There was quite a buzz going around the fly fishing industry about these custom landing nets that are handcrafted out of the Elk Valley.
So I picked one up to check out what the craze was all about.
Ikigai Outdoor Collective Landing Nets are handcrafted, and designed in all shapes and sizes by a man named Kevin Wapple from Sparwood, BC.
I had a quick chat with Kevin and asked him what sparked his idea to create these awesome nets. He says “After breaking/loosing a few nets in my life time, I thought I would try my hand at making a net myself. While making the first one, I had a couple buddies ask me to make them nets also. After finishing my first net, (turned out very rough) I had gotten hooked on wood working and couldn’t stop thinking of ideas to make them better and to improve my technique. Soon I found myself taking custom orders and selling at local markets! This hobby of mine has already turned into more than I could’ve hope for!”
Next, I asked where did the name come from and what does it mean?
IKIGAI (EE-KEY-GUY) A Japanese word meaning “One’s reason for being” He says, “Although wood working is a passion of mine, the reason I wake up in the morning is to spend my time in the outdoors!” and with some help from his brother who studied Japanese culture the name was chosen and Ikigai Outdoor Collective was born.
They are available in types of wood such as Paduk, Jatoba, Santos Rosewood, Walnut, Maple and many more! They’re also available in multiple sizes from your typical walk and wade, to full size boat/guide style nets. They all feature a high quality durable rubber netting system that is much more gentle on the fish than your traditional mesh/nylon netting. Once you see a fish calmly in the water inside the rubber net, it is obvious how much more gentle the material is on the fish compared to the typical nylon netting that tends to remove the fish’s protective coating. Leaving the fish with a much higher chance of survival!
I picked up a walnut, walk and wade style net and it is truly a piece of art. At first I felt it was too nice to take out on the river, but after a few days of it hanging on my wall as artwork, it was eventually on the river with me and landing some beautiful trout. It has since received many complements while on the water by other anglers.
In the 3.5 months that I have owned one of these beautifully crafted nets, it has shown little to no signs of wear and tear. Although I am probably treating mine more like art than I would typical landing net, I am sure it will be landing fish for many years to come.
I highly recommend you check out Ikigai and pick up one of these for your next outing!
You can check out more of Kevin’s work on his Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ikigaioutdoorcollective and place an order by messaging him, or purchase in store at the famous Elk River Guiding Company, in Fernie, BC.