1. QUALITY CORD: Net making is simpler to learn when you use good quality cordage. If you don’t want to make your own tools, these are available from retailers as well. One great source is Jann’s Netcraft, Inc. This company offers a full range of tools, cordage and books. The twine used for this project was Netcraft 50-pound-test green twine. It is treated with a wax-like coating that makes knots hold well. (jannsnetcraft.com; 800-638-2723)
2. TIE ONE ON: If you run out of cordage on the needle while making a net, reload the needle and tie on where you left off. Tie off close to the last knot you tied so it doesn’t interfere with tying the next mesh. A carrick bend is one of the best knots to use for this, because it never slips.
3. SOLVING SORE HANDS: You may find that your hands get sore or tired when making nets. One solution to prevent cuts or blisters is to pull the twine with the needle and not with your fingers.
4. KNOT A PROBLEM: There are many different ways to tie net knots. The one described and illustrated here is the basic sheet bend, the traditional knot that I learned in tying nets many years ago. It is the knot that residents of the coast of South Carolina have used to tie cast nets for centuries. Some of the new ways may work better when using synthetic materials, like bank line or other types of uncoated nylon, but the traditional method has always worked for me. Experiment and use the best method for the materials you have and for the intended purpose of the net.
5. BIGGER & BETTER: Once you complete this project, you can make any size flat net you want, including huge rabbit and gill nets in any size imaginable.
This article was originally published in the AMERICAN FRONTIERSMAN™ Winter 2016 issue #205. Subscription is available in print and digital editions here.