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This is my first topic starter in a while. So bear with me, I may be a bit rusty. Last year my partner and I switched to a rubber mesh net and I want to let everyone know about it's advantages. My partner had been threatening to buy one for years and finally did last year. People that know me, know that I am big advocate for fish care, but I was still skeptical. Fishing tournaments like we do, the last thing you want to play with is the net. I was very worried about a rubber net being able to perform as well as the traditional poly or nylon nets. The main fear being that the rubber nets are not as deep and don't stretch to keep the fish 'secured' in the net. But after a full year of fishing with the rubber net, I can't say enough about it. It offers so many advantages to the fish and to the angler.

First and for most, is the benefits to the fish. The most obvious is the protection of the fish's slime coat and scales. Poly/nylon nets can be very abrasive and cause damage, were as the rubber nets are smooth. Fish's gills and fins can become entangled in the poly/nylon nets as well. The damage caused by a single loop of poly/nylon netting getting caught in or around a fishes gill plate can be major. With a rubber net you never have to worry about it cutting into their gills, stuck in their mouth, wrapped around fins, etc. Not to mention the entanglement that can occur when a fish thrashes about in a poly/nylon net.

Which brings me to next point. You'll probably ask " What happens when a fish "spazes" out in a rubber net? Will it flop out?" Well, they don't. I was completely amazed. The net lays the fish on its side and they remain completely calm. Of course the advantages of a fish lying calmly in an "open" environment is enormous. No more worrying about sticking your hand down into deep net with a mouth full of trebles and praying they don't move. No more hooks getting lodged in-between the fibers of the net, increasing release time and reducing fishing time. No more grabbing the net off the deck of the boat when your partner is battling a 4lber and bringing a rod with a lodged lure with it overboard. Yes, you do have to adjust your netting style a bit at first. But it's not hard to master. Now, I don't know if they make a 20 foot handle model like some of you use (you know who I'm talking about
), but for the rest of us tournament and weekend anglers you shouldn't have a problem. Give it a try, I'm telling you, you won't be disappointed.
 

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I've had partners who got a little too excited with the rubber net and slingshot the bass back over the other side of the boat.

I'd suggest if someone doesn't want to go to the traditional, shallow rubber nets, get a net with 'soft' netting and get a couple spray cans of rubber coating. Give the netting 4 or 5 coatings. Let it dry good and rub it down with paper towels to wipe off excess. It's a lot easier on the bass than regular nets and will snag less.
 

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I used to be a big fan of the rubber net but I found that it had too much drag in the water, I just couldn't be fast enough some times. Then I switched to a tight weave net I got at BPS with a shallow basket and although it treated the fish well and was faster through the water, treble hooks on jerkbaits were a nightmare. I now use a Loki net with the same size mesh as the one from BPS, but the mesh has been coated with rubber to eliminate treble hook problems just like Dan mentioned. The basket is still shallow so fish don't get bent up in it and there are no knots in the mesh to abrade against the fish. Between that and the rubber coating it has been my best solution to date. That and the 8 foot handle. You can net fish in big waves with little drag, and even do it over the outboard with the long handle.
 

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my partner and i just started fishing tourneys on lsc last season. also started using a rubber net last season too. i suggested the switch with the well being of the fish at mind. the way i was looking at it, with the time the fish will spend in the livewell combined with the stress from the rough water and the amount of larger fish we had been catching, i wanted to put as little stress on the fish we caught as possible. i will agree that the rubber nets are heavier and have way more drag, but we have a pretty good system for landing them without having to "scoop" them out. if one of us hooks into a fish, we work our way to the front of the boat ( its a little easier to work without the motor in the way), pull up the trolling motor, the net man dips the net vertically about a foot under the boat, the fish dont seemed to be as spooked if you can keep it under them. whoever is playing the fish needs only to get that fish on its side and direct it into the net. i will admit it was a bit tricky at first, steering 4lb+ smallmouth with a 7 ft rod takes practice. but after a few times we had it down. and the stress on the fish was minimal. and thats the most important thing in my opinion!

madman himself
 

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A rubber net cost me lots of money in a tournament one year. The bass filliped it's tail down and shot out like a rocket and was gone it happen to us twice that day. And also found out that it was to slow in the water it was hard to push through the water.
 

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The drag of a rubber net was what always kept me from trying one. I bet those things are a real pain to handle in heavy current. I agree with BradW, I started using a Loki net two years ago and I love it. Except for that one time during the Canadian Open last year (wouldn't you know the camera boat had to catch it) I haven't had any serious hook or tangle problems.

Regards,

Dave
 
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