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It Is In The Bag!
By Sam Anderson

Perhaps the most frustrating experience on the water is losing a good walleye next to the boat.  This happens more often than anglers are willing to admit.  I believe that this problem can be corrected.  The two-fold key to landing more fish is to increase hooking ratios and to practice proper execution at boatside.  You might be amazed even veteran anglers disregard some simple tips and continue to lose fish.  You have probably seen some fisherman on T.V. go overboard setting the hook.  Some even set the hook two or three times.
It might look good but it won't add more fish to the livewell.  The common term "setting the hook" is really a misnomer.  If you don't believe me try rehooking a fish with you hands.  It's not easy.  Actually the fish sets the hook, not you.  Instead of "driving" a hook into the lip of a walleye try "lifting" the fish off the bottom with your rod.  What you want to do is excite the fish to produce a head shake.  In so doing, it opens its mouth to exhale the foreign object.  That critical head shake is what buries the barb into the tough tissue, not that macho rod ripping hookset. 
A fish thrashing on the surface can also be a problem.  Try to keep the fish underwater until you are ready to net the fish. Most walleye fisherman know that netting a fish head first is the only way to go.  The angler leads the fish toward the net as the netter scoops it up.  If you discuss landing techniques ahead of time you will have more success.  Just as important, is communication. Netting the fish takes teamwork and no one is a mind-reader.
Also, make sure you are familiar with the net itself. Look at the handle and see if it is extended all the way to make sure that you can reach the fish during the action.  What type of net do you have?  You have probably seen the cloth nets that have large holes in them to land trophy northern pike, but will they do the job on a 1 1/2 lb. walleye?  Probably not!  Match your type of net with the type of fish that you are after.  Nothing is more frustrating than to have a large fish slip through your net or lie in the bottom of the rubber net like some over active pancake.  

Beckman Nets 
Now on Sale 
Click here to order
I prefer a Beckman net that is nylon coated with rubber.  This net allows me the tangle free operation of a rubber net, yet the capacity and the depth of a cloth or nylon net.  This net has caught many a fish that would have been lost to more conventional nets.
No one can avoid losing a few fish.  But these pointers should cut down the loss column appreciably, forcing you to come up with other alibis for coming home empty-handed.  For more information about Beckman nets contact me at www.samanderson.com.  Hope to hear from you soon!

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