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The tricky part is over and done with; you’ve set up your rods, baited and cast out, and you’ve got your carp on your hook, ready to land – what next? Out comes the net, of course. Nets are undoubtedly one of the most important bits of gear in your tackle collection. After all, without a top quality net you’re never going to be able to lift a double figure carp safely out of the water, so it’s well worth investing in quality. This is why we, here at Angling Direct, have collected together a huge range of nets – all of which have been designed with carp fishing in mind. Our collection spans everything from huge triangular landing net heads, through to net poles, and even spare spreader blocks! No matter what you need, you can guarantee that we’ll have the perfect product in stock. However, we understand that all this choice can leave you wondering where to begin in your net hunt. This is why we’ve created this handy guide to go into a little more detail about the three main components of the net and what you need to look out for.
The Net Head
We sell landing nets as complete outfits, as well as separate heads and handles. No matter which way you buy it, the landing net head has to be one of your most important considerations. After all, this is going to be the first thing that comes into contact with you capture – other than your terminal tackle rig – so you want to ensure that it is up to scratch. Not only do you need your landing net head to be strong and durable, but you also need it to meet generally accepted standards of carp care. We’re proud to say that all of the nets that we stock meet these standards, so you can be confident that whichever net you invest in you’re able to use it on the bank without worrying that your fish are at any risk of accidental harm.
There are lots of different mesh types that you’ll find in our carp net collection. The most popular is a hex-mesh, which is generally considered to be the strongest and least abrasive mesh type on the market. You want a low abrasion mesh when you’re looking to land fish, as you don’t want to remove too much of the carp’s protective slime. You’re also at risk of damaging the delicate fins of the carp, too, should you use a mesh which isn’t soft enough. Remember, your carp probably isn’t going to be very happy that they are being lifted from the water and there is a risk that they might thrash around in the net – potentially causing themselves harm. This is why a soft and nonabrasive mesh is absolutely essential. You might also find some nets employ two different mesh types in their construction. In most cases, this will consist of a wider mesh for the main body of the net and a finer mesh for the base of the net. This is especially essential if you’re looking to retain your fish in the water for a short period of time – whether this is to give the carp a chance to recover or to give yourself a chance to set up your unhooking and weighing equipment. The wider top mesh allows for a better flow of water, should you be fishing with a current, preventing you capture from being bashed in the net. This is also useful when you’re attempting to manoeuvre the net through the water, as you’ll be faced with less water resistance. The finer base mesh helps to better support the body of your carp as you lift it out of the water. It is important to remember that fish rely on the water to support their body weight, so the effect that gravity can have on captures can sometimes cause damage to their internal organs. This finer mesh base ensures that the weight of the fish is evenly supported in the net, helping to prevent any damage.
Landing net heads on carp nets tend to be 42 inches. This refers to the length of the arms of the net, not the depth or the width of the net (although, the longer the arms are the wider the net will be). A 42inch net ensures that you can target and land the vast majority of the carp in the UK, as well as a whole variety of European species. However, if you like to target even bigger fish or you’re regularly carp fishing on the continent targeting huge high doubles then you might be interested in an even larger landing net. We stock nets up to 50inches online, which are able to house the very biggest carp both here and over the other side of the channel.
You might also want to look at the depth of the net. A deeper net is better suited to retaining fish, so if you are someone who likes to retain your carp then you will definitely want a deep net head in your arsenal. However, a deeper mesh does have its drawbacks. For starters, the deeper the mesh is, the more material there is and the heavier it will be to manoeuvre in the water. What’s more, the more mesh you have trailing, the further you’ll have to lift your net to bring it back into the bank and the greater risk you have of getting trapped on snags under the water. To counteract this, many companies have manufactured net retainers for their ultra-deep landing nets. These are either small hooks that attach the base of the net to a point on the handle or a small integrated magnet. Both systems have the same results and lift your net up from the base of your venue. If you’re someone who targets venues with lots of snags or a shallow lead up to the bank then you’ll definitely want to invest a net which offers this kind of retainer system
The Spreader Block
The spreader block is the integral component of your landing net and it holds you landing net head to your landing net handle. What’s more, it also supports the arms of your net head, too, holding them out in position. This is why it is important to make sure that your spreader block is constructed from a strong and durable material, as this is the part of your whole net set up which will be under the most pressure whilst you’re landing your catch. More often than not, you’ll find that the spreader block on your system will be manufactured from ABS plastic or a stainless steel material. Stainless steel is generally considered to be the stronger of the two options, but ABS is significantly lighter. As with many decisions in angling, the choice comes down to strength or weight – although most will find that there is barely a factor separating the two. Usually, the spreader block will be supplied with the landing net head. However, we do also stock a range of spare spreader blocks. These are ideal to have to hand, just in case you encounter a problem on the bank.
