The Rats Nest

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

New Piece Of Equipment

As I get a little older, still what some consider a young buck at 37, I find that I have started to slowly but surely grow out of the "Gotta have new gear" phase.  Maybe becoming a parent had something to do with it, or just realizing that you can only fish with one rod, reel and line at a time, and whatever else you can strap on your back superseded the need to always get something new.  Granted, although I have a full complement of whatever I may need in the truck while stream side, those who know me well recognize my minimalist mentality once stream side.

There are however a few pieces of equipment that are crucial to one's enjoyment on the river.  Once you get your paws on the right rod with that action you just fall in love with, everything else just seems to flow from there.  Me on the other hand, I put more stock in a well tied fly or hand made piece of equipment more than most.

There are a few things in life that I truly appreciate maybe more than the average Joe;  A good strong cup of coffee, a nice craft beer, a finely tied fly and last but not least, fine woodworking.  Woodworking you say? I guess coming from a long line of woodworkers, some of which are true artisans, my dad for example, even though I am a bit biased, I have grown to truly appreciate exceptional craftsmanship.  Earlier this year, my friend Mike Schmidt was out for a few days of fishing that if you remember, kinda didn't go as planned.  In the course of Mike's visit a particular piece of his gear really caught my eye, and it just so happened that the one I owned was in desperate need of replacement for various reasons.

You see, hanging off the back of Mike's massive frame was a net I just couldn't be without.  When I asked Mike where he acquired such a fine net as I had never seen one like it anywhere, he told me about Sam Lacina from Grand Rapids Michigan; the guy who constructed the net for Mike.  To say that I was blown away by the net is an understatement.  I have been sporting nets from another well known manufacturer for over a decade now, and although nice, they just weren't cutting it anymore.  If you recall, that trip graced me with another quality brown trout that was literally spilling out my net.

So, when I got home that night, I did a google search for Sam and found his website, www.flyfishingnets.net.   Sam's logo speaks for itself;  "Nets That Honor The Fish".  Once I laid eyes on Mike's custom tailored net, there was just no way that I couldn't have one, and when Mike said that Sam will custom make the hoop and handle to whatever size and shape you want, I was sold.

Once Mike left back in early June, I immediately contacted Sam and inquired about putting something together.  I explained to Sam how I like to chase larger fish, even steelhead and salmon from time to time, and that I needed something with a larger than average opening and bag.  Mike had mentioned that he had his ghost bag zip tied to the hoop, as strung nets have the tendency to weaken the frame once the holes are boared through.  I opted for the same, and a few weeks later I received and email with some photos of a few prototypes that Sam had put together.

Sam had made two nets, both similar but a shade different in hoop size and handle length with different dimensions, and he basically said pick the one you like best.  I opted for the 12.5 inch handled model over the longer handled one as I like to slip the net along my back and from experience the longer handle has a tendency of dragging the back of my knees.

Well, yesterday Sam's masterpiece arrived, and to say that I am blown away once again is an understatement.  The net is so nice I am almost afraid to get it wet, but I know that once I scoop up my first big brown in it this fall, I'll be glad that I did.  The beauty of it is she arrived the day after my favorite 6 weight came back from repair, if you don't remember that blog post, read it HERE.  If you are looking for a truly heirloom quality net, trust me when I say look no further, as Sam is a master at what he crafts.  Enjoy the pictures, and if you end up having Sam customize you one of his nets, tell him I sent ya.  And these nets truly do honor the fish, and it is an honor to own one as well......



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