Why Don’t Bass Fishermen Use Nets?

Bass fishing is an excellent outdoor activity and gives you the chance to breathe fresh air. If you’re a fisherman and you’ve never tried fishing for bass, why not have a go? Unlike some lesser-known fishing pursuits, bass fishing has a thriving pro scene, so there’s potential to build yourself a career too; however, why don’t bass fishermen use nets?

Bass fishermen don’t use nets because it is against the rules of the Bassmaster Tournament Trail. Other reasons bass anglers don’t use nets include space, not needing a netman, protecting the fish’s coating, fishing like the pros, and the fact that bass are toothless and easier to lip.

The following article takes an in-depth look at some of the reasons bass fishermen don’t use nets. Read on to find out more about pro bass fishing, toothless fish, and more.

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail

Photo Credit – @ryanhallfishing

The Bassmaster Classic does not allow competitors to catch bass with nets. Pro fishermen competing in the Bassmaster Classic don’t use nets because it drives competition and makes the sport more challenging. According to the founder of the tournament, Ray Scott, it makes the Bassmaster Classic more appealing for TV. 

What Is the Bassmaster Tournament Trail?

Bassmaster’s tournaments cover every stage of bass fishing competition from the junior level to the elite level. Teens, colleges, and even fantasy competitions exist. Fishermen can also compete in teams, and there is prize money for every type of competition that Bassmaster manages.

Why Are Nets Banned?

Landing nets have been against the rules since the beginning of the competition. Founder, Ray Scott, believed line fishing made for better TV and more challenging competition. Also, netting damages the slimy coating covering the fish, and line fishing is a more ethical way to fish for bass. 

The Fish Locker has a great video on bass fishing with lures, here: 

Fishing Like the Pros

Those who aspire to compete at the elite level or emulate their heroes fish like the pros. Lots of bass fishermen don’t use nets because that’s how the pros do it. As in any sport, the elite athletes set trends and influence the style amateurs like to use at home, and bass fishing is no different.

What Is Pro Bass Fishing?

Pro bass fishing is similar to any other pro sport in that it is played by the best of the best in the industry. Some pros earn money or sponsorship, and you may be familiar with some regular figures in televised competitions. Some tournaments offer prize money, such as Bassmaster, which offers $300,000 to the winner.

How Do the Pros Catch Bass?

Most pros use a line to catch bass, as that’s how they have to fish during competition. A useful tip for bass fishing is to watch out for them swimming very close to you. You can also retrieve your lure erratically, as this seems more like their natural bait to them. Many pro fishermen put the biggest bass they catch back into the water to enhance the breeding pool.

Bass Are Toothless Fish

It’s much easier to land a fish that doesn’t have teeth! You can’t get bitten, so it’s safer and easier to disconnect hooks from the fish’s mouth, making using a line acceptable. Fish can carry parasites and bacteria, and you don’t want any of it getting into an open wound like a fish bite.

Why Can’t You Catch Toothy Fish With a Line?

Fish with teeth can be dangerous to the fishermen, but they will also shred your line. To combat this, you can add a leader to your kit, such as Scientific Anglers’ Leader from Amazon.com. It’s purpose-built for predatory toothy fish and should allow you to line fish for sharp-toothed fish. 

What Are Some Types of Fish That Must Be Caught in a Net?

Types of fish that you usually need a net to catch include:

  • Bluefish
  • Piranha
  • Wolffish
Photo Credit – @xxraggamuffinxx

However, you can use a fishing net to catch pretty much anything, including crabs. Netting is controversial due to bycatch (unwanted species like turtles, seabirds, etc.). Fishing net should always be used and disposed of responsibly. 

Bass Have a Protective Coating Over Their Skin

In competition, bass are released back into the water after weighing. Anglers must also abide by local fishing regulations and quotas. As bass have a slimy coating over the skin, it’s important not to damage this to improve their chances of survival when they’re released. Net is likely to damage the coating, whereas line fishing poses a lower risk.

Why Do Bass Have a Protective Coating?

Photo Credit – @basss_ninja

The coating fish have protects them from injury, infection, and much more. It’s a fish’s first line of defense against bumps, cuts, and bacteria. As fish are wet creatures, they need to lock in fluids and keep unwanted fluids out, and a slimy barrier is an excellent way to achieve this. It’s not just bass that have skin coatings; many species of fish do.

You Can Fish Alone

Not using a net allows fishermen to fish alone, which is desirable to many fishermen. It’s also useful if you’re competing in a solo competition. However, if you’re using a net, you’ll need a partner to net the fish while you hold it on the line.

Some fishermen prefer not to have a partner or ‘netman’ as this can lose their catch or cause hostility, especially in a high-pressure environment like pro sport.

Nets Are Harder To Use

Using a net adds another layer to your fishing process, which allows more room for error. During the competition, this could be critical. Fishermen also have to be skilled in both line fishing and net fishing to succeed at bass fishing with a net. Many fishermen prefer to focus on one skill and practice that until they’re perfect. 

Nets Can Be Hazardous

A fishing net is a trip hazard, and it also tangles up easily. It’s one more thing you have to keep stored away safely, and you’ll have to prevent the rest of your kit from getting caught up in it. It’s easy to damage a fishing net beyond repair, and if it snags your line, you could lose your whole kit in one go.

Nets also pose a risk to the catch, especially fish with protective coatings, like bass. Many people worry about the hazards of netting, whether it’s during use or when it’s disposed of. 

Nets Take Up Space

When you’re working in a high-pressure situation, the last thing you want is to be stuck in a tiny space with stuff everywhere. You’ll also want something as important as your fishing net close to hand, ready to grab at a moment’s notice. However, this isn’t easy with netting, and many fishermen prefer not to store it on board.

Another Piece of Equipment To Buy and Maintain

With a fishing net comes additional expense and maintenance. The more equipment you use, the more it will cost, and the more you need to spend on keeping it in good working order. Many fishermen like to spend the money on one excellent piece of kit (a great rod, for example) instead of two or three mid-range items. 

Final Thoughts

This article examined bass fishing and why fishermen don’t use nets. In pro bass fishing competitions, nets are against the rules, which explains why many bass fishermen don’t use them. 

Other reasons nets are not used for bass include: bass are toothless (so they’re easy to lip), bass have a slimy skin coating that fishermen take care not to damage, and nets can be expensive, hazardous, and controversial. Not using a net also allows fishermen to fish or compete alone.


Recent Posts