Fly Fishing and Fly Tying magazine review the Fastnet Hywel Morgan Bank Landing Net whilst Hywel Morgan demonstrates the bank net features and benefits. They also review the Fastnet Superior Salmon Gye Landing Net as "exactly what landing a salmon needs".
It's a landing net so there can't be anything new can there? Well, the 5cl sampler of 10-year-old Glengoyne malt in the parcel seemed like a nice touch. No, not a bribe, FastNet has a promotion running with Glengoyne, so anyone buying a net from them gets a rather generous dram, too!
The Hywel Morgan Bank Landing Net looks familiar - the same strong diamond-shaped aluminium rim. This is a big net (21") rim with a glass-reinforced nylon hinge and long aluminium telescopic handle. Extend the telescopic handle and the reach is prodigious. Just as well I checked the bubble wrap and found the spike that screws into the back end of the grip. Yep, long time since I've seen a net with a spike in the butt (this used to be a favourite of old reservoir bank anglers and some sea trout guys).
Elastic bungee cord from the butt, clips to a ring at the hinge so I can wear this on my back. The net opens easily, just hold it out and turn it over. To close just pull down on the button thing and it swings closed - or not - odd, this stops about half way. I didn't expect that. Is that deliberate? OK, time to go online and see what this is about.
As I flicked through the site I realised it's not one of FastNets standard nets. Then I saw a picture of Hywel with a half-open net stuck in the bank next to him. At this point there was a minor head-slapping flash of understanding. Stick the spiked handle into the bank and, because the net stops at that half open position, use it as a sort of basket or line tray. How very ingenious! (Hywel thought this up, did he?)
Kidding aside, this is a neat and practical idea. With the net spiked into the bank next to me, the wide rim makes it dead easy to drop line into the bag as I retrieve. Nothing gets blown about and the line can't find any snags. If the water or bank is muddy I can shorten the net with a band or by trapping the bag in the ring at the hinge so my line never picks up grit - and the net is right there when needed for normal landing net duties.
Fly-Fishing & Fly-Tying Magazine - June 2010
Refreshing! Fastnet is a small Scottish engineering company. A friend of the owner needed a light net, so he made one. The first net was Gye style: a metal hoop fixed to a block which slides along a metal shaft. Sounds simple? How do you make a light but strong net? Light is easy but normally means flimsy. Strong is easy but normally means heavy.
The engineers answer is to look at materials and shapes. For example, the aluminium hoop on conventional rigid metal nets is commonly formed from either tubing or flat aluminium strip. Fastnet has opted to make its net-hoops from a 'diamond'-shaped aluminium extrusion, age-hardened and tempered to maximise strength.
Similarly, the sliding block on Gye-style nets normally means either a heavy block of metal or suspiciously fragile plastic moulding. Fastnet settle on an engineering resin, glass filled nylon, for its combination of strength and weight. Glass-filled nylon brings the added benefits complicated shapes can be moulded rather than machined and, not least, nylon slides on aluminium rather well. The net effect is a better mousetrap! (Sorry, that just came out...).
From its first Gye net, Fastnet's range of landing nets evolved as word spread and local demand grew. Its current range is extensive with twelve net types. Most are available in a choice of size.
At 26", sitting next to a trout net, this is huge, but is exactly what landing a salmon needs. If you have used a Gye, using this is completely conventional. Slide the head down the shaft, the tip of the shaft is slightly flared so the net wedges in place. Slides smoothly enough. Unlike my old salmon net I can free the wedged head and slide this back up again without needing to whack the butt on the ground.
Just over six feet from butt to rim. Like the trout net this has short full-wells style cork grip. Of course a big salmon net really needs two hands and an assistant. But we've all been in situations where playing and landing your own fish is the only way. I want light and easy and this net is far lighter than my old one and the head seems to slip into position more easily.
As standard, the Fastnet Superior Salmon Gye comes with that familiar bungee lanyard. As an accessory for a very reasonable £7.95, they supply a Peel Sling, essential if you are fishing alone and need the net on your back where you can get at it.
Fly-Fishing & Fly-Tying Magazine - June 2009