S.A.F.E. Angling Products - Frabill Conservation Series Nets

Frabill Landing Nets - Recycled FishS.A.F.E. Angling (Sustaining Angling, Fish, and Ecosystems) is the products and practices we use on the water to lead a "lifestyle of stewardship."

Recycled Fish supports selective harvest of the fish we’re fortunate enough to catch, but we know that most of us are releasing most or all of our catch, most or all of the time.

Part of good catch and release is not just releasing fish to swim away today, but to live tomorrow. That’s what is going to lead to better fishing now, and for generations to come.

Frabill Landing Nets - Recycled FishWe have to release fish in the healthiest and strongest possible condition. That’s where most of us have room for growth. Many scientific studies prove that all released fish do not survive. Some die within hours, some within days, and some within weeks of having been released, the cause being directly related to how the fish was caught and handled prior to release. A large part of this fish-handling aspect of fishing is how we land the fish after bringing it to the boat or shore prior to its release back into the water.

Frabill Landing Nets - Recycled FishFrabill, a distinguished and longtime manufacturer of fishing landing nets, has recently developed a series of nets that directly addresses the various issues involved in landing a fish while reducing harm to it, thus decreasing the potential for delayed mortality.

With a good understanding of the biological and physiological aspect of various fish species, as well as scientific knowledge of what factors contribute to delayed mortality, Frabill set out to create a series of nets, called their Frabill Conservation Series Fish Friendly Landing Nets.

Cconservation Series Landing Nets - Recycled FishFrabill Conservation Net Series are constructed of knotless mesh, which is the first vital part of its construction. As most fish thrash and often get tangled in nets, the soft knotless mesh creates less abrasion to the fish’s scales or skin, vastly reduces damage to vital organs such as the eyes and gills, and addresses the cutting and tearing of the fish’s fins through cuts and tears to them from course, knotted netting materials used in most other fish landing nets today. Frabill’s Conservation Net Series net material is also important in reducing the time the fish is out of the water, as many times anglers spend too much time trying to untangle not only the fish from the landing net, but also the lure and it’s hooks that are often caught in netting of the landing net.

The time for the fish to be out of the water and without being able to breathe is prolonged if the angler has to spend an unreasonable amount of time trying to work the hooks from a fishing lure from the net. Taken one step further, the act of removing hooks from a thrashing and flailing fish is also dangerous and tricky business for the angler. Many an angler been accidentally hooked by a fish and the lure while trying to remove the fish from the net. It seems sporting to hook a fish, but it seems much less appealing when the fish hooks us.

Another feature of Frabill’s Conservation Series of nets is that the bottom of the nets are specifically designed for the bottom of the net to open up and lie flat, as opposed to being rounded in a cone or bowl-like fashion on the bottom. If you were a fish, the benefit of this would be obvious (and appreciated). With the Conservation Series Net having a bottom that opens up to flat plane, the fish is held with it’s entire body weight evenly distributed, again as opposed to being held in the net with the full weight of it’s body being supported by it’s face, or with the fish being folded in half. As is the theme with this series of Fish Friendly nets, this reduces or eliminates the stress to the fish, and that allows for the fish to be released in far better shape, improving odds for post-release survival.

One-on-One with Frabill

Recycled Fish stole a few moments with Jeff Kolodzinski, Frabill’s Vice President of Marketing, to educate us not only on Frabill’s Conservation Net Series, but also on their important features and how the right landing net can make a difference in fish handling and fisheries conservation.

1. In your product description of your Frabill Conservation Series nets, some of your "Knotless Micro Mesh Netting" nets have "Mesh Guard". What is Mesh Guard?

Mesh Guard is a process in which the netting is installed into a channel cut right into the hoop. The result is a very strong hoop that does not have the netting ‘looped’ over the outer edge of the hoop. This prevents wear and tear of the net when nets get scraped on rocks and assorted debris when netting fish. It really adds to the life of a net.

2. Again, in the product description for the Conservation Series nets, some are described as having a "flat bottoms" and others a "linear bottom". Can you explain the difference and the benefits of each?

