May 14, 2013 by  

by Bob Jensen


There are many factors that will determine if you get a fish to bite and then get it in the boat or on shore.  First you’ve got to find them, then you’ve got to put a bait in front of them, then you’ve got to get them to bite.  Once a fish eats your bait, that’s when the fun begins.  You’ve got to have a good knot and strong line, and you’ve got to have your drag set properly so it will give a little but not too much when the fish wants to run.  Then, once you’ve got it tired out, it’s time to land the fish.  You can swing it into the boat or onto the shore, you can grab it with your hand, or you can net it.  Many, many fish are lost when the angler tries to land it.  If you want to increase your odds of landing that fish on the end of your line, you need to net it.  Here’s why.

Swinging a fish into the boat or onto the bank usually isn’t a good option, although lots of people do it.  Sometimes when we’re fighting the fish we under-estimate it’s size.  When you try to swing a too-big fish into the boat, lines and rods break.

Proper netting technique

Proper netting technique will put more fish in the boat

Even if the fish is of swinging size, frequently the hook pops out.  Sometimes the fish lands in the boat, but it’s flopping around on the floor.  That’s not good for the fish.

Sometimes the fish lands on the deck of the boat or on the shoreline and flops back into the water.  If you were going to release the fish, that’s no big deal, but if you were going to invite him to supper, you’re out of luck.  Swinging a fish into the boat is not the best idea.

Landing the fish by hand works ok for some species, but you’re increasing the odds of getting a hook in your hand, and that’s not much fun.

Also if you land a fish by hand, you’ve got to really play the fish out, and that decreases its chance for survival if you release it.  The best way to land a fish is with a net.

So, now you’ve got that fish within netting distance.  Don’t reach or over-extend to land it.  You want to get it going in your direction, and you want it to go head-first into the net.  Never try to land a fish tail first:  Fish can swim faster than you can move the net.  If you try to net it tail first, it will swim out of the net.

If you’ve got someone who’s new to netting, show them how it’s done on the first fish, then have them net every fish that comes into the boat that isn’t on their line.  It’s good practice, and it keeps them interested even when they aren’t catching the fish.  It’s usually a good idea for the netter to reel their line in when they’re netting.  This prevents rods from going over the side of the boat.

Frabill offers a wide variety of nets that will fit the needs of anyone.  Check out the Conservation Series.  They are of the highest quality, they’re easy on the fish, and they last a long time.


When you’re on the water this year, net your fish.  You’ll end up catching more fish with less damage to the fish and to your hands.

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