The Shimano Folding Net is similar to the Daiwa One Touch, but there are a number of differences. The differences are in the details, but they add up to make the Shimano net quite a bit nicer than the Daiwa.
Like the Daiwa, The Shimano Folding Net is a net for people who think nets just get in the way. This one doesn't. It collapses and fits in a pouch on your belt. One of the advantages of a tenkara rod over a fly rod is the ease with which you can collapse the rod when you need to walk through streamside brush.
This net has the same advantage. A tenkara net, tucked into your belt, catches on brush less than a western net, but it still does catch on brush. And when you sit on a rock for a lunch break, it's bottom hits the rock before yours does. Not with this net.
The above photo is of the Daiwa One Touch, not the Shimano Folding Net. The principle behind the two nets is exactly the same. The hoop is made from spring steel, and you can collapse it by twisting it (see photo below, which is also of the Daiwa). I used the Daiwa photo because I could not get the Shimano to sit like that all folded up. Upon removal from the pouch, it always immediately sprung open. The Daiwa, at minimum, required a sharp flick of the wrist - sometimes two or three - to get it to open.
The immediate auto-open capability of the Shimano is probably reason enough to choose it over the Daiwa. When you are trying to get a fish in the net, all the while trying to keep your rod tip out of the overhead branches and your feet solidly under you on slippery rocks, you really don't want to have to deal with a net that won't open.
To fold the Shimano net: Hold the handle with your right hand (palm facing away) hold the other end of
the frame with your left hand (palm toward you). Twist the net and push your
hands together. Keep twisting as you push. Massage the net so that it
the three resulting loops are all about the same size. It should now fit in the
pouch. (The text doesn't match the photo, but I have found that it is easier if you hold the handle with your dominant hand rather than having both hands on the net rim.)
There is another feature, though, which also, by itself, would lead me to recommend the Shimano. The photo below shows a comparison of the grip to hoop attachment of the Daiwa and the Shimano. As with the folding/unfolding, the principle is the same but the Shimano does it better. The Shimano grip fits securely, the screw fits securely. After a couple years of use, the grip on my Daiwa One Touch was loose enough that I resorted to epoxy. I think it is secure now, but I don't think that would be required with the Shimano Folding Net.
The grip on the Shimano is made from or at least covered with what seems to be the same material Shimano uses for the non-skid coating on its Kozuka NT rods. It is smooth and doesn't feel like it ought to be non-skid, but it is. It is a nice grip.
As with the Daiwa One Touch nets, the Shimano Folding Nets come in two sizes, 30cm and 25cm. It really is surprising how much larger the 30cm net is. Five centimeters is just 2 inches, but difference in overall size is substantial.
The grip on the Shimano Folding Net is essentially the same length as on the Daiwa One Touch (right). Although it is considerably shorter than the grip on the TiNet, I have not lost one fish because of the shorter grip. My line and tippet together are just long enough that I almost always have to hand line a fish in at least a little, and having to bring it in just a few inches closer has not mattered. Big difference when going through brush or sitting down, not so big a difference when netting a fish.
Unlike the Daiwa pouch, the Shimano Folding Net pouch is semi-rigid. It is a bit easier to get the folded net back into the pouch. Also, there are significantly larger openings for ventilation. Still, I would recommend drying the net thoroughly outside of the pouch before storing it away between fishing trips.
All in all, the Shimano Folding Net is a well designed net that is there when you need it and out of the way when you don't. It is the nicest folding net I've seen.
The Shimano 30cm Folding Net weighs 9.5 ounces. The 25cm net weighs 8.4 ounces
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Tenkara has no strict rules. Enjoy tenkara in your own way.
- Eiji Yamakawa