The use of keepnets on fisheries is a contentious issue with strong points for and against their use. Even when a fishery permits the use of keepnets the angler always has the choice to use them or not as some will do so every time they go fishing and some anglers simply don’t feel the need. for those that do like keepnets they can add to the overall fishing experience as at the end of a good fishing session the captor gets to see the amount, weight & different species of fish he has caught and even have a nice catch photograph taken.

From a fishery point of view keepnets can bring severe problems to the fishery and fish stocks. As a fishery we understand some anglers want to use keepnets on our venue and we allowed their use until the summer of 2016 when the disease (KHV) Koi Herpes Virus was detected by the EA in a local park lake. Due to this we had to make the decision to ban all keepnet use other than our own fishery supplied nets. We hope after reading this article you can hopefully understand the reasons why our rules are important to the fishery and the future of your angling.

The potential spread of disease from one fishery to another is a high risk and although the use of net dip tanks are used by some fisheries the fact is unless the nets are submerged in the solution for at least 15 minutes any bacteria or disease is not killed off. further to this the solution nets are dipped in is actually toxic to fish so after submersion nets should be thoroughly washed in clean water before going near a lake. I dare say there will be some fisheries out there that do use tanks correctly but In my many years of angling I have witnessed these dip tanks in operation on various fisheries and not once have I seen them used correctly with every fishery having the solution tank only and no clean water tank or instructions for their use. As an Angler you quickly dip your nets and assume all is good and why shouldn’t you believe so, after all you are simply following the rules stated. The easiest and safest way to ensure your nets are disease free is to ensure they are thoroughly fully dried before they enter the water. Most experienced anglers will lay their nets out to dry at home but even when you get to the bank with a dry net it should still be laid out on the bank whilst you set up. nets should only be placed into the water just before you start fishing and only when fully dry as bacteria is killed by ultra violet rays from sunlight and even natural light if not lit up by the sun will kill bacteria.

Keepnet mesh design has come a long way over the years and I cringe at the thought of the damage the old knotted nets did to fish years ago by removing the protective slime from fish, the larger woven mesh nets that followed although were a big improvement are not kind to carp as this species have a tiny barb on the dorsal fin which can hook through wide mesh nets causing the carp to hang from the net resulting in damage to the dorsal fin. then came micro mesh which is a very good fish friendly net and prevents problems arising from older type nets. I still remember buying my first micro mesh keepnet as a youth and these have now developed further into an even better carp friendly micro mesh net with an even tighter woven mesh and very soft material which is even quick drying so make the perfect net as risk of damaged scales & fins is greatly reduced from the more outdated large mesh type nets, Despite the quality of modern carp friendly nets some inexperienced and even experienced anglers who use keepnets do not know how to correctly remove the net to release the fish, simply rolling the fish up the net from bottom to top is NOT good practice and can harm fish, The correct procedure should be to fold the top rings of the net down over whilst still in the water until the bottom third ring is at the top and you will then notice most carp friendly nets have carry handles at this 3rd ring to aid in lifting the net out of the water to release the fish. This stops fish being harmed by rolling them through the whole net. Despite the improvement in net design and materials used all fish can suffer added stress & lack of oxygen if a good head are held over long periods especially in hot weather which is something we as a fishery will be monitoring and if needed will adjust rules for fish safety.

© Ste Alford Carp Fisheries