Frabill nets are one of the best values in fly fishing in my opinion. I’ve been using Model 3673 (17″ x 22″) for a few years now. For just a bit more than $20, no other piece of equipment has delivered as much bang for the buck. My only complaint is the large hoop size makes all of my 20″ fish look small….
I also use a long-handled Fishpond for certain applications, but the Frabill gets the most use by far. The fine rubberized mesh of the Frabill provides a really nice, unobtrusive backdrop for fish photos. I generally keep my fish in the net. I find that, with the Fishpond, the larger rubberized mesh is a bit problematic due to its size and white/clear color. The Frabill mesh is far less noticeable.
Take a look at the comparison photos for an example of the two net materials:
You can see in the photo of the rainbow trout on the top that the Fishpond net material is a pronounced white color which, to my eye, competes with the subject of the photo. Conversely, the Frabill net on the bottom blends into the backdrop and even creates a vignette effect that highlights the subject of the photo.
There’s not much room for improvement with this net, but when I replaced my original one earlier this year, I decided to add a customized grip to the handle, using cork tape and heat shrink tubing in the same manner that I use to build grip sections on surf rods.
In the surf fishing world, this is often referred to as a “Paco grip.” The cork tape gets wrapped in a spiral pattern along the handle and secured at both ends with a few wraps of electrical tape before covering it all with the shrink tubing to finish off the grip. I find the result to provide a better feel in the hand.
Here’s a quick run down of the simple materials:
- Cork tape for rod building (1″ wide x 1/8″ thick) – but any grip tape of similar dimensions will work.
- 2.5″ heat shrink tubing. This can get expensive. Sshop around online or, better yet, visit an electrical supply store that will sell a short length from a spool.
- Electrical tape to secure the spiral ends of the cork tape.
- Heat gun.
I wouldn’t consider this an essential upgrade, just a fun project with materials I happened to have on hand as a custom rod builder. However I do enjoy the feel of the new grip and would recommend it as a project to anyone inclined to improve the handle on their Frabill.
- Tight lines.