Landing Net Handle
The final component of your landing net is the handle. This is every bit as important as your net head and the quality of your landing net can be determined by the quality of the handle. The first thing you want to look for when you’re investing in a landing net handle is its rigidity. The stiffer the handle is under pressure, the easier you’re going to be able to lift your carp from the water. This is because the handle supports the weight of the fish better, so if you’re capturing huge double figure carp then you’ll want to look out for an ultra-stiff handle. You’ll often find that landing net handles are manufactured from the same kind of carbon as your carp rod or pole. This is to ensure that they can offer strength as well as a low weight. After all, you’re already going to be trying to lift a huge carp, so you don’t want to add any unnecessary extra weight into the equation. However, some manufacturers prefer a metal construction over a carbon one. This is because they believe it offers the strength and durability that their customers need to confidently land large carp. Once again, the choice will largely come down to your own personal preference.
Another thing to consider when you’re looking at a landing net handle is its length. The vast majority of carp fishing nets have 6ft long handles. This is the generally accepted length for anglers fishing with 12ft rods. However, as more anglers begin to fish with longer rods the need for longer handled nets has also become prevalent. Some manufacturers have designed 3ft handle extensions to combat this. If you’re fishing with high water, a zig rig, or a 13ft rod, then a 9ft landing net allows you to keep your rod tip high whilst landing your fish. Conversely, if you happen to be fishing from a boat than a 6ft handle is unwieldy. This is why some companies also produce 3ft handles – to ensure that you’re not over-balanced on the water. Some landing nets will have two part handles. This is to ensure that you can easily transport your landing net and it often means that the net arms and handle sections are of an equal length.
The grip on your handle is every bit as important as the grip on your carp rod, as nothing is worse than feeling you landing net slip or rotate in your grasp – losing you the fish you had worked so hard for. As with rods, EVA is a popular grip material, as is shrink wrap rubber. On handles that offer two or three different pole lengths they will also offer two or three different gripping points. This is to ensure that no matter what length you’re landing your fish from, you can always be confident in your grip.
Landing Net Accessories
You’ve sussed out which elements of the landing net matter the most to you and you’ve purchased your ultimate carp net package – whether you’ve gone down the ‘all-in-one’ route or you’ve mixed and matched your net head and handle to get the perfect result for you. The only thing you have left to consider is your accessories, which, for landing nets, nine times out of 10 this means a net float. Net floats are useful little additions to your landing net setup as they help to support the weight of your net head in the water. This is especially useful if you’re someone who regularly dons waders in order to land your catches, as the mesh of your net can be incredibly heavy once it is soaked through with water and nothing is worse than temporarily letting go of your landing net handle in order to control a kiting carp only to find that your net has sunk to the depths of your venue. Your net float usually slots over the landing net handle, right near the head end of the net, and is attached around the spreader block to ensure that it doesn’t shuffle towards you whilst in use.
Here, at Angling Direct, you can buy complete landing net packages. In these instances, carp fishing brands, such as Trakker, JRC, Korum and Fox, will have paired a landing net head and handle together in order to give you the ultimate high performance product. However, we also understand that you might want to mix and match your setup, in order to make the most of your gear. This is why we also supply individual landing net handles and net heads. Please do check before purchase that your net head is compatible with your handle and, if you have any queries, do give our customer services team a call. They are equipped to assist with all aspects of your orders, from initial enquiry right through to after care, and as all conversations are strictly no obligation you can call up to pick their brains before taking the time to mull over your decision.