Is a net needed when fishing on a kayak?
The answer is YES, you need to have a net with you on your kayak to land fish more consistently. It is one of the most important assets on your boat when fishing. You can lose many fish simply because you did not bring a net. It’s true that a net may not have made a world of difference, but why take the risk? You may not think you need one now, but give it time and eventually you will start to carry one. No one likes losing fish. Especially when you are in a tournament and each fish could make the difference between winning and losing.
It’s frustrating when you get a fish right beside your boat and you can see it, but never land it. If you happen to hook up with a pike or muskie, then you will need some lip grips to get it into your kayak. It’ll be much easier to lip grip the fish when it can’t go anywhere inside the net. Also, if you even try to grip a bass by the mouth, you run the risk of sticking your own treble into your hand while trying to retrieve the fish.
It is recommended carrying a net everywhere but there are times when it simply causes you to fail. Whether you take too much time to grab the net, or you accidentally snap the line with it, there will be times when a net won’t be the best option for you. Netting a fish is usually the surest way of getting it in your boat; but it’s not always the best practice, especially if your intend to release it. That’s because often your hooks can get caught in the mesh, and you can spend too much time trying to get them untangled. You really don’t need a net to land even a big fish. In fact, with toothless species like bass and crappies, the easiest way to land them is by putting your thumb into their mouths and lifting them up. Fishermen, who try this for the very first time, usually are amazed at how effectively it paralyzes the fish and makes hook removal so fast and simple.
Ways of catching fish without a net while Kayaking
The key words though, are toothless fish. You wouldn’t want to try lipping a walleye, pike, muskie, or king salmon. Not unless you are eager to lose a digit or two. There’s another technique for these species which is just as simple. It’s the gill cover compression technique. To land fish this way you slowly lead them alongside your boat, and then bring your hand from the back of the fish up toward its head. When you hand is over it gill plates, simply squeeze them firmly, but gently, together and lift up the fish. Just like the lip grip method, this technique virtually paralyzes the fish, making the removal of your hooks quick and easy. Remember though that you put your hand over the gill flaps, NOT in the gills themselves. And, don’t squeeze so hard that you damage the fish’s gills which are protected by the covers.