Of Nets and Holsters — The Smith Creek Net Holster

by | Apr 27, 2016 | 1 comment

Things fall apart. That’s why I don’t do many gear reviews. Usually sooner than later, everything I fish with breaks, separates, leaks, delaminates or disintegrates, so I don’t recommend things very much. Entropy swallows up fishing gear pretty quickly.

But the net holster from Smith Creek could, quite possibly, last a lifetime.

20160427_130821

Even as a troutbitten kid, I hated carrying a net. In my early years, though, I attempted to get with the program, and I tried all the popular ways of attaching them to the back of a vest or pack with carabiners, overpriced magnets, ropes, cords, and other tethers . . .

I once watched my Dad’s eyes widen in comical but terrible expectation as he winced for the inevitable blow from his landing net — stretched on its elastic cord and doubled in length with (painful) potential energy, the tension formed when the net stuck on a branch and Dad walked four feet ahead. Oh boy. Dad cringed as he tried to back up, but the branch snapped. Thump! I do hate being tethered to anything.

For many years I carried no net because I could find no good solution, and it just wasn’t worth the hassle. I tried tucking a net into my belt, but in just a few months, I could see a badly wearing spot (soon to be a leak) on my waders from what was an uncomfortable solution anyway. I gave that up too. Fishing with my sons is what changed me. Young boys need a place to inspect the fish they catch while keeping them wet, and so I finally needed a net. Fair enough.

What bothers me most about the traditional carrying solution is the weight of the net on my back. The constant pull of even a lightweight option just isn’t something that I want to get used to. Yes, I could balance the weight by adding even more gear to the front of my vest as a counterbalance, but the weight is still on the shoulders.

I also carry a liter of water hanging from a carabiner on my belt, and as any hiker knows, carried weight is much better on the hips than the shoulders. As I wrote in a recent post, I enjoy fishing full days more than anything, and keeping the shoulders light is one of the things that makes me comfortable.

When I bought the Smith Creek Net Holster, I honestly didn’t expect it would work so well. I thought the net would slip out. It doesn’t. The heavy duty nylon is adjustable with very sturdy Velcro — just adjust it so the net handle is snug and forget about it. I thought the net might be difficult to grab and to replace. It isn’t. In fact, it’s easier for me than any other carrying method. I expected by now that I would have lost the net, but I haven’t. It’s been two and a half years with the same net in the holster. And no tether.

Couple Tips

You need a sturdy belt. The flimsy, thin belts that are commonly provided with your waders won’t do. I’ve been using the same leather belt for fifteen years or more (I get attached to things), ever since I started carrying the liter of water.

On the metal frame of the net holster, the gap for threading the belt is two inches wide. If you use a narrower belt, the holster will canter from side to side because of the extra space. That’s irritating. I cut pieces of another rigid belt and taped them into the gap of the net holster frame because my belt is only one inch wide. That fills up the extra room and stops any side to side sagging of the net. It works, but you will find it easier to buy a simple, sturdy, nylon utility belt that’s two inches wide.

You can feel the handle on your rear end. It’s something you get used to after a few minutes. In fact, it’s how you know the net’s there. A few times, while hiking through the woods, the net has caught a tree limb and pulled up and out of the holster. I usually feel the absence of the handle immediately, so I turn around and pick up the net.

The net holster can be used with most packs and vests. At first glance, it would seem that the net needs to lie flat against your back, but that’s not the case. I wear a vest, and I often store extra layers, sandwiches and other necessities in the back pockets. The extra supplies push out the net hoop, but it’s not much of a problem. You just feel the handle more.

I’ve worn my Dad’s William and Joseph Confluence chest pack (the comp pack) just to see how it works with the net holster. It was fine. In fact, with the right sized net, part of the backpack fits inside the hoop, and the net still lies nearly flat, mounted in the holster.

The design of the Smith Creek Net Holster is bulletproof, as it should be. It’s metal and nylon webbing, not plastic and polyester. Well done, Smith Creek.

I’m not quite sure why the net holster isn’t a more popular solution. I’ve never seen anyone else with one, but I try to stay away from large populations of other fishermen anyway, so what do I know?

