All Nets On Deck

When I was fishing a lot of local tournaments, I had a little speech I’d give to my non-boating partner at the start of every day. No, it wasn’t “Don’t cast in front of the console” or the ever-popular “Don’t speak unless spoken to.” Instead, it was a rather simple and fairly polite request that at each stop he make sure that the net was not under, inside or wrapped around anything in such a way that it would hinder us from netting each other’s fish.

If you’ve fished for any period of time, then you know that nets have a nasty habit of getting under tackle bags and hung up in reel handles, trim switches and shoelaces at all the worst times. You go to net your partner’s fish, and the damn thing is stuck 10 feet from a flailing smallmouth. It’s useless. That’s why I made the request, and still I often found the darn thing to be pinned on its back beneath 50 pounds of tungsten and topwaters. I’m not totally blameless in all of this – I’ll admit that once or twice I’ve called angrily to a slow-moving partner only to learn that the net was under my planted foot. Still, the point is the same…why impose any unnecessary impediments to an already perilous process?

That’s why it galls me to no end when I watch tournament footage on television or on YouTube and see anglers call for the net and then have their partner open a storage compartment, dig around and pull it out. Usually it doesn’t cost them, but if it’s a problem one time out of every five or ten, isn’t that too much? Don’t be that guy, or those guys. Have a dedicated spot on the deck or the floor of your boat where the net sits every time. The fish you save may be your own.