Every now and then you come across a product that's really good for fly fishing; good for you, good for the fish, good for the environment; just a great product.
For me one such product is the rubber landing net. When they first came out, I purchased one with the belief that it would be easier on the trout; not as abrasive, less apt to remove the slime coating from the scales, less apt to get gill tangles, etc. And I think it's turned out to be exactly what I thought it would be.
It's also turned out to be more than I expected.
One of the really nice "extras" with rubber nets is that most of the trout that I bring to the net self-release once they're in the net. I fish barbless or pinched-down-barb hooks all of the time, but I'm still not sure what's going on here. It really hit me last week when I was fishing everything from a #20 Griffith's Gnat to a #8 Chernobyl Ant. I was getting self-releases with whatever fly/fish combination I had in my net.
What I do know about the combination of barbless hooks and rubber nets is that a good 75% of my fish free themselves within 15 seconds of being landed. I keep my net and the fish in the water during the landing/freeing process, so I think that probably helps. But, I also think that most of the credit belongs to the net material itself.
I use a Brodin Pro Firehole and I could not be happier with this product.
What do the rest of you think about rubber landing nets? Anyone else with the same self-release experience?