Urban Fishing Tip: Net Handle Extension

20 feet of fish catching reach.
     Everybody knows that if I am out fishing, I land my fish with a Lucid Fishing Grip.  However when I am out on a harbor wall or fishing from an elevated position say 10 to 20 feet above the water I need a way to grab the fish.  This is the only time you will see me with a net in my hand.  Standard net handles are just to short to reach the surface of the water so a handle extension becomes required gear.  I have witnessed many ways that shorebound anglers extend the reach of their nets.  Crazy things from sections of rope, duct tape attached broom handles, to different sized pvc pipes sleeved and bolted together.  Then I saw a design that was easy to make, easy to use, and most of all easy to transport.  My friend and constant fishing partner came up with this system and when setup it increases the reach of the net by almost 12 feet.  
     First off you need a net, preferably one with a telescoping handle and big bag.  The more compact and easier to handle it is the better.  Second go to your favorite hardware store and get a 1 1/2 inch bolt and matching nut.  Third, pick yourself up a telescoping painters handle.  Buy a good one made of metal and preferably with a twist lock.  Then just follow these easy steps.
     Extend the net handle and drill a hole just big enough to slide the bolt through.  Then drill the same size hole through the end of the painters pole.  Make sure you leave enough room for 6-10 inches of handle overlap.  Now just slide the handles together and attach them with the bolt, it really is that simple.  With the handles fully extended you can safely reach down almost 20 feet. The fact that the net and painters pole are telescoping let you easily break them down for transport.
     Here's a few quick tips for using this net.  I have found that when you are getting ready to net the fish put the whole head of the net into the water.  It is easy for our depth perception to get a little wacky when staring over the side of the wall and I have witnessed more than one fish accidentally freed when the hooks get caught on the net without the fish all the way in it.  Also you want to use a net with a deep bag.  At that distance you can't really "shake and bake" a fish into the net so if you want to make sure the fish stays put you need a bag big enough to hold the entire fish.  When lifting the fish and net from the water you want to bring them up hand over hand.  With all the weight at the end of the handle a net can bend pretty easily so you don't want to try and lift the fish straight up and out.  Hand over hand, lifting vertically, will get the fish up and over the wall while saving your net.
     The great thing about this setup is that when you unbolt the painters pole your net still works like normal.  The hole in the handle causes no harm to the strength of the net.  Also since we are not drastically modifying the painters pole you can use it around the house in the off season to work on that "honey do list" you put off all summer.  Until next time...
     Tight Lines.

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