Customizing a Net

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For some time I’ve been contemplating a landing net upgrade.  Specifically, I’ve been aspiring for a net to meet my needs on the Delaware River System.  It should be long and wide enough to capably land up to 2′ long browns.  It has to be portable and comfortably hang off the back of my chest pack, or vest.  As important, it should lend a sense of style and craftsmanship that matches the character of the West Branch, East Branch and Main Stem of the Delaware.  A wild fishery with such superb, technical dry fly angling, quality nymphing and streamer intercepting denizens merits a cool net.

IMG_4892After meeting Leif Mermagen of Streamwalker Nets several years back, it was natural to think about net possibilities.  Leif is a practical, creative and industrious local angler who started tinkering with nets years ago.  Several years back, he started a quality net company.  He uses locally sourced hardwoods, completes the work himself and has set up shop off of East Main Street, in downtown Rochester.  His nets are hand built with a solid Curly Maple handle and Black Walnut strips.  The wood is steam bent and laminated together.  Leif uses anywhere from 3 to 7 laminations depending on the size of the hoop and the length of the handle. Once the glue-up is complete, each net is planed, shaped, and sanded. He finishes each net off with a sensible ghost net, a tasteful Streamwalker logo burned into the handle and then hand rubs several coats of oil finish.  They are beautiful nets and a worthy investment.

IMG_4902Recently, I met Leif at his wood shop in downtown.  He showed me a prototype that he’s experimenting with for the Delaware River System.  The dimensions differ from his current lineup and it looks to be a promising net.  I can’t wait to give it a try  If you’re in the market for a landing net, or want to treat yourself to a quality, handcrafted product from the area, then give Leif Mermagen with Streamwalker Nets a shout.  He’s got a great lineup of nets to fish for tiny creek brookies to large salmon.  He will also customize nets, upon request.  I also took a few pictures of his shop to give an idea about how/what he’s creating.  It’s neat to see his business growing and Leif’s easy to work with.  He’s one of many, talented, making a difference anglers in this Upstate New York region.  Happy Spring, tight lines and may your landing net be well used this season.

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Craig Dennison

This is Craig and I host Fly Fisher's Workshop. My fly fishing experiences include plenty of travel (Montana/Florida/North Carolina/Maine) and a few years part time guiding for trout. While I primarily target trout and steelhead, I still manage to chase warm water species and enjoy chasing stripers and bluefish. I'm a 3rd generation fly fisher trying to share the passion with my two sons!

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