Is this perhaps the ultimate all-round landing net? Do you know, I think it might be. Even the most evangelical bamboo and wood fanatic probably suspects that a lightweight modern net with a micromesh makes landing fish easier than anything made from ash, metal and Tonkin bamboo.
I used to harbour such doubts myself, so I went back to using modern nets for all sorts of fishing, from pike to carp to tench and all sorts in between. I was annoyed by the flimsy frames of these nets, their excessively flexible handles made me nervous and their fine, sometimes rubberised meshes were desperately hard to sweep smartly through the water. I gave up on them and reverted to using proper nets.
My two nets, one a Venables, the other a Yates, have really strong, rigid Tonkin bamboo handles. Their white ash frames are solid and firm and their knotless, open meshes allow them to pass relatively easily through the water. In my opinion, which is by no means incontestable, they are better. Best, even.
This one was made in 1996. It has an impregnated frame made from white ash. The knotless 1″ mesh has seams front and back only, not in the bottom, so it can expand to accommodate summat really big if you get lucky, without folding the poor thing in half. The sturdy Tonkin bamboo handle is light and extremely strong. It’s 7′ long and in two pieces so you can put it in the boot of the Riley without any trouble.
And here’s another thing. In spite of the brass handle fittings and naval bronze block, it floats! When you and your fish (for it will be yours) are becoming mutually fatigued after your protracted differences of opinion, you can lay the net in the water in front of you to rest your netting arm and deploy your final winning strategy without handicap.
The mesh is 36″ deep. The pear-shaped frame has a 6′ circumference, measuring 26″ front-to-back and 21″ side-to-side.
It is in absolutely fantastic condition, really like new, and as you can see from the accompanying pictures (with informative captions) it is the most fabulous looking thing. We don’t make nets any more but when we did, they were the best thing since landing nets were invented. I think they still are.