Amen to this thread Ben! Supposedly B.A.S.S eliminated landing nets to prevent injuries to bass caused by those old nets. Net design has come a long way since then however, first with rubber mesh nets, and soon after, rubber mesh nets which actually work well! Since the no-net rule, the landing alternatives that most bass bass pros use are far worse than injuries which can be inflicted by a modern bass landing net. Most often, in The Elite Series, the bass are hoisted into the boat by the rod and bounced on the boat floor; then allowed to flop around the carpet while the pro mugs and fist-pumps for the fans and camera, until he he deposits it into the livewell...and none of the other landing methods treat a fish as well as a proper net job can.
With proper use of a net, the fish does not have to be played excessively, and the bass requires minimal touching while being unhooked. This is also much safer for the angler, with today's ultra-sharp hooks. All the pros talk about conserving the resource, but talk is cheap; more of them should man-up and show more regard for the bass. Handle them with respect!
Exactly why i do not, and will not ever become a tournament fisherman. B.A.S.S. seems to talk ouy of both sides of their mouth on this issue... On the one hand, they're all about "protecting the resource" yet every issue of Bassmaster or Bass Times or whatever...always has at least one or two obligatory pictures of some elite series guy holding a fish up over his head... If folks knew how many of these fish were either dead or dying just hours after the cameras were off and the fans were out of the arena it would (or at least should...) turn their stomachs. I wish, just ONCE, one of the high profile guys would refuse to do this and speak out against it...