Video Pro Tips: How to Properly Net a Big Fish

Written by: Derek Botchford and Steve Morrow, Epic Waters Angling

Epic Waters Angling and Orvis have teamed up to create a steelheading miniseries. Using the latest Orvis prototypes, the clips are specifically catered to small-stream tactics. After a busy season of guiding, Derek Botchford and Steve Morrow set out to deliver viewers techniques that are designed to elevate the game of steelhead anglers from the west to the Great Lakes.

It’s your biggest steelhead yet on the line, and to say you’re revved-up is a serious understatement. All the things that could wrong are pouring through your head. What should you do now? Answer: Listen to the person with net.

The net person is an important part of this partnership, and if you let them lead, your chances of success will go up exponentially. Communication is vital and rests on a few key points:

1. Keep your rod low and lead the fish to the bank.

This will encourage the fish to stay in the water and decrease the chance the fish breaks the surface, freaks out, and spits the hook.

2. Shorten your line.

Get the sink tip knot at very minimum in the tiptop. I actually prefer even the leader knot in during the scoop. Imagine leading a dog on a 30 foot leash. Impossible. Now imagine on a 3 foot leash. Full control. 

3. Lead a fish into the net head first.

The net person should you where they want it and you should drive your catch into the front of the net. Anything other that head first means the fish can just swim away from the scoop.

4. Keep the fish in the net.

While the fish is resting in the net remove the hook and release. With a good catch and release bag you don’t even need to touch em.

Remember ultimately nets should make everything easier. Easier to land them. Easier to do it quickly. Easier on the fish. Easier on you.

See all 15 videos in this series on the
Orvis Fly Fishing Learning Center.

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