The progression in the quality and function of game angling tackle through the last forty years is almost immeasurable. We’ve gone from split cane rods to ultra light carbon fibre, click and pawl reels to large arbour, carbon drag, fully sealed masterpieces. Cat-gut to fluorocarbon, wicker baskets to waterproof rucksacks, wax jackets to Gore-Tex. It’s all moved on – there can be no doubt that as far as equipment goes the modern game angler has never had it better.
It’s not just tackle that has changed, but the attitudes of the angler too. Gone are the days of taking your catch home for the pot – if only the finest stocks of wild fish hadn’t gone too eh? Given the progression of kit, and of fish care centred angling, it is amazing that the humble scoop net seems to have barely changed in over a hundred years. Knotted mesh only bit the dust in the nineties but other than that there seems to be very little between the designs in a 1920’s Farlows catalogue and what can be bought from most tackle stores today.
Enter Glen Pointon – one of the UK’s finest wild trout anglers. Using his background in design and fuelled by a dedication to fish welfare he has created a net so brilliantly simple that it can only be described as a genius – the LTD Catch and Release Net. By way of an introduction take a quick glance above at the short video review I made last year of the original sample of Glen’s now famous fly fishers net.
Since then Glen has been working hard in his shed tweaking and refining his creation. Now more buoyant, made from tougher material, using a super soft mesh and with fixing points for both a magnet and a lanyard, the LTD net represents the very best in net design which is focused entirely on the welfare of your quarry.
The principle is very simple – once you have safely landed your fish the buoyancy of the net means the angler can leave it in the water so the fish has the opportunity to recover. This frees up both of your hands to deal with the rod, flies and the like, and also enables the angler to be able to keep the net and fish in the water if there is a necessity to move to shallower or slower water to unhook the fish or to take the all important catch pictures. The key interest of the net however is fish recovery, and being able to let the fish sit safely in the net without fuss or any unnecessary handling time is why Glen invented the net in the first place.
Last season on the Usk I hooked, played and landed a good trout which after an epic battle seemed a little more groggy than I would have liked. Using my lanyard I set the net in an area of steady and well oxygenated flow against the bank, left it in situ and fired up the Kelly Kettle. After around twenty minutes (and regular checks) I tipped the head of the net down in to the water and the fish very calmly idled out and back towards his patch – no stress and no handling needed and I am sure that the time he spent getting his breath back was crucial in the safe recovery and release of this fish.
It’s hard to knock the LTD net at all – it really seems to tick all the boxes. The only issue I have had is that the buoyant rim is hard to manoeuvre in strong currents – it gets swept away by powerful water which can make netting a fish in big flow a little tough. I can only remember this being a problem once and the reality is if you’re trying to net a fish in such water then you’re probably trying to net it in the wrong place anyway. It’s always better to play and land a fish in more gentle flows. I have developed a technique for using the net in faster water using a tilt of the wrist to only submerge the very end and it works very nicely indeed. Weighing in at around ten ounces you can barely even notice it on your back.
Handmade in England by the man himself, Glen’s nets are the true definition of made in the UK. While there may be cheaper landing nets on the market, in comparison to the price of a rod, reel or line, the £70 (+ p&p) that you pay for the LTD net represents excellent value for money while supporting a Great British manufacturing concept. The catch and release movement is here to stay and that can be only good news for UK fish stocks but in order to decrease fish mortality it’s essential to reduce the time spent handling them. The LTD net is the only one available that makes the process of unhooking and releasing fish a less stressful and time consuming task. If you’re serious about C&R then this net really is a no-brainer.
Contact Glen Pointon on firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to order your LTD Catch and Release Net.