I’ve got a saying about restaurants, “It doesn’t matter how good the food is, if the coffee at the end of the night is bad, that’s all you’ll remember.” Well, it seems we need a similar expression when it comes to fishing gear, as decent landing equipment is often overlooked. While it may not be as exciting as a rod and reel, there’s no point getting the fish to the boat if you can’t get it in the boat. I see countless anglers in videos with $1500 outfits and $30 nets and gaffs losing fish.
You can learn the hard way, as I almost did recently, or spend a bit extra and get the right product now. One brand that seems to just do it better than others is Hook’em, and its new Heavy Duty Landing Net I’ve just tested is the best I have used – and the best on the market from what my research has uncovered.
This past snapper season my alloy net broke while landing a 7kg fish. Thankfully I didn’t lose it thanks to some quick reflexes – but I almost did. I knew it was time to get a new net. My issue is that I have a centre console so I don’t have a cabin to store a large net. Most collapsible nets are alloy and not what I would call heavy duty; alloy will eventually will bend or break at its bends, rivets and joins. I also wanted an alternative to rubber nets as they do eventually tear.
I called Mick, who is the brains trust, at Hook’em and before I could finish explaining what I was after, he said he had just the thing. The Hook’em HD net has a stainless steel frame and handle, which you can separate at the handle via a heavy duty thread and replace with various sizes of gaff heads. I can separate and store it easily in various hatches in my boat and assemble it for when I’m targeting larger fish. The netting is a coated heavy duty braid as opposed to webbed rubber, so it’s far stronger yet it doesn’t get hooks tangled in it.
On its first outing I hooked an 8kg fish that would have destroyed the previous alloy net, so I was very glad to have it on board. It truly is a heavy duty, locally manufactured quality piece of equipment that I highly recommend to any angler who targets large fish and wants to net or gaff them. It now never leaves the boat and the fact it doubles as a gaff has provided me with more precious storage.