Techy Thursday - How To Net That Fish

That crucial moment, getting that fish into the net. So much hard work has been put in to get to this moment, from the early planning stages pouring over maps, the new gear, the travel, cast, hook set and strenuous battle. Now’s not the time to fluff it up...

The size of your net matters. The larger the mouth the easier it is to get fish, particularly big trophy brown trout, into. However larger nets and net bags create a lot of drag in the current, so find something large enough, but easy enough to comfortably handle.

It is important to easily access your net when needed, and for my money, both the C&F Design, and Loon Magnetic release systems fit the bill.

Six Tips On How To Net A Fish

  1. Wait for the moment and don’t rush it. Going in for the shot while the fish is still hot doesn’t often end well, as they are fast and powerful creatures. This said, always be prepared for if a cheap shot presents itself early in the fight. Getting the fish to the net earlier is better for both the fish, and our own nerves.
  2. Wherever possible, net the fish head first. The tail on a bigger fish can easily ride the water right back out of the net. Get the fish moving towards you, lift the head and win.
  3. Use their own momentum. Keep your rod low and out to one side to draw the fish wide, then smoothly bring your rod across to the other side, turning the fish and drawing him towards the net. Fish can’t swim in reverse so you only have to be prepared for a sideways evasion.
  4. Stay low in the later stages of the fight. If they see you they won’t want a bar of you.
  5. Pick your spot. A, B, and C. If you’ve seen softer water a little downstream you’re better off leading him there rather than going for the shot in that heavy water you’re currently battling him in. Constantly revise your planned landing spot. Our fish are strong and can easily blast past plan A, and plan B.
  6. And finally, don’t lunge at him. That never ends well. Instead, have the net waiting beneath the surface and as the fish draws across the mouth of the net, simply lift vertically to entrap him.

Fly Fishing New Zealand

Best practice for netting fish

Backcountry fly fishing NZ

Tom Hodge of Southern Latitude Guides Securing A Trophy Brown Trout

Once netted just sit there and chill a while, with the fish in the soft mesh, in gently flowing water. Give him a chance to revive a little, and for your adrenaline to die down. Handling fish when you’re pumped will often result in squeezing the fish, potentially damaging internal organs. Remove the fly while the fish is still in the net, then securely replace your forceps, and place your rod, line and leader somewhere safe and out of the way.

Now say cheese.

Double Figure New Zealand Trout