Gone Outdoors

How to Tie a Fish Net

by Contributing Writer

Many times people wonder how to tie a fishing net to use for various projects. This work is repetitive but gets great results. Make sure that the thread that is selected for this project is resistant to corrosion and mildew. Based on this criteria, nylon is the cordage of choice (as long as it dries thoroughly).

Learn the "sheet bend" knot that will be used to make the net. First, make a loop in one of two ropes and leave it in this condition for the rest of this paragraph. This loop will be referred to as the original loop. Then, enter the loop with the tip of a second rope from the front. Next, wrap this second rope around the outer right hand side of the loop. Continue to pull the tip across the front and around the outer edge on the other side. Lastly, slip this rope underneath itself on the back where it emerges through the loop for the first time. This knot is just like a square knot but instead of going back through the original loop, it goes under itself where it first emerged from the original loop.

Carve a piece of wood using the pocket knife to make a shuttle (this step is optional). This is a piece of flat wood (half an inch wide) that is pointy at one end (tapered) and has a big oval hole cut in the middle (1-by-3 inches). Inside the oval is a piece of wood like a dowel rod that sticks up so that line can be wrapped around it. The shuttle passes through the net when knots are tied and the rope, which is wound on the shuttle, comes with it. The work is much faster and the line does not have to be constantly pulled through each time a knot is made. Wrap the line in the shuttle on the dowel rod/spindle starting with one end of the rope. Leave the far end hanging out four inches when the wrapping is done.

Tie a line up between two trees or a pair of stable posts using a double overhand knot (the first part of tying a shoe lace where the "rabbit goes under the bridge," done two times with one on top of the other). Leave the line slightly slack (loose). Tie the end of the line from the shuttle to the post, just below the line already up. Tie a sheet bend between the two lines to make the first loop to set the desired size of the loops. Use something between the previous knot and the new knot being tied to keep the loop size (between knots) regular.

Progress from the location where the shuttle is tied to the post to the other side and then do it again going the other way once the end is reached. Leave a loop at the end that is big enough to match the rope circumference in one of the loops inside the net so that the net does not lose a loop every time a row is completed.

After the net is the desired size, weave a rope in a spiral either clockwise or counter clockwise around the net to help define and strengthen the edge of the net.

Items you will need
  • Nylon rope Two trees or posts Pocket knife Flat piece of wood (2-by-4-by-1/2 inch)


  • If the line is slipping in spite of the sheet bend, make the knot a double sheet bend by wrapping it around the original loop when tucking it under itself at the end of the knot and then returning to tuck it under again when the rope comes full circle around the original loop. The choice of rope may dictate the success of using this rope to catch fish. In some cases, it make be desirable to slightly bury the net in the sand to camouflage the net from the fish. Make sure that the net is used within the limits of the law. This net is designed for catching fish only. Cut away from people when using the knife.


  • Cotton and other cordage may mildew and break down over time. Whatever the net is made of, it needs regular maintenance and mending over time and with use.

Photo Credits

  • Photo courtesy of Morguefile.com