One of the essential skills that a koi keeper should master is the knowledge to properly net and bowl a koi. As explained in previous articles, handling a koi may be necessary for transporting, showing, treating injuries, health treatments or for closer inspection. If done incorrectly, it can injure or do irreparable harm to a fish.
The first rule is to handle a fish as little as possible because you need to limit the influence of gravity, protect the slime layer or cuticle and prevent split/broken fins and bruises. Never rush it, you need enough time to guide a fish and not to chace it around the pond! Many health problems in koi are caused by careless handling or netting.
Never to use a “carp net” or swimming pool net to handle a fish in your collection. Carp nets are designed for anglers and the most important consideration for an angler is obviously to net the fish and to prevent escape. Injury to the carp is not a huge consideration and lost scales and split fins are the inevitable result. The blue nylon swimming pool net is also used by keepers with the same negative result.
Before any attempt is made to catch a fish, you must have the following equipment ready:
Pan or pole net
A bowl-shaped or pan net that is large enough to accommodate the largest fish in the pond. This net is used to guide the koi to the desired location and not to scoop the fish or to lift it out of out of the water. The sock net is used for this purpose.
A viewing or measuring bowl.
This bowl can be round or rectangular but the fish should fit into it comfortably. If it cannot accommodate the full length of the fish, it may easily break or split a fin, especially the caudal (tail) fin. Fill the bowl with pond water to a level that can accommodate the fish that you intend to catch. If the water level is too low, large fish may found themselves “stranded“which may result in internal injuries.
A specially designed sock net, and if you wish to bag the fish, a suitable plastic bag, oxygen and rubber bands. The sock net has a sturdy frame and handle. The net itself is constructed from finely woven nylon to prevent injury. Both ends are open to facilitate the catch and also the release process. Some sock nets are made from fabric very similar to a raincoat. The reasoning behind this type of net is to transport the fish between the pan net and the bowl while the fish remains in water. The net constructed from raincoat material is popular when handling large fish because it limits the effect of gravity on the fish.
How to go about it
The bowl shaped net is used to guide the fish into a suitable position to use the sock net. The emphasis is on guiding the fish. Most of the time, especially with big fish, the net hardly touches the fish. The fish hovers inside the net. Always keep the side which the fish is facing a little bit higher, it will discourage males and smaller fish from jumping. With experience you will recognize movements that precede efforts to escape and you will be able to prevent it by rolling the wrists to tilt the net in front of the fish. Slowly guide the fish closer to the surface.
Once the fish has been manoeuvred into position, a second person can slip the sock net over the fish, effectively shutting out the light and the fish will immediately calm down. It you are attempting this procedure alone, the tip of the bowl shaped net can be placed on the pond edge while the fish remain in the water as illustrated above. The sock net is slipped with a careful but firm movement, head first over the fish.
Make sure the fish is lengthwise in the sock net and then lift it out of the water by keeping a firm grip on both the open ends of the net. Give the net frame a twist to prevent escaping. This escape will cause the fish to fall between the pond and the bowl causing injuries.
Transfer the fish to the bowl while it remains in the sock net. When the fish has been submerged in the water of the measuring bowl, release the open end of the sock net and allow the fish to swim into the measuring or treatment bowl.
The same procedures with the sock-net are followed when taking the fish out of the measuring/treatment bowl to release it in the pond again. Sometimes only a quick inspection of the fish is necessary and in this case the pan net is used to guide the fish as before. Instead of using the sock net, the bowl is placed inside the pond. The lip of the pan net is placed on the edge of the bowl and slowly tilted in order for the fish to swim into the bowl as demonstrated below.
Once the fish is inside the bowl, whether the bowl is floating in the pond or outside, the fish can be bagged. Alternatively a plastic bag can be utilised to scoop the fish directly from the bowl-shaped net, or the fish can be guided into a plastic bag once it is in the bowl.
The bag is now ready to be filled with oxygen.
It is important to make sure all air is out of the bag before oxygen is added. This little precaution will ensure that sufficient oxygen is pumped into the bag and the fish will last for considerable time during transport.
Last Updated on Sunday, 22 January 2012 23:13