Tuesday, October 11, 2011

PRODUCT REVIEW - Leverage Landing Net (BC-1900 model)

First of all - thank you HOOK 1 and the KBF Christmas in July contest. I was fortunate enough to win a prize or two, most notably - the new Leverage Landing Net BC-1900 model.

Now for the scoop.

The good.........
An innovative design concept that is long overdue. The net itself is fairly easy to use and provides the proper leverage for hoisting a fish out of the water and into your kayak. It is lightweight relative to its overall size and with the long handle design affords the angler some additional length for netting a fish before it gets to the kayak and gets spooked further, possibly throwing the hook resulting in a lost fish.

Now for the less than optimal (note I didn't say bad :D :D ).........
Storing the net is fairly straight forward albeit not as seamless as I had hoped. There are some considerations alluded to below one must take into account before opting for this style of net.

Most notably, the design incorporates an extended handle for storing the net in a rod holder when not in use. This design assumes that the angler has a rod holder to use exclusively for the net. For me, this feature is a challenge on my current kayak. I do not have the traditional angled flush mount rod holders seen on many kayaks these days. I only have the tubes on my milk crate. Storing the net in one of those holders when the crate is stored in the traditional fore or aft position is not practical if you are carrying more than one rod, because the net will get foul hooked on any hooks nearby whether they are swinging freely or secured to the rod. To overcome this small inconvenience in the short term, I simply store the net in the rear tank well.

For the long term, I can solve the rod holder challenge using a two step process. First, I turn my milk crate so that the rod holders are all of the left side of the kayak. I normally use just the rod holders for my rods, but I can also use my two adjustable Scotty rod holders I have installed using the flush mount bases and lay my rods in a horizontal plane. This would facilitate placing the LLN in the rear rod holder farthest away from the rods and where the hooks of the lures are stored.

Second, the next item that is more of recommendation than actual complaint is when the net is folded for storage. You need to unhook the securing strap that keeps the net in an open state in order to take advantage of the compact storage design. Not a real deal breaker for me, but nevertheless, it is does require two hands the first few times until the firm rubber strap becomes pliable enough to slip over the securing post freely using one hand. Its difficult to wrangle a fish to the kayak with one hand while you are attempting to retrieve the net from the rear tank well and secure the initially rigid strap with your other hand.

By the end of a 3-day fishing weekend, the strap was starting to become easier to manage. Like I said, not a deal breaker, just an observation and potential area of improvement moving forward. Fortunately, the designers included an extra strap in the event the original one ever breaks or is lost.

My third concern is only applicable when the net is stored in its intended folded state. While folded, the net has a tendency to gather at the hinge point. When this happens, the ability to open the net and lock it into position is compromised, because the net gets snagged and prevents a full opening sequence. Here in lies the issue like noted before. When you are fighting a fish with one hand and having to fight with the net opening and then securing the strap with the other hand, it does make it kind of difficult and challenging.

I solved both situations by storing the net in the open position with the strap secured both the shaft was folded. I then simply laid the net in the rear tank well under the furthermost rear bungee. When I needed the net, I turned slightly and reached for the handle. I then slipped it out from under the bungee and deployed the basket of the net and locked the shaft into position.

On a side note, I found another excellent use for the net. While my son and I were at the launch preparing to load up and leave, a gentleman was hand lining for crabs using chicken legs. In order to catch these crabs, you need to be able to scoop them up as the line is lifted from the water. The challenge here is that the crab usually sees you first and lets go before you can scoop them up. Not a problem.

The Leverage Landing Net saved the day and helped the older gentleman net 12 or 13 nice crabs for dinner. With the LLN, I was able to place the net in the water first, lift the lines and place the net under the crab before ever getting them to the surface. Once the net was under the crabs, they simply dropped right into the net.

Herein also lies another feature that is a nice feature. The net material is very sturdy and can stand up to the rigors of different feisty water creatures. In the last couple of weeks, the net has been used on bass, crappie, chain pickerel, catfish, speckled trout, flounder, striped bass and now blue crabs!!

Overall impressions are that the Leverage Landing Net is an A+ product in my opinion - only a couple of minor concerns based upon an individual kayak anglers preferred rigging setup, not necessarily 100% attributable to the design of the net. Nevertheless, these items should be taken into account relative to your own kayak rigging options if you are considering purchasing one for yourself.

Again, thanks to the folks at Leverage Landing Net for catering one of its products to the kayak angler world. And to HOOK 1 and the KBF Christmas in July Prize giveaways. I am very pleased with my Leverage Landing Net and look forward to using it often!!

You should add one to your kayak arsenal of accessories as well.  You can find them at HOOK1.

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