How to Carry a Fishing Net, a Lessons from the Pros

Ever wondered how professional anglers and guides keep their nets handy? This guide explores three popular methods for carrying a wading net, along with the pros and cons of each.

Smaller Nets are Key

For river wading, smaller, lightweight nets are ideal. They’re easier to carry and less likely to weigh you down or require setting down frequently. This keeps your net within reach for those surprise catches!

Net Holster: Convenient but Tricky

A net holster, attached to your fishing pack, belt, or vest, is a popular option. The holster keeps the net upright and protects the mesh from branches. However, grabbing the handle with one hand while fighting a fish can be tricky, as you might need to grab the net itself first. Long-handled nets can also bump your legs, and lanyards can snag on branches.

Hanging Your Net on Your Back: Two Ways

Many anglers hang their nets from the back using a strong magnetic net release. Here’s a crucial tip: most users get it wrong!

The Wrong Way: Hanging the net with the mesh down creates several problems. The mesh swings and snags on branches, increasing the risk of tears and lost nets. The handle dips low, making it difficult to grab quickly during a fight.

The Right Way (Preferred by Pros): Hang the net with the hoop up or sideways, attached near your neck. This keeps the handle down by your waist, reducing snags and making it easy to grab. You’ll see this technique used by competition anglers and experienced guides.

Secure Your Net Properly

Regardless of the carry method, securing your net with a lanyard is crucial. Here’s how the pros do it:

  1. Strong Magnetic Net Release: This is the base for attaching the net to your back.
  2. Carabiner Clip: Attach a carabiner to the net’s hoop and connect it to the magnet release. Most vests and waders have attachment points for this.
  3. Elastic Safety Cord: Attach a long, elastic cord from the net handle to your wader belt. This prevents the net from floating away if the magnet detaches.

This setup ensures your net stays close, even if the magnet releases. The elastic cord also allows for temporary net release (like taking pictures) without losing it in the current.

Alternatives for Non-Vest Wearers

If you don’t wear a vest, you can still use the magnetic clip and carabiner system on your wader belt. Just remember to include the secondary elastic cord for safety.

Final Tip: Always double-check your net’s security before heading out. A lost net is a frustrating way to end a fishing trip!

Images/Source: Trout&Steelhead

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