The right landing net for the right fish
Do you use a net to release fish? This story will help you know why they're so important and how to choose the right one!
We have fought for releasing fish forever. We talk about wet hands, and how to best release them without - if possible - touching them. We've also handled fish with nets. In the old days - when we were not thinking about it that much - we were using nets made of cotton string, and now we know that it hurt the fish way more than holding it with wet hands. The knots and material remove the slime cover from the fish and that slime is what protects them. Remove the slime and you dramatically increase the chance the fish is not going to survive the release regardless of how careful you might be.
This article from Jeff Knapp at the Indiana Gazette talks about choosing and using the right net for the fish you're targeting. This is a really cool story and worth the time to read. If you DO use a net, reading it should be required.
A basic concern in angling is getting a fish on the hook. Less thought, however, is given to the actual landing of the fish once it’s been hooked. The use of a well-designed landing net is significant, whether the fish’s destiny is a quick photo session prior to release or an appointment with a fillet knife.
In my mind, criteria for choosing a landing net includes: a bag that’s easy on the fish; a bag that doesn’t entrap the hooks; a strong hoop and handle, particularly the yoke portion that can yield to the weight of a heavy fish; and a design that allows it to be kept out of the way until needed. Naturally, the importance of each of these factors is relative to the species of fish being pursued.