The number one reason that we have heard for not carrying a net is that they are a pain to carry. Everything that we have on the stream has some impact on our weight and comfort. The less that we carry the better off we will be, but it takes some thought as to what to bring and what to leave behind. Each trip should be different. Why carry a box of salmonfly dries in March? Or waders on a small Appalachian stream.
Nets are cumbersome to be sure but there are many new methods for carrying them. Nets help minimize playing time and act as a corral so that you can leave trout in the water while removing the hook.
Here are some options for making it easier to carry a net:
1: Smith Creek Net Holster
The net holder sits on a belt and the net is behind your back. This method is probably the best for making the net inobtrusive. The downside is that if you have any type of backpack it's not going to work. But if you are a minimalist and only carry a few fly boxes and tools in your shirt pocket, this would be a good choice.
2: Magnetic Release
There are a ton of these on the market now and they have proved to be very popular. They work well and the two magnet pieces will find each other if they are in near proximity. This makes it easier to re-attach the net to shirt or vest. In the picture below the magnet is attached to a shirt and it is easy to see that the weight is a bit much for it. It is best used with a sturdier vest. We recommend hanging the net handle down. This reduces the pendulum effect and makes the net easy to grab- just reach to the handle in the small of your back. They can also be used with sling packs if they have an o-ring on the back.
The downside is that they will pick up a lot of iron particles from stream beds.
3: Sling Pack Sleeve
Many of the new sling packs are made with a sleeve in the back to hold a landing net. This is an effective way carry a net although it may make it look like you have a halo around your head. It also only really works well with longer handled nets. But more and more of us are opting for this type of net.
Lastly, choose the right size net for your quarry. Don't carry a net that is oversized for your needs.
Tight lines and full nets!