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How to Make Gill Nets

by Danny Donahue
Gill nets have been used for food procurement for thousands of years.

Gill nets have been used for food procurement for thousands of years.

Fishing with a gill net will free you to do other things while you are fishing. "Set it and forget it" is the procedure with this type of trap. A gill net has holes that capture fish by their gills. A fish tries to swim through an area that it thinks is open water, feels the net around its head and tries to back out, which causes it to become entangled in the trap. The size of the holes in your net will determine the size of the fish you can catch. Unwanted species are often caught in gill nets, so be sure to place your net in an area where your target fish thrives and check your trap every few hours so you can release unwanted by-catch.

Place the end of a stake or treated board into the ground and hit the end of the stake with your small sledgehammer to knock the wood into the soil, leaving 4 feet of the board above the surface. Walk 10 paces away from the stake and drive the second stake into the ground.

Wrap the end of the fishing line around one stake in the ground and tie it off securely 3 inches from the top of the stake. Pull the line to the second stake and tie it off 3 inches from the top of the wood. Tie a second line between the stakes 3 inches up from the ground.

Tie smaller pieces of fishing line vertically between the top and bottom horizontal lines. Tie a vertical line every 3 inches along the horizontal main lines.

Tie a horizontal line to a stake 3 inches down from the top line. Tie this horizontal line to each vertical line along the webbing. Tie a horizontal line each 3 inches down the stakes until you reach the bottom line. Fasten each horizontal line to every vertical line in its path.

Tie a weight to the bottom line every 30 inches. Clip a float to the top line every 30 inches. Cut the lines attached to the stakes with your knife and tie each one off before cutting the next. Remove the now empty stakes from the ground and save them for the next net project.

Tie a long line to each top corner of the gill net. Tie the long lines to a tree or buoy on each side of your fishing area to hold the net in place.

Items you will need

  • 2 treated boards or stakes (2 inches by 2 inches by 6 feet)
  • 2 pound sledgehammer
  • 50 pound test monofilament fishing line
  • 10 ounce fishing weights
  • 10 clip-on fishing floats
  • Knife

About the Author

After learning electronics in the U.S. Navy in the 1980s, Danny Donahue spent a lifetime in the construction industry. He has worked with some of the finest construction talent in the Southeastern United States. Donahue has been a freelance writer since 2008, focusing his efforts on his beloved construction projects.

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