“When I fished in Alaska in August and September 2014 at Big Ku Lodge and at Royal Wolf Lodge, I quickly learned how to land large trout safely—without beaching them and without breaking the rod—as the lodges’ owner Chris Branham does not allow his guests or guides to use nets. He feels that nets are hard on the fish as they remove protective slime.” – Ross Purnell, Editor of Fly FIsherman Magazine
This technique allows you to safely land fish by yourself without a net, without dragging them on the rocks, and without breaking your rod in the process. While it’s certainly not a new technique, Ross did an excellent write-up on the technique complete with in-depth instructions, a great illustration by Joe Mahler, and a video clip which I filmed of him demonstrating the technique.
SLIP AND GRAB VIDEO
While fishing with Ross at Royal Wolf Lodge in 2014 he asked me to film a short video piece of him demonstrating the Slip and Grab Technique for the Fly Fisherman Magazine website. View the original video clip in the article about this technique here!
“Thanks to Ryan Davey of Primal Angler for shooting this short video on an extremely remote Alaskan trout stream”
– Ross Purnell, Editor of Fly Fisherman Magazine
ROYAL WOLF LODGE
At Royal Wolf Lodge in Alaska where I guide during the summer, we don’t use nets to land our fish in order to help preserve our world-class trout fishery. If it results in the occasional lost fish, so be it! We believe that nets damage fish in a number of ways including removing the fishes protective slime layer and damaging mandibles when beads and flies get caught up in the net and the fish thrashes around.
If You Must Use a Net…
If you really insist on using a net, do it right! Don’t lift the fish out of the water once it’s in the net! Don’t drag it up on the bank or in the boat! Use as large of a net as possible so the fish has plenty of room to swim around and feel comfortable. Keep the fish in deep water with enough flow to keep any sand or silt from entering the fish’s gills.
If the fish begins to thrash around, drop the net as low to the water as possible without letting the fish escape. Allow the fish to calm down before handling it. Remove the hook as quickly as possible and let the fish go. If you absolutely must hold it up for a picture, keep the net low, gain control of the fish, lift it slightly (preferably keeping as much of the fish in the water as possible) for the photo and release it quickly.