Racquetball anyone? This trout net’s no keeper | AspenTimes.com

Racquetball anyone? This trout net’s no keeper

Janet Urquhart

Erin M. Cady/Aspen Times Weekly

I have an $80 trout net. I bought it for $30 from a fly shop in Telluride that was anxious to unload what turned out to be the albatross of merchandise.The shopkeeper referred to it as the racquet of nets. With its unusual shape, fiberglass frame and rubber grip, it does have the look and feel of something one might take to the racquetball court instead of the nearest stream. On the other hand, trout nets – in fact, fly-fishing equipment in general – is something of a racket. The price of a handsome, wood-frame net can elicit a gasp not unlike that produced by an inadvertent plunge into ice-cold water.I had one of those nice nets. It was a Christmas gift that I lost in a tangle of brush alongside a stream. I was thrashing through an impenetrable thicket in a most ungraceful fashion when, unbeknownst to me, the tangle of brush ripped my net from its Velcro attachment to my vest.I discovered the loss much too late to retrieve it.In netless desperation, I plunked down cash for a cheap substitute – the racquet net – reasoning I’d rather look stupid with that ugly net than lose a big fish. I also acquired a worthy accouterment – a magnetic device to keep the net affixed to my vest.The magnet is amazingly powerful. I swear, I could keep that net dangling off my license plate on the interstate with it.The net, on the other hand, is a huge disappointment. When I dipped it into the river to help a friend land a trout, I discovered I couldn’t move it against the current – at all. It was impossible to dip the net up underneath the trout and pluck it from the water.Unfortunately, I’ll never lose it with that magnet thingy.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com