If you watch the professionals’ land bass during a tournament, you will notice something missing. Landing fish with a net is a common practice among many anglers. When the Bassmaster Tournament Trail initiated a no net rule several years ago, it started a new trend among bass anglers.
Smaller regional and local tournament circuits still allow nets and recreational anglers to use nets. Still, many bass guys and gals prefer landing their catches by hand when using light line and finesse gear or flipping fish into the boat with thick lines and heavy tackle.
Here are five reasons bass anglers avoid using nets.
1. Everybody’s A Pro
Some bass anglers like to emulate the pros by wearing fishing jerseys and buying the same cool equipment the pros use so landing a bass without a net is another way they can look like a professional. Fishing without a net becomes more of a challenge for them in their quest to attain pro status.
2. Bass Don’t Have Teeth
Nets are essential for toothy fish such as musky, northern pike, and walleye, but the lack of teeth in a bass’ mouth makes it easier for anglers to lip and land the fish. When I fish with light line and spinning gear, I prefer wearing down a bass and lipping the fish to pull it into the boat.
3. The Slime Coat Stays Protected
Bass have a thin, protective slime coating over their bodies, shielding the fish from harmful bacteria and parasites. The slime coat gets removed when a bass thrashes around in a net, so lipping or swinging a bass into the boat will prevent the fish from losing this protective coating as long as you minimize touching the fish or keep it from hitting the boat’s deck.
4. Nets Take Up Space
It seems like no matter where I put my net on the boat deck, it is always in the way, and I am either tripping over it, or my lures are getting tangled in the webbing. I do keep a net in the boat, but I always have it stowed in a rod locker, so if I hook into a big bass that I don’t think I can lip I will have my partner dig the net out of the storage compartment and net the fish for me.
5. No Need For A Netman
In pro-am tournaments, some of the pros prefer landing their fish rather than relying on an inexperienced amateur angler to net their fish. This prevents any hard feelings that might occur if the amateur accidentally knocks a bass off of the pro’s line while trying to net the fish. When fishing buddy tournaments, my partner and I have discovered that sometimes it’s quicker and easier to swing a bass into the boat than wait for the other guy to stop fishing and scramble for the net.
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