So I’m a pretty chill dude. Meaning it takes a lot to make me mad. Especially when it comes to the river. But there is this one thing…this one thing that I absolutely cannot stand. It’s the only thing that may make me yell at you across the river and maybe even come up and confront you about it….
Not having a net.
It drives me fucking bonkers when I see anglers without a net. Here is why:
1. Its freaking disrespectful to the fish. You’re gonna come into its house, hook it in the face with a sharp pointy thing, fight and mess with the fish, and you dont even have the decent to land it with a net properly? WTF. You went in and bought that nice rod, those fancy waders, a sweet fishing pack, but you didn’t think to spend a little money on a net? Its selfish and disrespectful. Period. Buy a net.
2. There is zero excuse to not have a net. There are literally hundreds of types ranging from a whopping $8 bucks to hundreds of dollars for fancy ones. Shit you can get one at the local hardware store for less then $15 bucks.
3. All these photos of fish, all this fancy gear on Instagram feeds…and anglers still leave the house and walk or row the river without a net. How are you handling those fish without a net? I’ll tell ya how because I see it all the time. Most angler drag the fish onto the bank. So not only are we hooking them I the face we are gonna let them flail around on rocks and earth whacking their head and internal organs all over the riverside. Come on! Get a net. The other thing I see is anglers over playing a fish for too long because they are unable to land the fish effectively without a proper net.
4. When you use a net you give the fish the least invasive and safest introduction to the angler whether a friend, client, or yourself. With a net you can admire the fish, enjoy it a few moments longer without causing unnecessary stress. You can share a moment with a fish while letting both of you recover from the encounter. The fish can calmly revive itself whole being held in the water with a net. The trout can return to being a trout quicker and with less damage and impact to it so that another angler can share that moment and that fish can go on to produce more fish. Get a net.
5. Finally, anglers that use a net have learned respect for the fish, it also makes you looknrrally cool fully extended netting your own fish. All that fancy gear and a wicked nice net…ya now you’re doing it right.
Get a net, if you walk outta the fly shop without a net and hit the river you’re not only disrespecting the river and the trout, but also every other angler that comes after you who may not have an opportunity to catch that fish because of the way you handled it. It’s not just about you’re fish.
I keep spare nets in my rig. When I see anglers without nets riverside I typically make them take one of mine. They usually get a talking to about it too. And if I see you riverside landing fish without a net and I’m not with clients…you’re gonna hear about it. Uts not right and as a guide and angler I won’t have it. Its laziness, selfishness, and disrespect all at once. Its ugly and I hate watching it riverside.
Get a net anglers. Doesn’t have to be handy just functional. If you’ve not been using one don’t fret… we’ve all made mistakes and we are all learning…just get a net and be better. It’s not hard.