Nets. They are an extremely necessary part of fishing and one that is often over looked. Many trophy fish have been lost to anglers not having a net or the net they were using was of inferior quality. Frabill are an eighty-year-old company that is now being distributed in Australia by JM Gillies. They have a great range of fishing accessories that ranges from nets and rain-wear through to some very ingenious designs for keeping live bait. They are a company that prides itself on innovation and the Hiber-Net I have for review certainly fits in with their “think outside the square” design principles.
The Hiber-Net differs from other collapsible nets in many ways. Rather than breaking down or folding with the use of hinges, the actual net hoop draws itself back into the handle so all you are left with is a pole. This is obviously very convenient for storage. Large nets with big hoops are hard to stow away even on large boats and often find themselves sitting on the deck somewhere, which is hazardous, and an annoyance. They don’t fit in side pockets and when you do put them in rocket launchers (if you have them) they often tangle with rigged rods or the hoop spins while underway and knocks and scratches your favourite graphite.
The Hiber-Net eliminates all these issues as when the hoop is folded into the handle, it is just a 150cm pole that can be fit into side pockets or stowed with ease in the cabin. This is perfect for small boats with limited storage that target large fish such as most barra boats, they have smaller versions that would suit bass and bream anglers as well. When extended, the hoop (although triangular in this case) takes the overall length to 183cm. This suits boats with high sides or fishing situations where length is required. It’s all well and good to have a net that folds away but I have used many in the past and have found that the moving parts used rust up quickly, they can’t handle large weights and they are a pain to open and fold away.
I was keen to see how the Frabill would perform and upon netting a 6.5 kilo snapper (pictured) I found that it handled this kind of weight easily. I never felt the net was going to give. The operation of the net via the use of a sliding hard plastic black handle is simple and can be executed quickly which is of great importance. It requires little force until the last 10cm where you need to lock the net out, and this requires minimal force itself. It doesn’t feel super smooth as you extend and retrieve the hoop yet it feels strong and not in any way cheap or made of flimsy parts. I spent a lot of time pulling the net in and out and it never jams or gets stuck at all…and I really tried to see if it would fail.
I was concerned about the parts used and if it would rust or corrode. After netting a fish and having it exposed to the saltwater elements all day I did not give it much of a clean aside from a quick hose down as I wanted to see what kind of reaction the salt would have. I am happy to see that seven days later there are no signs of corrosion at all. This is a great product that I think snapper and barra fishermen will rejoice about. It’s innovative, ergonomically designed and built with solid construction. It’s no gimmick item but a great innovation in what was always a clumsy piece of equipment. I’m sure these will sell very well at the local tackle store.