Fishing is often a solitary sport but teamwork really does make the dream work. This is especially true when targeting large trout/steelhead/salmon with a little fly pole. When you are hooked up to that trophy that would leave you devastated if it got off, you want a net man that you can count on. Here are some moves I pull when trying to help a friend or client land that trophy.
First and foremost, get downstream of the fish. This way if the fish gets close to you, you can encourage him (scare him) to get back upstream. When a fish gets downstream of the angler fighting it, the odds of landing him drop significantly. A net man downstream can scare the fish back upstream to the person who is hooked up. And I really do mean scare here. I will literally smack my net on the water to spook the fish into changing his direction and heading back up stream.
This can also be helpful if there is a major snag in the river. See a fallen tree with tons of cover/branches a fish could use to escape? Play some goalie and stand in front of it. Big fish are smart and odds are he has a game plan for how to escape and it probably involves that snag. Be proactive, see the cover and know he will head towards it. You can help land this fish by standing in front of it and scaring the fish away.
When trying to be helpful it can be easy to get carried away. Keep this in mind and never rush a net shot. You don’t want to be chasing the fish with your net in the water. Never swipe at it. Let the angler get the head out of the water, then just scoop it up. Be the net man your fishing buddies can count on and you will continue to get invited on fun fishing trips!