Good Eye! The flat bottoms allow fish to benefit by being supported across their entire body length. Typical, run-of-the-mill nets have conical bottoms which usher the fish downwards onto their caudal fin, essentially shredding it. Not fun for the fish as you can well imagine. Lots of damage occurs on this old, inexpensive, style. We do have some nets that are made using a different process that does not allow for us to sew in an extra panel to create the 2-dimensional, flat bottom. However, keeping our focus on conservation, we make the bottom of the net linear (flat in one dimensions), so fish don’t get caught in the conical fin blender of typical nets. The nets with linear bottoms are typically geared toward larger predator fish that go nuts when in a net, but despite their voracity, require gentle handling. The linear bottom allows us to vary the depth of the net bag, so that we can offer nets that subdue big, surly fish and still keep them from damage and injury.

3. One of the series of your Fish Friendly Landing Nets (model 9527) has a "Twin Wall" construction. Can you describe and explain this feature for our Recycled Fish readers?

The Twin Wall is a net hoop on ‘Roids! We actually have an extruded wall inside that serves to drastically reinforce the strength of the hoop. We use this on our big predator / specimen nets that can take all the abuse fish want to throw out and still keep going.

4. How did this series of "Fish Friendly" Conservation Nets come about? Angler demand? Alternative product offering? DNR recommendations for net considerations? Concern for our fish as valuable natural resource?

You raise a good question.

It was born out of challenge and a refusal to accept the status quo. So, quite frankly we chose not to accept things as they were and decided to snuff out each problem experienced when netting a fish and turn them into attributes.

We wanted to offer a Catch & Release Landing Net. In order to do that, the net had to effectively decrease the wear and tear (quite literally) on the fish, in order to increase the likelihood of their survival.

We reviewed quite a few scientific studies on fish mortality, identified the causes, and created nets that drastically reduced the likelihood of injury caused by poor designs. The fish came out as the big winners on this one. That said, we still had to have the nets work for the angler. After all, it wasn’t enough to simply create a solution for the fish, we had to offer efficiencies for the angler too. We knew that reaching out to land the trophy of a lifetime was a feature no other nets did well. We designed the Conservation Series with cam-lock handles that extend up to 8’ in a split second. We knew that the nets are very handy when stored, so we designed the patented Power’R Lok Yoke so that the net can be deployed every time, without fail. The innovative yoke rides the rails of the shaped handle and automatically lines up the spring button with the yoke, to make the net deploy perfectly, without fail, every time. We knew that getting hooks out of a net was punishing to the angler and the fish, so we applied a coating on the netting to help prevent keep hooks from getting buried. We knew that the nets should be used in both fresh and saltwater, so we made them out of 100% corrosion resistant materials.

All of these, every single feature listed here. But when you look at it, a landing net is going to last for years and the number of fish that visit it’s bottom and be released, truly warrants a better design. It’s here in the Conservation Series.

5. Will the Frabill Conservation Nets hold up equally well in saltwater and freshwater, or are there a few in the series you would recommend more strongly than others? Is there any special care advice you would give for use of the nets in saltwater?

Absolutely. We designed the CS Nets entirely with corrosion resistant materials. We just felt that although saltwater is typically a vast environment with lots and lots of fish, that didn’t mean that they were disposable and discarded as such. We still wanted a Catch & Release net that would stand up to the salt, and still cradle fish. All of our saltwater field testers have given the nets a hearty thumbs-up!

6. Will you also be marketing Conservation Net Series "Fish Friendly" net replacements in the near future, so anglers can change out the netting on their current set-ups?

Replacement nets are in our plans, but quite honestly we haven’t seen an urgent need just yet. The nets seem to be lasting pretty well, but we have acknowledged the eventual need for replacement.

Frabill Landing Net for Big fish - Recycled Fish7. Can you devise a quick list for us of some popular fish and the best Frabill Conservation Series "Fish Friendly Landing Net" for that species based on Frabill’s research, experience and familiarity with each of the nets in the series? With 9 styles in this series of nets, our Recycled Fish readers might appreciate some professional guidance.

Bass - 9512 stores in ‘bass boats’ well and fits most largemouth and smallmouth.

Salmon, Trout, Steelhead –9525 For some trolling applications, an accessory extension handle adds some reach to the 9525 and helps get over downriggers or below piers to land big fish.

Musky, Northern Pike – Big fish need big nets and the 9525 and the 9517 are up to the task. The hoop size of the 9571 is big enough to keep many fish in the water while removing the hooks. This goes a long, long way to keep fish from unnecessary injury.

