Article - General

Making and renovating landing net handles.

By Dave, added on 26/07/2008

We live in an age of obsolescence and certainly there appears to be no desire amongst the majority of anglers to make or repair damaged items of kit. One of my friends frequently describes me as a miserly old scroat but I know that he, like me, derives huge satisfaction from recycling and renovation. That it saves a bit of money is a bonus.

Landing net handles are not high on the list of self-builds and repairs; after all there is a much greater “showing off” factor when one produces a clutch of hand crafted quill floats, a dozen nymph imitations or a meticulously constructed cane rod. Nonetheless, after the hook, line and rod have done their bit it is the landing net that gets the specimen fish safely onto the bank.

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My first landing net pole was made 50 years ago when I was still a lad. It comprised a beech dowel and a threaded brass ferrule plus coat or two of copal varnish. I still have it and luckily for me I still have a spare ferrule. Why lucky? Well, quite simply it saved my extending handle from the scrap heap. I’d had the handle for a long, long time. It is of tubular fibreglass and telescopes out to eight feet. At the net end there is a stubby brass threaded piece which is stepped down in diameter so that it slides inside the glass to be held in place by a rivet and a band of thin steel as reinforcement. The band developed a split, the rivet became loose and eventually the three parted company. I tried a repair with two-part epoxy adhesive but it was not robust enough and in the end I sawed it off and simply replaced it with the 50 year old spare ferrule. All I had to do was build up the glass a wee bit with some nylon thread, smear the whole lot in epoxy glue and that was it – job done. The ferrules appear on ebay from time to time but for all I know there may still be someone making them. Just make sure it has a 3/8 BSF 20 tpi thread. You can see the repaired handle, threaded ferrule and sawn off bit in the first photograph

Last year I made a photographic inventory of my tackle for insurance purposes and as one does, I came across half forgotten rods and reels. One rod in particular I felt could be put to better use – namely a new net pole. The rod was a 14 feet fibreglass Bruce and Walker CTM (Compound Taper Match). It cost me a lot of money in the 1970s but turned out to be a pig of a rod. My brother had the thirteen footer and that had quite a nice action but mine was a beast. And so, in a fit of pique, I stripped it of its hardware (nice agate centred butt and tip rings), sliced away half the cork handle and used that plus the mid section to make a two-piece eight feet net handle. With a bit of careful measuring, sawing and trial and not to many errors I managed to arrange things so that one piece fits snugly inside the other so that I can use it as both a four and an eight footer. A rubber “foot” bought in the local ironmongers fits snugly over the end of the butt so that the inner section cannot fall out and it also serves to stop the ingress of grit, grime and dirt. See 1st and 2nd from left in the first photograph and left side of second photograph.

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For the threaded bit I hacksawed off the top two inches from an old bankstick. I made up the diameter of the aluminium stub with coarse thread, smeared epoxy adhesive a couple of inches on to the inside wall of the thin end of the glass section and then slid the brass bit down the glass until it met the adhesive. I then had to tamp it all the way down using the topmost section of the B&W . Whatever you do, do not smear epoxy glue on the brass/aluminium component and then slide it down the glass blank because it will stick half way down.

My third net handle has been the easiest and quickest to make. A friend gave me the bottom section of an early carbon Daiwa carp rod. It had the usual abbreviated twin grips in classical cork rather than the modern black synthetic stuff. I chopped away the upper grip and fitted and glued in the threaded brass bit as previously described. Once the glue had set I sanded it all down to remove old varnish, logo and wisps of whipping thread and then gave it a coat of black Hammerite (smooth finish variety). When dry, I then rubbed it down with fine grade valve grinding paste to remove the shine and leave me with a smart satin finish. The grinding paste must be forty years’ old and is a left-over from my Morris Minor DIY engine decoke days. Motto: never throw anything away. No doubt very fine grade wet and dry paper will do just as well. This pole is shown in the centre of the first picture and on the right of the second photograph.

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I shall conclude by emphasising the need to take care when landing even quite modestly sized fish. Slide the netted specimen across the water and the ease it up the bank and/or grasp the net frame to lift the fish. To do otherwise places a huge stress at the point where the brass piece is bonded to the pole. As an added insurance it is important to put an inch or two of nylon whipping thread at this junction.

My next job should be a smart split cane handle to accompany me on fly fishing forays. If anyone has the fat end of an old Barder or B James they don’t want please do let me know.

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