To Catch a Fish a.k.a. The Stealth Net Process
by Tom Burton
Some folks have said I seem to have a knack for netting fish. Maybe so, as it seems to come very naturally. But when asked to describe my method (or write about it) its sort of like trying to tell somebody how to ride a bike or learn to drive; theres no substitute for experience. However, to shorten the learning process, heres my methodology, for whatever its worth.
A 32" net is a "must" no matter what size fish youre going after. The length of the handle depends upon the size of your pond, your strength (youd be surprised how heavy and cumbersome that thing becomes with over a five foot handle), and whether or not youve got a "herder" to help keep the "target" fish in your reach. By the way, the herder never attempts to catch the fish.
I keep total concentration on the target fish, and the position of my net, all the while segregating the target. Dont get distracted. Move very slowly. Dont stress the other guys either. Lets keep everybody cool and calm.
Start advancing on the target from the bottom of the pond. You want him to rise toward the surface (it would do you no good to have him in the net at four feet - hed just swim away as you started your ascent.)
Once near the surface, the net should be moved under the fish and slowly raised to the surface with the fish "free" in the water in the net. NEVER lift a fish out of the water with a net as you may injure a scale or fin inviting a bacterial invasion in the broken mucus immune system.
At your side you have a large pan, such as we use at shows, which you can now, after having brought the fish hand-over-hand closer to you, dip into the net and allow the target to gently enter. Or, scoop the fish up in a sock net and transfer it to a bowl.
Sounds easy doesnt it?
A couple other "nevers":
If the fish darts past your net or jumps out of it, never give chase. Just start the process over again. Never stab the net at a fleeing fish. Suppose you nailed it to the side of the pond. Thats like taking a block from a Dallas Cowboy - survivable, but sometimes bringing injury and always bringing discomfort.
The old saw about "If at first you dont succeed" comes to mind about now. Practice. And in the meantime,