Landing nets are of course a very important and integral part of the game anglers equipment. A good quality net is an essential that I have found in the past quite hard to come by. Good quality engineering, ease of operation and absolute reliability (in the most difficult of circumstances which are bound to occur at some point on the river) are the essentials for a good net.
For over twelve years I had an excellent Whitlocks Telescopic Gye net, which had netted hundreds of sea trout (to 17lbs+) and several salmon. I was devastated one night last summer when I went to go fishing and found the net was not in the back of the car (probably left against a hedge at 2am in the morning when I returned from the last foray). I was even further dismayed when I was informed by the makers that this model was no longer in production.
I set about trying to find a suitable replacement, which was no easy matter. There are quite a number of gye nets made, mainly aimed at the big river salmon fishing end of the market and the nets classed as sea trout nets seemed inadequate to me in terms of size and quality.
I then contacted a firm that made a new range of nets and was impressed when the Director Mr Robert Cairns said that he could make or incorporate my design requests into a landing net specifically for sea trout and grilse. I find on the Dart that the net ring needs to be 22 inches plus and it must fit on the anglers back high enough to keep it out of the brambles when going through dense or overgrown areas and also the telescopic shaft must extend two metres to net fish in difficult situations and particularly from high banks.
The Fastnet Superior Telescopic Folding Sea Trout Grilse Landing Net net duly arrived a couple of months later. The first thing that I noticed when the parcel arrived was how incredibly light the net was weighing in at a mere 680 grams. The ring is 23 inches diameter (enough for any Dart sea trout) and made of diamond section age hardened and tempered aluminium. The outer shaft is a light round tubular anodised construction and the inner hexagonal section, which is also hardened and tempered. When not in use on the anglers back the shaft folds back to the net rim via a knuckle and interlocking pin. The shaft extends via a simple grip and twist mechanism, which is self-locking when extended.
My only slight concern was initially for the folding knuckle but the makers assure me that this is manufactured from nylon glass toughened resin with a hardened steel pivot. The knuckles are custom moulded for each model in the range and Mr Cairns even produced the injection-moulding machine for these components as well.
All nets in the range come with an easy to operate peel sling or lanyard and a lifetime guarantee. The net is without doubt extremely well engineered and much thought and care has gone into its manufacture. I can't wait to try it out on one of those River Dart 'Silver Torpedoes'.