Redfish – Redfish come in many sizes, but the good news is we’ve got anglers covered for every size of ‘em!

For small to medium reds the 9512 is really nice. It’s lightweight, small enough to not get in the way and extends to 8’ quickly.

For fish 8-10lbs the 9517 is ideal.

The 9525 will accommodate the biggest, Bull Reds!

Striper, Bluefish - The 9526 is designed for Striper trolling applications and comes with an extra 4’ handle extension built right in. Blues though are pretty chompy critters! Give them enough time and they’ll chew their way through the pier and back into the water! I would recommend staying with the heavier 9525 style netting, but watch out - those teeth are sharp!

Panfish, Crappie – The 9512 is an all-around best bet for panfish and most bass applications.

Catfish – Big Surly cats need some wrangling, the 9525 and 9527 will keep them in line!

Walleye, Sauger - 9512 is ideal for all-around Walleye & Sauger action.

For Walleye trolling, there is none better than the 9522 with it’s the handle extension included.

8. What makes Frabill’s Conservation Net Series so important for anglers?

No other net combines the fish friendliness of a true Catch & Release net with all the features anglers appreciate as well.

9. What are Frabill’s Conservation Net Series biggest benefits to the fish?

- Knotless mesh netting that reduces injuries to fish by eliminating sharp edges caused by knots.

- Flat bottoms that support the weight of the entire fish.

- Coated nets that help prevent hooks from being buried into the netting making for a faster release of the fish.

In general, using a net, the right net, reduces the injury to fish as often happens when they thrash around boat bottoms or other land surfaces.

10. Do you see this type of "Fish Friendly" type of net being the wave of the future as far as landing nets are concerned? Will it be replacing the older knotted nets completely eventually?

Here’s what irks me - I hate turning on my Saturday morning fishing show, only to see anglers launch fish out of the water and into the bottom of a bass boat only to have the fish knocked around and scraped up on every conceivable surface. It’s just not good stewardship. My sincere hope is that every angler uses a net and that all nets go to knotless netting and flat bottoms to help our shrinking resources. I mean it. Sure I’d love them to buy Frabill versions, but even if they didn’t the resources will be better off if we make a practice of caring for our catch. Without getting into what the others intend to do or not do, I can tell you that Frabill is committed to leading the way for conserving our resources and we will continue to design and manufacture the best Catch & Release nets available anywhere. And we will remain committed to telling the story of how important conserving our resources is to all who will listen…and even to those who won’t!

11. Any success stories or interesting stories you can share regarding Frabill’s Conservation Net Series so far?

Lots of "fish of a lifetime" stories so far, but none that you’d really see on the nightly news! Maybe some of the Recycled Fish Stewards have a newsworthy story!

12. Are there more products like the Conservation Net Fish Friendly Series that anglers can look forward to coming from Frabill? Any newer developments you can share with our Recycled Fish anglers?

Don’t mean to be cryptic here, but we keep the new product process under fairly tight wraps. I will tell you that we are concerned about the fish from hook-set all the way to the successful release and are passionately designing products to benefit the fish and the angler.

As we look to employ every means available to preserve and strengthen our fisheries, we need to consider the tools we have available for us. A large part of the stewardship ethic is making sure we make use of these tools whenever possible to ensure the fish we catch and release are handled safely and returned to the water uninjured and healthy. Frabill’s Conservation Fish Friendly Net Series is an excellent example of commitment to the stewardship cause and an excellent tool for the job!

For more information on Frabill and Frabill’s Conservation Fish Friendly Net Series, visit their website at www.Frabill.com.

About Frabill:

Frabill Family _ Recycled FishFrabill, Inc. is celebrating 70 years of providing the most trusted gear in the fishing industry. Frabill’s fresh and saltwater products include a wide selection of landing nets, portable aeration systems, bait containers, bait care, bait traps and seines, and other fishing accessories. Our ice fishing product mix consists of portable ice fishing shelters, ice fishing rods and combos, tip-ups, bait containers, portable aeration and other ice fishing accessories.

If you have a question or comment about Frabill products, please contact us:

By Email: Customer Service - service@frabill.com

By Phone: 800-558-1005

By Mail:

Frabill, Inc.
P.O. Box 449
Jackson WI 53037