When you make a living landing fish, a quality landing net is important, and this past season at Alaska West we had the privilege of trying out one of the more unique net designs we’ve seen – A net currently being produced by a fresh new company called GoDolly landing nets.
GoDolly is the brainchild of Eric Inglis, an angler and guide from Michigan, who spends his summers guiding in bush, Alaska. His nets are a product of many years of guiding on Alaskan rivers (something we really appreciate). We spent a lot of time with medium model and found it to be super useful for the majority of our species on our river, so today we thought we’d tell you about it.
GoDolly landing nets are built in two major parts, namely the shaft and the net hoop. The shaft is constructed from a strong, lightweight, composite hockey stick shaft. This clever use of material is one of GoDolly’s trademarks. Not only does it make for a strong yet lightweight handle, we found the shape of the shaft to be surprisingly useful. Unlike most round net handles, with a rectangular cross section, the square grip makes it easy for one to keep the correct orientation of the net opening to your target at all times. The shaft, measuring in at 36”, is at home in the boat or on the bank, and an easy-to-read ruler is printed on both sides of the shaft, making it easy for anglers to measure their quarry before releasing it.
The net hoop is another element of GoDolly products that make these nets unique. The hoop is made from one single length of bent aluminum tubing with a rough opening of 22 by 18 inches in diameter. However, the shape of the hoop is what we feel sets it apart. When viewed from the side (see photo below), you’ll notice that the hoop is not a flat two dimensional shape, but instead is bent into a spoon like shape, or to borrow some technical jargon from the ski industry, a ‘reverse camber.’ This gives the net additional strength in heavy current, along with a smoother ‘stab’ when netting fish.
The net hoop is fastened to the shaft via two phillips head screws. Here in lies one of our favorite features about this model – packability. One is able to break the net down into two separate pieces for easy travel or transport, as well as reassemble (or even repair) with basic hardware (something that’s really nice in the bush). Considering the size of the net when assembled, this feature is really helpful.
We’ve even successfully carried the net on the airplane on more than one occasion. The recipe to do this is as follows; break the net down into two pieces keep the shaft in a spey rod length rod tube (which should fit nicely into the overhead compartment) and buckle the net hoop onto your backpack/carry-on. Simple.
The net bag itself is made from a lightweight transparent rubber that cuts through the water better than some heavier models, is gentle on fish, and is super easy to change as well.
The word that comes to mind when we think of this net is, versatility. That can be a tough thing to find in a net considering the wide variety of fishing we do at Alaska West. From our experience, this net did the job of two nets, a salmon/steelhead sized net and a classic trout net. Wether netting an angry chrome coho over the gunwale of a jet boat, or bagging an 18 inch rainbow up a back channel, this net was at home.
While at first glance the net seemed most useful in the boat, its packability for long hikes and traveling make us believe that it would preform exceptionally on any trout, salmon, or steelhead fishery.
The classic downside to any tool that claims to ‘do it all’ is that it doesn’t do any one thing particularly well. While one could make that argument about this net, we believe the benefits outweigh any lack of exact specialization. If you’re an angler who fishes strictly on foot for trout or other species averaging under eighteen or so inches, we might not recommend the medium model for you as it would likely be a bit cumbersome. However, if you’re looking for a net for larger resident trout, steelhead, or most salmon (with the exception of adult king salmon), we think the medium GoDolly net is hard to beat.
GoDolly nets are offered in three different sizes – Small, Medium, and Large to handle a wide range of species and will be available soon at GoDolly.net or purchased directly by contacting Eric Inglis at firstname.lastname@example.org.