There are three major types of Drag Nets for recreational use:
• Piper - Bait 25mm to 75mm mesh
• Mullet - Kahawai 85mm mesh
• Mullet - Kahawai Flounder Snapper Trevally 100mm to 118mm mesh
Action Outdoors Ltd manufactures Drags Nets with stronger ropes, heavier leads on bottom ropes and more floats and the mesh is attached with stronger twine than other comparable length set nets.
For dragnets, the maximum length is 40m and can be used in a lot of areas where set nets cannot be used.
Check MPI Regulations for closed areas for Set Nets by clicking on the link below.
For drag nets use the smallest legal mesh size for your target fish, therefore fish do not gill themselves thus any unwanted fish can be returned unharmed. MPI regulations mesh size for drag nets for most species is less than the set net size.
Dragnets are environmentally safe with little or no waste of fish. We have not found any record or anecdotal evidence of harm to dolphins (that I am aware of) from recreational dragnets.
Saying that unfortunately the same can’t be said for humans. A few silly mistakes and a lack of knowledge have resulted in unnecessary drowning’s.
Therefore safety points to remember include:
- Do not tie your net to any part of your body.
- Do not attempt to use a drag net on your own anywhere at any time.
- Use a setting stick if you are setting in the surf as this keeps the net away from you.
- Use a safety rope from the fishing person to the on-shore person when operating in the heavy surf! You can buy suitable rope from $50.00.
- Make sure the net has 10m or longer bridles on each end when dragging; this will ensure the net is kept away from you if you fall over.
- Make sure you have no rings, watches, or bracelets on your hands. No buttons, toggles, or buckles on your clothing and use dive boots for your feet to avoid bits of you being ripped off. That is if you do not drown first if something goes wrong. This also applies to boat fishing with nets! The end result could be you feeding the fish instead of catching them.
- Make sure you have a tried and tested system of communicating / signals as a fail-safe if things go wrong. i.e. hand signals, whistle, or a flag. Especially in the surf as the wind and the surf blocks out the sound of peoples voices. E.g. if your communication system is a hand signal and you do not see a hand signal say every few mins then you need to have an action plan. It is a bit like watching a child when things go wrong. In an emergency you have very little time, so plans are good. Prior to handheld radios, a referee whistle was used on noisy trawlers and trains where everyone could not always be seen or heard.
- Cotton/ polyester type gardening gloves are good for hands when using nets as they will get pulled off your hand instead of your skin or fingers. They also provide you with a better grip for taking fish out.
- Some people are advocating wearing life jackets in the surf. We would not recommend any life jacket as normal life jackets would change your balance and you could be more prone to getting knocked over. Both normal and manually inflated ones have lots of buckles /clips/ toggles that will trap you in a fishing net. Unfortunately, the people who tend to fish the surf and river mouths are least likely to have funds to buy any life jacket.
- It is best to use a flotation device like the surf-lifesavers use. For example, the surf life-saving buoy as seen in the below picture.
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