How to Make Hoop Nets for Catfishing

by Danny Donahue
Catfish are easily caught with traps.

Catfish are easily caught with traps.

Catfish are a popular target for freshwater fishermen. These fish are generally nocturnal, so, your best chance of catching them is at night. A rod and reel will capture your quarry with the proper technique and a lot of patience. A less labor intensive way of catching a catfish is with a trap. A hoop net is a popular catfish trap used by commercial and recreational fishermen alike. You can build a hoop net trap with a few basic materials, set it and focus your energies on other tasks until you have time to check your trap.

Unroll the aluminum flashing on the ground. Scrape the point of your razor knife across the width of the flashing at 10 feet. Follow your score mark with the point of your knife and deepen the score twice more. Bend the flashing back and forth at the score mark to break your piece free from the main roll.

Slide the side of your 10-foot piece of flashing between the jaws of your metal brake. Adjust the flashing so that two inches protrude past the jaws of the brake. Pull the locking handles of the brake to hold the flashing in place. Slide the tip of your knife along the edge of the jaws to score the aluminum. Lift the bending handles of the brake to bend the two-inch strip upward. Release the lift handle and gently push the two-inch strip back to a horizontal position. Lift the handle again to break the strip free.

Unlock the brake and remove the large piece of flashing. Slide the side of your two-inch strip into the brake so that one inch of the flashing protrudes past the edge of the jaws. Lock the brake to hold the metal in place. Lift the bending handles up as far as possible to bend the strip in half. Release the lift handle and unlock the brake. Turn the bent strip and insert the fold in the aluminum into the brake. Pull the locking handle on the brake to close the jaws and compress the flashing into a one-inch folded strip.

Use your tin snips to cut the one-inch by 10-foot strip of folded metal into a piece that is two-feet long and two pieces that are four feet long. Drill a hole through the metal strips one inch from each end. Gently pull the ends of each piece around to form a circle out of each piece. Be careful not to fold the strips. Slip a rivet into your rivet gun. Push the head of the rivet through both holes of a circular strip. Squeeze the handles of your rivet gun to secure the circle. Repeat with the remaining two to finish your hoops.

Unroll your chicken wire fencing. Cut a piece of chicken wire three feet long and 18 inches wide. Roll the chicken wire into a cone that is 18 inches. Slide your small hoop into the cone and secure it to the chicken wire with tie wire. Twist the wire tight and snip off the ends of the twist with your pliers. Slide one of your large hoops into the cone and secure it with tie wire. Trim off the excess chicken wire so that it does not extend past the metal hoop on either end.

Cut a six-foot length of chicken wire. Wrap one end of the fencing around your free hop. Secure the fencing to the hoop with tie wire. Slide your cone into the new fencing and secure the large hoop of the cone to the new fencing with tie wire. Secure the new fencing to itself with tie wire every 6 inches along the seam.

Cut a piece of chicken wire four inches larger that the end of the trap opposite from the end with the opening of the cone. Place the chicken wire cap over the free end of the trap. Bend excess chicken wire over the hoop and secure it with tire wire. Secure a brick on each end of the same side of the trap. Tie one end of a rope to the front hop of the trap.

Puncture the side of the plastic jar in several places with your razor knife. Tie the free end of the rope onto a tree on the bank of your target body of water. Place chicken livers into the jar and put the jar into the trap past the small end of the cone. Submerge the trap under the water with the bricks resting on the bottom and the opening of the cone facing deep water.

Items you will need

  • Aluminum flashing
  • Razor knife
  • Metal brake
  • Tape measure
  • Tin snips
  • Fine point marker
  • Drill with 3/8-inch bit
  • Rivet gun with 1/4-inch rivets
  • 1 inch chicken wire fencing
  • Tie wire
  • Lineman's pliers
  • 1/4 nylon rope
  • 2 bricks
  • Plastic jar with screw top lid
  • Chicken livers
  • Work gloves
  • Safety glasses


  • Check the trap daily. Remove fish in the trap by cutting the tie wire holding the cap onto the end of the trap. Replace the cap, re-bait your trap and set it back into place.


  • Fishing and/or trapping licenses may be necessary in your location. Always check state law before building or using a trap of any kind.
  • Work gloves and safety glasses are necessary when using hand tools.


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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