 

Enjoy the day.
Domenick Swentosky
T R O U T B I T T E N
domenick@troutbitten.com

Share This Article . . .

Since 2014 and 600 articles deep
Troutbitten is a free resource for all anglers
Your support is greatly appreciated

– Explore These Post Tags –

Domenick Swentosky

Central Pennsylvania

Hi. I’m a father of two young boys, a husband, author, fly fishing guide and a musician. I fish for wild brown trout in the cool limestone waters of Central Pennsylvania year round. This is my home, and I love it. Friends. Family. And the river.

More from this Category

You Already Fished That

You Already Fished That

If you’re committed to working a section of river, then once you’ve done your job in one lane, trust what the trout tell you. Don’t re-fish it, and don’t let the next cast drift down into the same spot again either. Sure the water looks good, and that’s why you fished it in the first place. But you’ve already covered it. So let it go, and focus on the next target. Trust the next opportunity . . .

Natural vs Attractive Presentations

Natural vs Attractive Presentations

. . . Let’s call it natural if the fly is doing something the trout are used to seeing. If the fly looks like what a trout watches day after day and hour after hour — if the fly is doing something expected — that’s a natural presentation.

By contrast, let’s call it attractive if the fly deviates from the expected norm. Like any other animal in the wild, trout know their environment. They understand what the aquatic insects and the baitfish around them are capable of. They know the habits of mayflies and midges, of caddis, stones, black nosed dace and sculpins. And just as an eagle realizes that a woodland rabbit will never fly, a trout knows that a sculpin cannot hover near the top of the water column with its nose into heavy current . . .

How To Be A More Accurate Fly Caster

How To Be A More Accurate Fly Caster

Only a small percentage of anglers have the necessary accuracy to tackle the tough situations. And big trout seem to know where to hide from average anglers.

In fact, accuracy is the most important skill an angler can learn. The simple ability to throw a fly in exactly the same place, over and over, with subtle, nuanced differences in the tippet each time, is the most valuable skill for any fisherman . . .

Trout Like To Line Up In Productive Seams

Trout Like To Line Up In Productive Seams

Trust the lanes. Trout choose them for a reason. And while it might not make sense to us why they pick one lane over the next, don’t argue with the fish. Wherever you fool a trout, expect to catch his friends in the very same lane. Follow that seam all the way to its beginnings, even if the character of that seam changes from deep to shallow or from slow to fast. Stay in the lane, and trust that more hungry trout are there, waiting to be fooled . . .

Reading Water — Every Rock Creates Five Seams

Reading Water — Every Rock Creates Five Seams

Downstream of every rock are three obvious seams: the left seam, right seam and the slower seam in the middle. That part is easy. But the most productive seams are more hidden, and many anglers seem to miss them altogether. These are the two merger seams, where each fast seam meets the slower part in the middle. And if I had to pick just one target area, day after day and season after season, I would surely choose the merger seams . . .

The Tight Line Advantage Across Fly Fishing Styles

The Tight Line Advantage Across Fly Fishing Styles

I first picked up fly fishing as a teenager, and I vividly remember the confusion. With time, I learned to cast the weight of the line rather than the weight of the lure, but I didn’t know what to do with the line after the cast. Sure, I learned about mending, but that never seemed to solve the problems at hand. Enter, tight lining concepts . . .

What do you think?

Be part of the Troutbitten community of ideas.
Be helpful. And be nice.

1 Comment

  1. Pretty good review Domenick. I was looking for these several months ago without knowing who made them. I saw someone wearing it and knew that it would probably work well for me. I couldn’t find them because I guess I used the wrong search term or something. Instead I found a plastic clip that screws to the net handle and slips onto the belt. The jury is still out but I think I’m going to order one from Smith Creek just to be on the safe side.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Articles

Domenick Swentosky

Central Pennsylvania

Hi. I’m a father of two young boys, a husband, author, fly fishing guide and a musician. I fish for wild brown trout in the cool limestone waters of Central Pennsylvania year round. This is my home, and I love it. Friends. Family. And the river.

Pin It on Pinterest