Not all nets are created equal. A quality landing net is a guide’s most important tool, and when it comes to trout, we’re really particular about the nets we use.
We recently outfitted our guide staff with measure nets for our trout population and we can honestly say they’re one of the better landing nets we’ve used. We went with the ‘Guide’ model (go figure), which seemed just about the right size for our leopard rainbows and the occasional rogue salmon who decides to eat a trout fly. They’re far more than just the right size however.. We like them for a whole bunch of other reasons and today we’re going to tell you why.
What is a Measure Net?
Just as the name implies, measure nets are landing nets that allow fish to be measured without ever being taken out of the bag (or the water for that matter). We picked up the largest model (referred to as the Guide model) but they are available in a whole bunch of sizes and shapes all the way down to the tiniest single hand solo net.
The measure function is brilliantly simple and makes easy work of getting a quick but accurate length of your fish while still in the water. That means trout that are less exposed to air, handled less, and back on their way as quickly as possible and that’s a really, really good thing.
On the net bag itself, the middle of the measuring ‘strip’ actually starts at zero and measures on either side from the middle-outward (see photo bel0w). This allows the fish to be measured regardless of where it is laying on the measuring tape. Simply add the number at the fish’s nose to the number at the fish’s tail to get an accurate measurement of the fish. It just couldn’t be easier.
The well being of our fish is our top priority when it comes to choosing a landing net and one of our favorite things about the Guide model is that the rubberized net bag itself is extremely fish friendly. Rubberized nets have been proven to be far easier on fish, greatly reducing the risk of removing the protective layer of slime that protects the fish from infection. Plus, not only is the bag rubberized, its also made up of a tightly woven mesh which keeps pectoral fins, tails, and the like from getting beat up while rolling around in the net (as can be the case with larger mesh sizes).
One of the biggest drawbacks behind many of the rubber bagged landing nets available today is that they’re often extremely heavy. They also tend to tote a lot of surface area creating an immense amount of drag in the water. That might not seem like a big deal, but that can make the difference between landing that special fish or watching him come unbuttoned at your feet.
However, that couldn’t be further from the case with the measure net. We’re not sure how exactly, but the bag on the Guide model is surprisingly light and although it has a very small mesh, it cuts through the water really well. That makes for a quicker, more accurate ‘stab’ which anyone who has netted their share of fish will surely appreciate.
The Guide model also has an adjustable handle, adjusting from 56 to 68 inches which we really appreciate when we need that extra little reach from the boat.
We appreciate the aesthetics of a wooden handled net built by hand from exotic hard woods as much as the next guy, but in our line of work they just don’t last. No net will ever last forever of course, but we like that the Guide model is built to take some abuse. Plus, should you ever need to replace the bag itself, simply unzip the old bag, and zip a new one onto the frame! No weaving or tying in a new bag involved. It really couldn’t be any simpler.
For the traveling angler, the handle can also be quickly disconnected from the frame for easy transport in the boat, the truck, or the suitcase.
We’re really happy about the Measure Net and aside from keeping us honest, we think it does a lot for the well being for our trout as well. If you’re in the market for a new trout net, we can’t recommend them enough. Or, if you have a favorite net frame that’s in need for a new bag, you can even pick up the appropriate measure net bag for your own frame too!
For more information, be sure to stop by your local fly shop, or check out all the available shapes and sizes on the Measure Net website by clicking right here.
We ran tests on measure nets on some big lake Bows. We used the measure nets, then used a tape. We found that the measure nets were accurate until they reached about 20 inches. Then they tended to add inches to the length of the fish. We figured that the reason for it was that the bigger fish were less flexible and their bodies didn’t follow the curve of the net thus adding inches.
Seconding Willi, I tested a small measure net guiding the South Fork of the Flathead, where we could catch so many fish we could measure with multiple nets and tapes all the time. All brands may not be the same, but the small net started adding inches at about 14″. I couldn’t understand how my fellow guide, usually so honest, was catching so many more 17-18″ cuts than the rest of us.
As long as you know what your net says or don’t care, it’s fine. But its like the inside lane of a track (the fish) being less distance than the outside lane (the net).