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Tested by IAN WELCH


DRAGON CARP BARBUS

£10
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.
SCORE: 20/30


ABU GARCIA SPECIALIST FOLDING NET

£14.99
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.
SCORE: 21/30


WYCHWOOD SPECIMEN QUICKFOLD

£24.99
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.
SCORE: 26/30


GARDNER BARBEL/SPECIALIST PAN NET

£19.99
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.
SCORE: 26/30




GREYS FREE FLOW SPECIALIST NET

£14.99
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’.
SCORE: 25/30


BEST BUY


KORUM BARBEL/SPECIMEN SPOON

£19.99
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.
SCORE: 27/30

NOTE: All products tested December 2012. All prices correct at the time of going to Press. Angler’s Mail do not take responsibility for price or product changes or current availability.

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  • David Andrew

    I bought the Wychwood 30″ Specimen Quickfold and the frame arms bent with the first fish which was a 10lb carp. I reverted to using my Wychwood 30″ Barbel net which has a much stronger frame, and I had no more problems. For a large net, implying for use with large fish, the Quickfold arms are thinner and weak. I subsequently interchanged the better Quickfold net onto the older Barbel frame and now I have a very good landing net.