Here is a piece dated 1924 from the Appleton Post-Crescent written by their outdoor writer M.J.V. Fose on a subject we can all empathize with: losing a fish next to the boat. I believe the most underrated skill in the angling world is the ability to properly net a fish. Some things haven't changed...
LOSING THE BIG ONE
When you talk of disappointment there is nothing comparable with the loss of a game fin, especially after he has "fought to a finish," and then in the grand finale have him wave his tail as a parting gesture just as you were counting him added to the stringer.
It's either the line snapping, a hook breaking or a slip of some kind that sets the little "gloom bug" to work m the fishing game. Selecting tackle with care will avoid many of these disappointments and pay the angler twofold in satisfaction of knowing that it will hold up under all conditions.
Then there's the old jinx, "lost him at the boat," where nine tenths of the slip-ups occur. There is about one angler out of ten that understands the proper method of handling a good sized game fish at the boat and one out of five that knows the proper method of using the "fish saver," called a landing net. Where the slips usually occur is in trying to slip a slip net under a game fin by the easy method and which usually falls to connect. Others try to slip it over the head, but the proper method of netting is to hold the line taut, then with a quick scoop, slip the landing net over his tail and at the some time keep the line taut so the hook don't become all tangled into the net, then when you have him in the boat remove tho hook and let the "big one" kick to his heart's content. In slipping the net over the tail first there is less danger of losing him because it's the "swish" of that tail that usually does the damage.
Net your own fish whenever possible, then you cannot blame the loss of a big one on a fishing partner. But there's an exception to this rule in musky fishing, because it takes two to play the game of landing the "tiger of fresh waters" successfully and a gaff is usually used instead of the landing net.
-- Dr. Todd