A good fishing net is like buying tires. Most people don’t want to spend the money at the time they buy tires, but after they have some tough weather and road conditions, they are glad they spent the money. Most people don’t think about a net much either. “Any old net will do” is what some guys say. The problem is, any old net is often hard to stow, gets in the way, tears, breaks and is just a general pain to deal with at a time when you just want to land the tournament winning fish or a once in a lifetime catch.
There are some great net makers on the market like Frabill, EGO, Beckman and more. We recently had an opportunity to test the new Frabill Hibernet. This unique net starts as nothing more than a 1 1/2-inch by 4 1/2-foot long aluminum tube. It stows as easily as a single rod but it’s extremely sturdy with a good grip on the end.
Along the center of the rod is a slit that acts as a track for storing and deploying the netting inside. Simply sliding the cam upward slides the net out. Now with two hands and some pressure, one can easily pop the net out and lock it into place in seconds. One word of caution, do this before you start fishing because this is VERY difficult to do with one hand while fighting a fish.
The netting is deep and the flexibility of the opening will offer a little more forgiveness at the point of landing. In other words, you might get away with your partner hitting your fish with the loop on this net because it’s flexible in the front. And, because the poly mesh netting resists tangling with treble hooks, another source of frustration with dealing with conventional nets, this net will enable anglers to focus more on the fish than their tools.
The ease of storage will be a huge selling point with anglers who just need a little more room in the boat. If two of you are fishing together, you can leave the net stored out of sight and out of mind until needed. And you can see how much better it stores in a rod locker than a standard net. I’m sure guys are going to use this net to push them off docks and rip rap and try to use it as a makeshift push pole. It’s not intended for that use and you’ll want to be careful about getting anything jammed in the open end of the tube. It’s certainly sturdy enough though to do some prying if you were to get into a jam.