I’ve been out perfecting my cast quite a few times in the last few months as the weather turned cool. It’s quite a cathartic moment throwing the delicate fly out to be struck by a hungry trout. While the majority of fly fishing gear is intensely complicated and time consuming to construct, a sturdy landing net can be constructed with moderate skills in a weekend and will stand up to years of abuse. Construct it of high quality materials, and it can turn into a generational gift for decades of treasured use. The folks at Prestonmade believe that a picture can tell a thousand words, so they left out the description completely on their tutorial for building a heirloom fly fishing net.
Basically, the frame of the net is made up of strips of wood cut and bent around a template to laminate a strong and durable body. It is then fit with a strong handle and then shaped, slotted, drilled and fit for a net. The most difficult part of this project is constructing a template that is balanced and sized appropriately, and laminating the wood without splintering it.
It’s important to keep in mind the type of fish you plan to use this for and build accordingly. Be careful not to build a net that you won’t use because it’s too small for the fish, or too big to keep close when out slinging line. My favorite type of net material is the poly clearview netting because it significantly reduces the stress on the fish compared to nylon netting, and also is clear in the water to reduce spooking and makes release a lot less of a traumatic experience for the fish.