MY FIRST encounter with Environets came during my first visit to a BASS tournament at Somerset Dam, a couple of years ago. The concept of avoiding unnecessary scale and protective slime loss by the use of fine ‘environmentally friendly’ netting was something that immediately caught my attention.
When I found out that Environets were also being made in a super size suitable for northern applications, I didn’t hesitate to buy one. Guides release large numbers of fish, and it’s very important to us that those fish are returned in the best possible condition.
The mega-sized Environets feature the strongest framing I’ve ever seen on the extra large nets we prefer. This is a definite advantage when it comes to durability but possibly a slight problem when actually wielding the net. The small mesh net was attached to the frame via large stainless steel press studs, making the replacement of the net a simple process when the time came.
My guide partner Josh and I have been using Environets since the start of our 2004 season in March, and after over 100 days of constant use per net, they have weathered the ordeal with minimal signs of wear. While the extra weight and wind resistance of the nets is noticeable, their durability, lack of tangling and large size far outweigh this slight inconvenience.
The nets have handled barramundi to over the metre mark and queenfish even longer, as well as accommodating trevally and cobia to over 20kg. Photographing and releasing large fish is a breeze now that we don’t have to repeatedly disentangle struggling fish and lures wrapped in fish-damaging mesh.
Provided hook barbs are crushed, lures are easy to extract from the Environet with minimal damage to the mesh. Fish can be easily lifted out at any time, no matter how much they thrash about. Mackerel, which have a habit of chopping great holes in conventional mesh, don’t seem to be able to get their teeth into the small mesh of the Environet.
Another great innovation is the strap attached to the bottom of the net, which allows the user to pull the net flat and the fish to be brought aboard laying on the taut net with minimal body-net contact. A wet rag may then be thrown over the fish and the release executed with as little harm as possible to the animal.
The barra style Environet costs more than its ‘regular’ counterparts but its durability alone makes up for the price difference. When you also take into account the condition of the fish coming out of the net, its value-for-money index goes off the scale.
In my opinion, any angler who’s concerned for the future of our sport can’t afford to be without an Environet! There is really no excuse not to carry one on your boat, be your quarry bass or barra.