I love my medium Measure Net. It’s the perfect tenkara landing net aside from one thing—it’s not packable. I’m gearing up for a weeklong backpacking and fishing trip in a week or so, and I wanted a net that was not only lighter than by beloved Measure Net but that also could pack down to keep the overall bulk of my backpack to a minimum.
So I bought a Handy Pak Net, which is a net that folds up into a little pouch. I got the cheapest one, which has a plastic handle with vinyl pouch. I opted for the shallow catch and release netting, which is basically just a standard-looking nylon mesh.
I took the net out last fall a few times and instantly hated it. Mostly I just hated that nylon mesh. Fish fins and teeth got caught in it constantly. Not fun for the fish, for sure, but also not fun for me to try untangling the thing. I removed the nylon mesh (easy to do; you just need a screwdriver) and installed a medium Measure Net nylon (non-rubberized) bag. (I opted out of getting rubber for this net because I wanted it to be as light and un-bulky as possible.) The mesh on the Measure Net bag is much finer and just seemingly of much higher quality than the one that comes with the Handy Pak Net, and it’s waaaay better. It’ll occasionally snag on a trout’s teeth, but in that respect it is infinitely better than the original netting.
The Handy Pak Net still does have another issue, however. The bendy spring steel that forms the hoop/rim of the net can collapse when trying to net a fish in shallow or fast-moving water. This has almost cost me fish, and it’s annoying. Still, for what I use it for (multi-backpacking and also very brushy creeks with lots of bushwhacking, where I would get tired of my main Measure Net getting snagged), I think it’s a good compromise.
The final thing I did to make the Handy Pak Net my own was to tie a loop of very thin cord through the hole at the butt of the handle and then clip a very light plastic coil leash/tether to it. My modified net with its key ring, carabiner, and tether weighs 6.7 oz.
I also modified the green vinyl pouch that comes with the Handy Pak Net. The pouch just has slits in it that you are supposed to put a belt through, but I found this obnoxious to do on my belt and impossible to do with the fanny pack/hip pack I often wear fishing. So I sewed a little harness for it that lets me simply snap a couple of buttons to secure the webbing straps around the belt. Works great.