Salmon Landing Net Mesh
By Jock Monteith 13th December 2019
While fishing for salmon it's very important that you carry at all times a suitable landing net that can be used to protect and stabilise your salmon prior to releasing. However even the very best landing net manufacturers are often found lacking when it comes to the choice of the net bags they fit to the frames of their salmon nets. I suspect that many net designers will have never caught a salmon to know what's needed!
Look After Your Atlantic Salmon
It wasn't that many years ago when knotted net bags were banned as the the knotted versions were causing too much damage to the flanks and mucus membrane of fish. That was definitely a step in the right direction even though only a half way measure. A good net bag should have a soft knotless fine mesh bag which avoids tearing a salmon's fins unlike the often larger meshed versions you see on most salmon nets. I was once told (by a 'sweating' angler who'd been chasing a salmon up and down the riverbank for several minutes well before the fish was ready to be landed) that fine mesh was no good as it dragged too much in fast water when trying to land a fish but you shouldn't be trying to land a fish early in a fast flow so look for some slack water to steer the salmon to when the time is right to reach for the net.
Protecting The Salmon Fins
It's just not good to return a salmon that has had its fins split and 'logic' should endorse that so take the large meshed net bag off your net's frame and throw it in the fire! Those large gauged mesh bags if used will cut through a salmon's fins like a hot knife through butter. The best thought out landing net bag designs are ones that have a small mesh gauge that support the salmon's fins and a flat base but unfortunately too many nets currently do not have these sensible features. A flat based net when the salmon is lifted to the waterline will turn the salmon onto its side which makes it much more stable for unhooking purposes.
Landing Net Mesh Bags
The triangular shape of the net bag you see here is another excellent feature as the head of the salmon will inevitably find one of the corners of the net bag which again helps with stabilising the fish for unhooking purposes. Soft mesh with a flat base are the two main features you should be looking for and some nets these days are now coming fitted with mesh that's rubber coated which again is much kinder on the salmon's flanks. These are the features to look out for when buying a landing net (or new mesh bag) for the protection of your salmon and it maintaining the best chance to successfully reproduce. Every spawning pair of salmon are a vital investment in the Scottish rivers so it's crucial that salmon fishers do all they can to ensure the well being of the salmon they catch.