Grande Ronde Review - By. Patrick R.
2011 Review Provided
Patrick Robinson Of
Outfitters & Fly Bum Media Productions
newer Fisknat Steelhead net models. At that time, I don’t think it had an
official name, but now is known as the Grande Ronde. For the safe of this
review, I will break my observations into categories to better help those
researching the product produced by Bob and Shannan at Fisknat. In addition, please understand that I am not going to offer a lot of filler. You won’t read
what it is made of and about its sleek clean lines because you can see all of
this simply by visiting their website. I will say this about the net though… if
you are looking for a piece of eye candy, or something that will look good on
the water and in photos, Fisknat nets represent quality craftsmanship and
beauty. With that said, please allow me to share with you my unbiased field test results of a made in America piece of fishing gear that can accompany you for many years wherever you may find yourself on the water.
After a few conversations with Bob, I knew the net I was to
receive was big, but I must admit I was a little taken back by the size of the
package that arrived at my home. Nevertheless, I opened it with excitement to
see the piece of craftsmanship inside and was initially impressed by what I
found. Upon pulling the net out of the box my initial though was something
along the line of, “WOW, this thing is HUGE!” Never before had I seen a hand
crafted wooden net with such impressive size! With a bow of 20” x 30”, a handle
length of 36”, and a total length of 66” you now know why it got the name
Grande Ronde! Regardless of my first impression and its impressive size, I must
say that when I put it in hand for the first time, it was a great feeling
piece! Not only did it feel good in the hand (proper proportions, well
balanced), but it was a beautiful piece of artistry that was sure to catch the
eye of anyone passing you buy. Couple that with the fact that I am also a
freelance photographer and take photos of my clients very serious. This would
be a gorgeous piece to have in the shorts. Overall, you could say that my first
impression was, “WOW, now that’s a
I think it should be noted at this time that Fisknat has
categorized the Grande Ronde as a boat net. While I believe this must be the
ultimate wooden net for a boat netting big steelhead and other large gamefish,
it needs to be noted that this net was not tested from a boat during my season
of testing. Instead, it was tested
in a bit more abusive atmosphere and is found to work just as well outside the
boat. I help operate the largest
fly – fishing guide service on the southern shore of Lake Erie where our target
species is Steelhead. Unlike other
areas in the Great Lakes, most of our streams are best fished by walk and wade
techniques as opposed to floating.
With that in mind, we must carry our nets with us along with rods, reels,
lunches and things of this sort. I
will say from experience that it is nice to have a net with a big
bow, deep bag, and a considerable reach. Those characteristics can often mean
the difference between a successfully landed fish or the frustration that
results from that one extra run that broke your client off.
This net encompasses all of those things making it a lean, mean, fishing
grabbing machine! I also must say
that while this net seemed big in the confines of my home, it was absolutely
perfect on the stream for what I do day in and day out!
I have always carried my net in hand while guiding and this net was to be
treated the same. Without
question, this net has been the best net I have used to date… not to mention the
most beautiful! As for the
construction, I will say that it is an exceptional piece and is capable of
copious amounts of abuse! I have broken more nets than you can imagine in my
guide career and most were made of metal.
I have snapped net bows on the stab by striking rocks on the bottom of
the river in the heat of the moment; I have broken handles and bows on the lift,
and had them snap after being stepped on by clients.
I am happy to say that I have duplicated all of these scenarios with this
net and it has survived all such incidences in a years’ worth of guiding! One of the best attributes of this net
is its new reinforced handle. I
believe that this attention to detail is the backbone and strength of this
net. The strength of this net is awesome having held multiple doubles
at one time (all fishing being between 25---30” in length).
That is at times between fifteen and twenty pound of fish at times and
this net handles it well! Although
I am extremely happy and impressed with the performance of
this net, there is one thing that some may not like about the Grande Ronde, and
that is size. If you are the kind
of person not wanting to carry the net by hand, then a smaller net may be a
better option. I personally hope to get some time with Fisknat’s San Juan Guide
net or the Guide Pontoon net for this exact reason as I believe a direct
comparison will be very healthy for those who cross over from floating to wading
with any kind of frequency. As
with any sport, there are personal preferences and nets are no different. That
being the case, I want to keep the focus squarely on what this net is, what it
is designed for and how it can be used, and give it a score based on the use and
abuse personally witnessed. My
understanding is that this is a Steelhead net (or similar size of species). It was designed to handle the beating
that netting fish like this can bring and allow you to net them with relative
ease. It is proven that this net
is just as much at home both in the boat and out.
Under those pretenses, I would give this net an overall review score of 9
out of a possible 10, making it a piece of gear I would forthrightly recommend
to other anglers!
*Strong build, reinforced handle
*Great reach due to long handle
*Durable enough to take serious
*Size well suited for boats
*Deep rubber bag that is hook/fish
*Beautfiul craftsmanship and artistry
*Made in the U.S.A.
*Very large net: Can make hand carrying undesirable. If this is a concern, a smaller model may be worth looking into.
*Price can be a deterrent. However due to the high level of craftsmanship, artistry, and strength, coupled with “Made in USA,” it is well worth the investment.
In closing, any angler who fishes for any length of time recognizes the need for a net that fits their scenario and target species. Fisknat has a selection of nets that fits just about any scenario and based on my opinion should be considered a top—notch, high quality company focusing on hand crafted nets marked by strong functionality and a touch of artistry! I highly recommend Fisknat nets based on one year of hardcore field—testing abuse. In my opinion, “Fisknat is where it’s at!”
Patrick “Flybum” Robinson
Head Guide - Steelhead Alley Outfitters
Owner/ Operator - Flybum Media Productions
purpose of this review. It did not make any compensation for this unbiased
review and has no obligation to nor does it have any further business dealings
with Patrick Robinson, Steelhead Alley Outfitter, or Flybum Media Productions at
the time of this review.