I have always been resistant to buying good nets. After all, good nets are expensive and my little net had pulled in every fish I’d asked it to. From big…
…to small, so what more could I really need? At least that is what I thought until a few months ago a disaster was only narrowly averted. After years of fishing my favorite ankle deep micro-stream and catching mostly fingerlings I landed a worthwhile fish:
Not a monster by any means, but catching good fish in tiny water is one of the true joys in life. Unfortunately, the fish in question thrashed out of my hand just after that picture was taken and, although I was using barb-less hooks, managed to hopelessly tangle himself in my cheap net. A few frantic moments of careful knife work and the fish was free. Thankful that I hadn’t manged to kill one of my favorite fish ever, I left that stream committed to go buy a good net before some nice fish died because I was cheap.
Enter the Fishpond Nomad Emerger.
What is it? Fishpond Nomad Emerger Net in Brown Trout
How much does it cost? $169.95
Did someone give it to you for free? Nope, I bought it from the fine folks at Duranglers at full price.
Is it garbage? No.
Look, I’m not going to tell you that every person in the world needs to have a $170 net. Frankly, even writing the words “$170 net” makes me pray that a.) my wife has already forgotten about that credit card statement, and b.) she never, ever reads this post. That being said, if you are buying a $170 net, it better be good.
Luckily the Emerger fits the bill. Like all nets in the Nomad series, it is constructed with a composite body threaded to a rubber basket. This results in a net that is light, buoyant, and user-maintainable. Unlike the other nets in the Nomad series, however, it is actually the right size.
One of my main complaints with the Nomad nets, and one of the reasons that I never plunked down the cash before now, is that they all seemed either too big or too small. As almost all my fishing happens deep in the backcountry, I end up doing a lot more carrying my net off the side of my pack than fishing with it. This made the big, wide baskets that everyone seems to love on the Hand and Mid-length nets seem a little unmanageable. On the other hand, while I loved the basket size of the Native net, the short handle would limit my reach and make the net a little harder to stick in a belt when I felt like ditching my pack at the shore.
The Emerger, on the other hand, is a near perfect Goldilocks, narrow enough to carry comfortably on the side of a pack:
And still long enough to be stable in a belt or waistpack:
Other than that, there isn’t much to say. Fit and finish is exceptional, as you would expect on a $170 net, the basket is deep and generous, and the “brown trout” paint pattern on the handle provides a deceptively good grip. My net has already been banged around (a lot) on the tight scrambles indicative of the fish-yoneering trips I love, and it has proven much, much more durable than expected.
What we have here then is an increasingly rare example of a good product that does everything you need and nothing you don’t. Yes, it is expensive, very expesive, but it is also good.
SEE IT IRL
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Max Wilson is a graduate student studying ecology at Arizona State University. He writes here at Lesser Places, has occasionally written for Backpacker.com, and even more occasionally written for scientific journals. You can follow him on twitter @maxomillions.