The famous nocturnal Hex hatch of the Midwest (and a few other lucky locations) stirs to the surface mythically large brown trout that only touch streamers for the rest of the year.
I don't fall in, Spence. That's all part of my technique
Putting the pros and cons of carrying a net aside, It has been my experience that if the net is left home or forgotten your chances of hooking a large trout increase exponentially.
... You don't just skate them on the surface and grab them with you off hand. I chased this guy around and tried to lead him to a shallow place where I could pounce on him. A net would have saved me a lot of last second worrying, that's for sure. ...
So, instead of wearing the fish out completely, I smoothly lulled it into swimming circles around me, passing close to my left leg on each pass, while I held the net submerged and hidden behind that leg. On the third pass I popped the net out into its path, and it swam right in. Phew!