By Matt Lynch
Today anglers have numerous options to choose from for quality fish landing gear. I’ve had a number of these products over the years to use myself, namely nets. Each net I have tried has strong suits, and while I’m not going to bash any of the others, I have found my new go-to landing bag. The company that produces these fine landing implements is RS Nets of Fresno OH.
Here at Tennessee Valley Muskie Authority, I was introduced to the nets when one of my best friends, Cory Allen, first had contact with Roman Schlabach of RS Nets. Cory fielded one of the Muskie Mag models which was impressive to say the very least. A monstrous bag along with beastly handle and cool hoop design made me instantly curious. I’d been running a local manufacturer’s net for several years as my primary net and I was abit skeptical initially about changing. Durability is always a factor and Corys first net would be the test. To put my own spin on J. Robert Oppenheimer’s famous quote it would be something like “Cory has become death, destroyer of equipment”.
So how did it hold up? In the field it performed beautifully. This monstrous bag can scoop up 50″ fish like a blue whale filtering tiny plankton from the seas. A prime example was while fishing with my good friend and fellow TVMA guru Charles. As he was bringing a feisty muskie to the boat, she thrashed and threw to the hooks boatside. As she dove I also plunged the massive RS net into the depths behind her. In the pitch darkness we thought at first she was gone but as I hoisted the net up, the bag began to thrash violently from its angry contents. I can’t say for certain many other nets would have had the real estate to capture that fish. The unique design of the bag is also a standout among the crowd. With the Figureight edition you get a slick green bag with Figureight logo. Not only does it just look cool but it, along with rest of the net, features all aluminum construction for extreme durability which is corrosion tested in saltwater for 1,000 hours and black anodized. The leading edge of the net features a very well designed scoop. This scoop has been incorporated in some nets in the past due to “accidents'”, so seeing it featured as a standard was great. When you’re pulling a big fish into the bag, especially if alone you probably know that this is the time they like to try and roll back out. Or the same can be said if you are hefting a massive blue catfish into the bag that’s trying desperately to use its obesity against you to roll back out. Once you get most of the fish over the scoop and start to lift it really helps guide the fish on into the bag where it belongs.
So how about that cool bag I mentioned? It uses a latex infused material and the model we are presently using that Brandon Lily of Figureight sells, uses a smaller mesh design which is very fin friendly. This small mesh prevents fish from nosing into the bag and tearing them. I can think of many trips when using other nets with large mesh that involved me snipping off pieces of 80lb Sufix to repair the nets while running between fishing spots. So far both of these bags have held up remarkably to numerous fish and tangled baits. In the case of the Muskie Mag, the bag is 36″ wide by 40″ long and features a depth of 46″. These numbers do no justice to how massive it is when viewing it in person either. Don’t believe me? Just go check out Brandon’s promotional photos on Figureightmuskygear.com!
Handles…handles are a very important part of your net. Without them you’d just look silly trying to net your prized catch, right? So what does RS Nets give you for a handle? Not one, not two, but three different options. First up we have the standard handle. A beefy solid piece of aluminum that features a very effective silicon grip wrap to prevent slips and also cushions the handle. Several lengths are available as well, including a 48 and 54″, to easily reach out to bag a big fish. RS Nets also offer a telescopic handle, which is what Cory opted for, and its crazy. The 50″ Handle extends all the way to 96″! It features a simple to operate lock and is built like a tank. The only downside at this point is weight. Especially at 96″ fully extended, its recommended that you eat your Wheaties. It’s just part of the game when you’re using such a strong and solidly built net. So if you’re fishing by yourself quite often, this is a concern RS Nets didn’t forget about. The third handle optional can be viewed at rsnetsua.com. It is a one handed design that replaces the other handles and features a bent handle with brace for your arm. I’ve managed to one hand my net just fine with the standard 54″ handle but I’m going to be getting their Green Bay model in the near future to use in my smaller boat and will be getting the one handed handle to try out. To store the net, the handle is removable using an easy detent design. It’s large but I can easily fit handle and net when broken down in the back hatch area of my 4Runner.
Between Cory’s two nets and my own and over a year and a half of fish I am very confident in the RS Nets and especially the Figureight Edition Muskie Mag to handle anything. The best part of all is that these nets are made in the USA so you’re supporting an American Company and American workers who take great pride in what they do. If you’re in the market for a solid net give them a look at either rsnetsusa.com or for some cool Figureight editions, figureightmuskygear.com.
Residing in the Appalachian foothills in eastern Tennessee, Matt Lynch has a variety of fishing opportunities available. A diehard catman from the start his roots always go back to catfishing the region, which is well known for its multiple world record catfish over the years. Scouring everything to flooded backwaters to the mighty Tennessee River in his jet he is always looking for opportunity. Also an avid muskie angler, he certainly takes good advantage of the states offerings of trophy muskie and spends most of his time fishing on Melton Hill Lake where upper 40-50in. muskie aren’t all that uncommon. He also enjoys the occasional foray for tailwater trout that the region is famous for and bowfishing. More importantly than anything he believes in helping maintain good working relationships between the TWRA and groups/individuals for maintaining and improving our fish habitat and also participates in Trout Unlimited.