I greatly admire the tenkara landing nets and the hand-made wooden landing nets I provided links to in my last two blogs. However, laziness won out over admiration some 12 years ago. Here is my DIY landing net.
It’s an adaptation of a cheap chain store net (hangs head in shame). Of course, it needed a little modification. First up, it had a knotted non-coated nylon net, which can damage fish by scraping scales and removing protective slime. I simply replaced the fish damaging plastic net with a more fish-friendly knotless net. (These days I’d replace it with micro-mesh net). This involved the “difficult” process of taking the arms out of the handle (they slid out), slipping off the old net and slipping on the new, and then pushing the handle back onto the arms.
The second modification was to add a little keeper ring to prevent the net from getting caught in everything.
The ring is a brass tap ring that I happened to have. It’s connected to the shaft of the landing net by wire so that it is at right angles to the shaft and hinges. To secure the net, I pull the bottom of the net through the ring. The ring then hangs down, trapping the net. When netting a fish, the net is pulled out of the ring by the weight of the fish (as long as I remember to have the ring on the underside). Alternatively, the net can be freed with a quick flick of the wrist.
The third modification was to add a curly cord (I happen to have this ghastly green one from something or other, but I could have used a phone cord), so I could connect the net to (small drum roll) the combined fish and net bag.
The bag is made from a hessian sack (I think it once contained potatoes). It was free. These days used sacks aren’t as easy to come by (although they are around), but you could adapt a couple of hessian shopping bags (but you won’t be able to do the sexy fold described below).
Hessian is great because it keeps fresh the few fish I kill for the table. I just dip it in water from time to time and evaporation cools the fish. Being an open weave means that it is also easy to clean. I just throw it in the tub with the wading boots and waders after a trip (No didymo, you know)
The other advantage it has is that it has two compartments, one for fish and one for the landing net.
The two compartment bag is made from a sack by folding the unopened end in on itself and up to the open end. (Much harder to describe, than to do). Hopefully these pictures of the process with a paper bag will get the idea across.
Here is the paper bag, open at the left end. On the closed end (right) you can see some writing which is on the inside of the bag. For the curious it says “inside”
The corners are joined together. They probably should be sewn together using heavy duty cord, but I (lazy again!) just pushed the D ring through all corners before joining it up. as you can see from the picture of the bag, I attached a shoulder strap (recycled) to the D rings.
P.S. Update. Well, I probably should not have been so lazy with the corners. After two seasons, they have started to show a bit of wear and tear. There’s a new improved connection described at my post New Attachment for DIY Landing Net and Fish Bag (October 2013). Link should be down in the Responses below. Cheers!