You’ll want to make sure you have a net with a long handle, or at least a telescoping one that can extend to at least six or seven feet. A telescoping handle is preferred by many pros because it can be shortened or lengthened to accommodate the fishing style you’re using. For instance,  you can use the shorter length if the fish comes real close to the boat, or go full length if you’re trolling. Having options is a nice bonus on the water.

Communication is key when you’re fishing with a partner who may be netting your fish when you hook one. Before you even hit the water, make sure you communicate with your partner that there are two rules to netting: if one of you yells, “Get it,” the other drops their rod and grabs the net, and as soon as the fish is nose up in range of the net, try to net it. If you should miss the fish with the net, pull the net back in and start over. It’s not a good idea to move the net around underwater, trying to chase the fish as it fights on the line. However, whoever is on the rod is responsible for keeping the fish on, even if the netter misses or the fish makes a sudden dive.

When it comes to actually netting the fish, try to drive the net under the fish. Then, once it’s under, lift the net’s bag straight up. The angler fighting the fish on their line needs to keep pressure on the fish and hold the bass at the surface during this process. Lowering your rod tip gives the fish slack to jump or shake and can also cause you to jab the fish with the tip of the rod when the net is raised. Once netted, quickly pull the fish into the boat by bringing in the net hand-over-hand, like pulling a length of rope, rather than swinging the net high into the boat.

When the tournament’s on the line, you want to get your fish netted and into the boat quickly. The longer it’s allowed to fight on the end of your line, the better the chances are for it to shake itself free. The tips outlined today will help should you find yourself fishing a tourney with a partner anytime soon. Keep them in mind and you just might go home with a trophy.