It is very common to see a fisherman play a good fish till it is tired out, then he makes the big mistake of trying to pull it out of the water by lifting or pulling it up using the leader. All too often this will cause the hook to tear free from the mouth of the fish, and with a few flops he ends up back in the water and gone forever. It is so much wiser and safer to make use of a landing net to bring your catch ashore. It is very easy to play a fish till it is tired, then you can very simply submerge the net in the water and pull him over the top of it. With a quick lifting motion you have him secure in the landing net, and he certainly will not make a last second escape this time. It is a huge frustration to lose a nice fish at the very last second simply because you are trying to bring it ashore without using a landing net.
There is a wide variety of different kinds of landing nets available. The simplest have just a long wood handle with the net on a metal hoop mounted at the end. In actual fact this simple kind of fishing net is just what is needed for boat fishing where a longer handle is essential to reach out toward the fish. If you use a short handled net you will have to lean out of the boat to deploy the landing net and this is an accident just waiting to happen to you, or whoever has the net.
Fly fishing nets with a shorter metal or wooden handle are just right for wading in lakes or rivers, or for fishing in small streams where there is no need to reach out very far. When wading in a stream or lake a short handled fold down net is the best type to use since it is less of an encumbrance. The fold down net can be hung on your belt with a clip and pulled out ready to use when you need it. Speaking from experience I advise you not to drop your metal handled net in deep water or it will sink out of sight in a moment.
There is definitely an art to using a landing net properly. You definitely must not splash around in the water and jab it toward the fish. You will lose a lot of fish if you do this. To do it properly just immerse the net in the water quietly and pull the tired fish over it with no quick movements or splashing. If you alarm the fish with visible motion and splashes he will probably make a final try for freedom, and may very well be successful. Just ease the fish over the submerged net and with a quick lift you will have him securely netted.
You will find that rubber nets are the best type of netting without any doubt. Fish hooks are a lot less likely to get caught in a rubber mesh net. When you are fishing catch and release, as is so often the case these days, you will want to remove the hook from the fishes mouth while doing the least possible harm to him. Fumbling with a hook which is caught in a net usually causes further entanglement and is no help at all.
Be sure to choose your landing net based on the type of fishing you are engaged in. It is definitely unwise to fish with no landing net unless of course losing some good fish is not a problem for you.
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