Eleven years ago we came out with the first clear rubber net bags that we called “ghost.” They were an instant hit, flies didn’t stick in the bag and since they were clear they almost disappeared when in water making them less likely to spook fish. Soon net makers large and small adopted the “ghost” bags.
However, we later discovered that these Chinese made net bags had a downside. They were made with polyvinyl chloride (PVC), the same stuff as in your household plumbing. But PVC tubes are extremely hard, how can that be? It is done by adding plasticizers to the PVC to make it soft. Eventually the plasticizer leaches out and the net bags begin to harden and start turning yellow in the process.
We did a little digging into what PVC was and did not like what we found. In the manufacturing and disposal of PVC it emits dioxin which is one of the nastiest chemicals on the planet and is included in the list of the “dirty dozen” chemicals. It is toxic and enters human bodies mostly through the food chain. If you are interested you can read more about it here: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs225/en/.
Anyway, we realized that the PVC bags were not a good idea so we invested in an injection mold to make our own net bag out of a silicon mixture. We also opted to have them made in Montana instead of relying on China. This was a very sizable investment but it was something we felt we had to do.
Since the bags are made by injection mold there is very little labor involved in making them. That means that a USA made net bag can be competitive in price to a Chinese bag.
As flyfishermen we need to be concerned about the environmental impact of any product.
PVC bag on top of an eco-clear
Eco-clear net bag and Patagonia brown
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