How to Choose A Fishing Net

Action Outdoors Limited would like to inform all fishermen.

That is under the current NZ and Pacific Island Regulations.

Most customers tend to choose the minimum mesh size specified by the current regulations. 

This is normally due to the MPI telling fishermen this is the minimum mesh size for the fish they want to catch.

Unfortunately, in practice, that is not quite the case.

 As per regulations, all the MPI advises you regarding mesh size is the minimum size you can use, not necessarily the best practical size to use.

How to Choose A Fishing Net

Apart from the conflict of interest in fishing areas caused by different techniques.

Mesh size has always been determined to give the target fish sufficient time to grow & to be sexually mature.  Therefore giving them X years of breeding before they risk getting caught.

As all inshore bottom fish have well-defined areas they like to breed & feed in, it’s reasonably easy to be selective with mesh and net type to catch what you want.

Mesh size is a lot more fish-size specific as opposed to fishing hooks which have no guiding regulations.  In our experience, having the minimum size mesh in your Fishing net may be counterproductive.

I have been lucky enough over my 50-year fishing career to experiment with many mesh sizes, mesh types, mesh colours & mesh-twine thicknesses.   This is because we can target all popular and non-popular fish from water depths of 1m to 300m deep on the NZ East Coast from East Cape to North Cape.  Action Outdoors Limited can now pass this practical knowledge on via manufacturing the nets we make for our huge range of customers.

Another misconception we have found is that customers would like to have a multi-purpose set net to catch all the popular eating fish.  Current fishing regulations make that impractical & even if there was no mesh size regulation, this would not be a practical option.

For example, if you had a small mesh set net to catch sprats, then any snapper caught would be too small to eat & if you had a snapper net to catch reasonably sized snapper, then fish like mullet, kahawai, sprats, and mackerel would swim straight through the mesh.

Here is one of the interesting things we found (quite by mistake, I might add).  Once early in the late 1970s, I made a set net with a very large mesh (145mm) compared to what all the other current fishermen were using close to Auckland.  A lot of fishermen used (116mm) mesh.  I had just moved from the Manukau Harbour and brought a bigger boat complete with nets & the previous owner had continued to work with me as a deckhand. The supplier had sent me the wrong size mesh, so I thought I try it anyway.

I was catching a lot more fish than previously; the fish weighed four times as much as a normal legal minimum-sized fish that we used to catch & indirectly, I had four times less work in a normal day as it was less work to take out one large fish than 4 small ones.  I also found that with this size mesh, the fish stayed alive, so the quality of the fish was much better.  From that day on, I tried many larger mesh sizes, types and colours with amazing results.

So to reiterate what I advised at the beginning, although Mr Government says you can use mesh size X this does not always mean it is the best size for your target fish.  Your own experience is more important.  If you want to try catching bigger Flounder, Kahawai, and Mullet, Action Outdoors Ltd would suggest you try one bigger mesh size in your nets.

To view our different nets & different meshes, please click on one of the below links to be taken directly to the page on our website.

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