Credit for the Net Man

Teresa and the Fish

Hi Steve,

Have enjoyed all the posts lately of folks catching great fish on the White.  I thought I would submit something different – tales of netting, as opposed to catching fish.  This after my wife Teresa credited me with being “a halfway competent net man.”

Two days ago I netted a very nice brown on the upper White.  It was fairly straightforward.  We were in the boat, the fish was attached to a Chernobyl Ant on 3X, and the river was gentle.  I also had the luxury of a Fishpond Nomad long-handled boat net, purchased at Dally’s.  The fish was in good condition and fought very well, but it was no match for the Nomad.

Twenty-four hours later, it was whole different ballgame.  We were wade fishing on the Norfork.  I had only a too-small $20 net attached to the back of my vest.  The target was quite a bit larger than the previous day’s fish, was chunky enough to border on being called a Toad, and looked like it might or might not fit into my puny net.  It was also attached to 12 feet of leader ending in 6X and a black midge, so the fish was very ill-behaved.

  After the fish took a tour of a substantial section of the Norfork but little actual progress was made, I was instructed to “just wade in deep and net the fish.”  Being half-competent, I knew this would likely end in disaster, and so refused the offer. 

I did offer some soft-spoken advice on what angle of pressure might lead the fish into a certain shallow gravel area where I could net it.  I feel this piece of advice was critical, but there was some minor disagreement on that.  Eventually the fish was tired enough for me to get within a few feet of it, but this just made the drag sing again.  And again.  We had long ago passed the point where, if anything went wrong, it was my fault. 

The pressure was now all on the net man.  I got the big female on the second attempt and she did fit in the net – barely.  My thanks go out to whoever invented the anti-shake feature in modern cameras.  It’s the only reason the net man got a decent photo of this fish.

Kurt Sleighter

Teresa, the first fish and the Net