nets of organic polyamides such as wool or silk thread were common until recently and are still used.
Fishing nets have been used widely in the past, including by stone age societies. The oldest known fishing net is the net of Antrea, found with other fishing equipment in the Karelian town of Antrea, Finland, in 1913. The net was made from willow, and dates back to 8300 BC. Recently, fishing net sinkers from 27,000 BC were discovered in Korea, making them the oldest fishing implements discovered, to date, in the world. The remnants of another fishing net dates back to the late Mesolithic, and were found together with sinkers at the bottom of a former sea. Some of the oldest rock carvings at Alta (4200–500 BC) have mysterious images, including intricate patterns of horizontal and vertical lines sometimes explained as fishing nets. American Native Indians on the Columbia River wove seine nets from spruce root fibers or wild grass, again using stones as weights. For floats they used sticks made of cedar which moved in a way which frightened the fish and helped keep them together. With the help of large canoes, pre-European Maori deployed seine nets which could be over one thousand metres long. The nets were woven from green flax, with stone weights and light wood or gourd floats, and could require hundreds of men to haul.
Fishing nets are well documented in antiquity. They appear in Egyptian tomb paintings from 3000 BC. In ancient Greek literature, Ovid makes many references to fishing nets, including the use of cork floats and lead weights. Pictorial evidence of Roman fishing comes from mosaics which show nets. In a parody of fishing, a type of gladiator called retiarius was armed with a trident and a cast net. He would fight against a secutor or the murmillo, who carried a short sword and a helmet with the image of a fish on the front. Between 177 and 180 the Greek author Oppian wrote the Halieutica, a didactic poem about fishing. He described various means of fishing including the use of nets cast from boats, scoop nets held open by a hoop, and various traps “which work while their masters sleep”. Here is Oppian’s description of fishing with a “motionless” net:
The fishers set up very light nets of buoyant flax and wheel in a circle round about while they violently strike the surface of the sea with their oars and make a din with sweeping blow of poles. At the flashing of the swift oars and the noise the fish bound in terror and rush into the bosom of the net which stands at rest, thinking it to be a shelter: foolish fishes which, frightened by a noise, enter the gates of doom. Then the fishers on either side hasten with the ropes to draw the net ashore.
In Norse mythology the sea giantess Rán uses a fishing net to trap lost sailors. References to fishing nets can also be found in the New Testament. Jesus Christ was reputedly a master in the use of fishing nets. The tough, fibrous inner bark of the pawpaw was used by Native Americans and settlers in the Midwest for making ropes and fishing nets. The archaeological site at León Viejo (1524–1610) has fishing net artifacts including fragments of pottery used as weights for fishing nets.
Fishing nets have not evolved greatly, and many contemporary fishing nets would be recognized for what they are in Neolithic times. However, the fishing lines from which the nets are constructed have hugely evolved. Fossilised fragments of “probably two-ply laid rope of about 7 mm diameter” have been found in one of the caves at Lascaux, dated about 15,000 BC. Egyptian rope dates back to 4000 to 3500 BC and was generally made of water reed fibers. Other rope in antiquity was made from the fibers of date palms, flax, grass, papyrus, leather, or animal hair. Rope made of hemp fibres was in use in China from about 2800 BC.
Strike Three Kayak Fishing
Neil is a guide, outdoor speaker and writer. Author of four books (it will be six total before it is all over).