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Check out these barbel spoon nets...
Dragon Carp Barbus
76 cm (L) x 69 cm (W) frame will cope with the biggest fish and folds at the front and spreader for a compact size for easy transport and storage. Relatively small mesh size is not ideal for reducing underwater drag, but is fish (though not hook) friendly. Two-part spreader is tough and reliable, but double screw anchoring of the hinged frame front has some wobble and will require regular checking and tightening to ensure integrity. Drop of 74 cm is adequate for temporary fish retention. Supplied with a strong, extending 2 m handle. For a tenner it is ideal for the budget-conscious barbel fisher.
Abu Garcia Specialist Folding Net
Folding frame allows quick breakdown for compact transport, but the 80 cm (L) x 80 cm (W) frame is not ideally shaped for barbel and the front drawcord is a potential liability in weed, but it’s plenty big enough for doubles and specimen fish of most species. The Angling Foundation approved mesh is fish-friendly, sized for reasonable underwater manoeuvrability and there’s a 78 cm drop for resting fish. Tough spreader block with mesh-securing ring.
Wychwood Specimen Quickfold
Dual-sized, shake-dry mesh a good compromise for fish safety and underwater manoeuvrability and helps reduce hook snagging. In addition, neat mesh and spreader magnets allow slack mesh to be kept tidy and away from obstructions; drop of 90 cm is perfect for safe short-term retention. 76 cm (L) x 68 cm (W) take-apart frame folds to give a small transport and storage footprint at the expense of a soft drawcord. Strong and secure spreader.
Gardner Barbel/Specialist Pan Net
At 88 cm (L) x 61 cm (W) the frame is the ‘perfect teardrop’ shape for big barbel but will also swallow up most specimen fish, including 20 lb-plus pike and carp. Brilliant frame strength and solid spreader construction combine with a good, fish and hook friendly free-flow mesh to allow for easy handling in weed and fast water, and the drop of 70 cm is ideal for temporary housing of netted fish in a safe environment.
Greys Free Flow Specialist Net
Super-strong alloy frame and a well-sized free-flow mesh produce a net ideal for pushing through weed and water without buckling or incurring excess underwater drag. 76 cm (L) x 64 cm (W) frame is perfect for all barbel and will also deal comfortably with carp to 30 lb-plus, with a drop of 95 cm affording very comfortable resting of fish before weighing and photographing. Tough spreader with double screw anchors resist wearing loose and long-term ‘wobble’.
Korum Barbel/Specimen Spoon
80 cm (L) x 68 cm (W) super-strong frame is built to last, will cope with huge barbel, carp to 30 lb plus, big pike and all specimens, and the machined aluminium block at the base is tough and secure. Free-flow mesh ideal for reducing underwater drag, even in strong currents, and latex coating enhances fish safety, reduces the chance of hook -ups and gives a low odour, quick-dry net, reducing the need for a stink bag. Only minor criticism is that the 60 cm drop is a little on the short side for resting big fish.
NOTE: All products tested December 2012.
Running from 1964 until 2020, Angler's Mail was the UK's leading weekly magazine devoted to coarse fishing, telling readers everything they needed to know about which fish to catch, where to catch them, and what kit they needed to do it. Now, loads of the magazine's expert advice can be found on Advnture.com, as a helpful resource for angling newcomers and experts alike.