Monday, August 18, 2014

Net Bags, Tradition or Progress?

In 2009 I started handcrafting wooden landing nets. Learning the process, selecting wood species and choosing the proper finish were all pretty straight forward if not time consuming. Where I was stumped is the point when it came time to decide what bags I would fit the nets with.

As a traditionalist or curmudgeon as my son sees it, I like things the way they are or were in this case. For decades I've been carrying nets with knotless nylon bags. I must have had my head in the clouds, or maybe under water to have missed the mass transition to thermoplastic net bags. I understand that something new is worth a try but for a curmudgeon like me some things just don't need to be fixed.

Why I prefer nylon net bags.

First and foremost thermoplastic net bags are heavy and cumbersome. My goal is to make nets that are light so they are as unnoticeable as possible when attached to your vest or belt. The addition of a thermoplastic net bag nearly doubles the weight of my wading net models. In adding this weight it throws the balance of the net off. Like any other fishing tool I believe balance equals ease of use.

As far as I can tell the hype over thermoplastic net bags being less harmful to fish during catch and release is just that, hype. I have been unable to find any scientific data to support the claim that thermoplastic nets are less harmful to fish during catch and release than the soft, knotless nylon netting I prefer to use on my nets. According to the Freshwater Fishing Society of BC which has done extensive research on catch and release mortality “Nets used for landing your catch should have a fine mesh and knotless webbing to protect fish from abrasion and possible injury. The netting should be made of a soft knotless material with an opening of less than 20 millimeters (roughly ¾”).”

The only real advantage in the field that thermoplastic has over nylon netting is that barbed hooks don’t get caught as easily in it. It is my very strong opinion that if you are not completely debarbing your hooks when practicing catch and release you may as well not be practicing catch and release; just knock 'em on the head and fry 'em up for supper. A properly debarbed hook will not get caught in my knotless, nylon net bags.

So I've put my 2 cents on the table. What do you think.


  1. I definitely prefer the nylon over the ghost bags for all the reasons you listed above.

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