McLean Sea Trout and Specimen Weigh Net review

If you're looking for a large net for landing and weighing specimen trout then the McLean Sea Trout and Specimen Weigh Net is great.

McLean Sea Trout and Specimen Weigh Net review
© Fly and Lure
McLean Sea Trout and Specimen Weigh Net review
Picture copyright © Fly and Lure
McLean Sea Trout and Specimen Weigh Net review
Pike fly fishing Nets Estimated reading time 5 - 8 minutes

How big is the McLean Sea Trout and Specimen Weigh Net?

The McLean Sea Trout and Specimen Weigh Net is one of McLean's bigger nets. It's pear shaped with an opening of 25" and has a 40" handle, so it's big enough to land any decent sized trout you're likely to encounter at a stillwater fishery in the UK.

I'm not a salmon fisher, but I suspect it would also be adequate for most grilse too, although McLean do make larger nets in the same style for salmon anglers. I've had double figure pike in it without problems. While not as big as some pike nets, I reckon it's ideal for the roving lure angler or the pike fly angler too.

The mesh bag on this weigh net is very large and deep, so if you do catch something huge it's not easily going to be able to leap out and damage itself.

I used to use a Greys Scoop Net (shown). They're great, but not exactly practical when big fish are a possibility.

Is such a big net really necessary?

Generally, you could get away with a much smaller landing net, but my regular fishery Ellerdine Lakes stocks some very big fish which only just fit in an average sized net. 

The larger shape of this McLean Sea Trout and Specimen net means it can easily scoop up a double - and has done several times - so it's less likely I'll bump bigger fish off when netting them as has happened with the smaller net I used to use. 

How do you weigh fish using this net?

McLean have cleverly incorporated some spring balance scales into the handle of the net, which makes this ideal for catch and release fly fishers.

You can land and unhook your trout while it's still in the water, release the scales from the handle by pulling the release cord and then quickly lift up the handle and read off the weight.

The fish can be landed, unhooked and weighed and it only needs to be out of the water for a few seconds, which is great for fish welfare and means that trout go back quickly and without the need for as much recovery time as usual.

There's plenty of room inside to scoop up one of these.

How accurate are the scales?

I was surprised at how accurate the scales were. I checked mine a few times with various heavy objects of known weight and it was pretty much spot on, so I'm fairly sure it gives reasonably accurate estimates of fish weights.

The model I use weighs fish up to 50lb, which should be enough for most people in the UK. Indeed, you'd struggle to fit a fish that size inside the net, I would imagine. As it covers such a wide range of weights, it's not quite so easy to read off lower fish weights, though.

I think it's important to make sure you put the lid straight back on the scales after use to prevent any dirt or debris getting inside, as I would suspect this would prevent them from working as accurately in future.

What is the mesh made from?

The Sea Trout and Specimen Weigh net comes in two different versions, one with the larger more open knotless mesh commonly used in sea trout and salmon nets and one with a rubbery plastic coated mesh normally used in pike nets.

I went for the rubber coated McLean net as I think it's less damaging to the fish's protective mucus coating and it's also much less likely to snag hooks than the usual uncoated meshes. It also has the advantage that it just shakes off water and doesn't stay damp or smell, so my car doesn't stink.

Is it well made?

Yes, the McLean Sea Trout and Specimen Weigh net feels like a very good quality product. It's made from very sturdy bronze anodised aluminium and has a very strong handle. It always feels robust even with a big flapping double figure fish inside.

How do you carry it?

These larger McLean weigh nets include a built in carry strap, or peel sling as it's sometimes known. This connects to either end of the net and allows you to attach the net over your shoulder. It's actually fairly comfortable and ideal to use if you're wandering the banks stalking the  fish in the margins, but I'd not want to wear it all day.

There's a connector on the side that releases quickly. You can then press a small button half way up the net handle to release the handle and extend the net. I find placing my toes on the front edge of the net and pulling upwards is all it takes to do this, although I usually leave the netting of the fish to my little helper.

Are they hard wearing?

After nearly a year of regular use mine still looks fairly new. The heavy rains of late have turned the banks of my fishery into a quagmire so the net has been a bit muddy at times and some of this grit has caused the anodised coating to scratch off the handle after it got trapped inside, but it's just cosmetic and it still works brilliantly and doesn't look too bad.

Who are McLean and what other nets do they make?

McLean are a New Zealand fly fishing company who specialise in nets and net accessories for use in fresh and saltwater.

Quite a few of their models are aimed at trout fly fishing, which is hugely popular in New Zealand, and many of them incorporate scales in the handle so they're ideal for catch and release anglers who are very particular about their fish welfare.

Is there a downside?

Only the price! They're not exactly cheap, but they are very well made and will hopefully last me for a very long time, so hopefully that's money well spent. The McLean Specimen and Sea Trout Weight Net with rubberised mesh costs around £110.

If you're not bothered about the scales, there's also a cheaper version called the McLean Silver Series which is very similar, without the scales, which costs around £75.

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