Fishing nets are one of the oldest equipment that is used for fishing. But the thing is, most fishermen aren’t aware of the advantages of using different types of fishing nets based on what type of fish they are looking to catch.

The fishing rods that you see people use in the movies are used for when someone goes fishing as a hobby. But the fishing nets are used by the people who fish for a living. For them, it is all about catching as many fish as possible in the shortest amount of time possible.

Different fishing nets like industrial nets, ghost nets, etc. have different advantages to it.

And that’s what this article is all about.

We will cover the 4 most important types of fishing nets that you must know about if you are interested in fishing. 

So without any further ado, let’s jump right into it.

  1. Cast net

A cast net is one of the most common types of fishing nets available out there. These are spherical in shape and when thrown, they look like a massive umbrella with a rope attached to it. There are also a lot of iron or lead (depending on the type of net) that are attached along the margin of this net to make sure that the net doesn’t start tearing away.

If you have watched the videos of fishermen throwing this net in the water, it looks very easy. But trust me, it is an art form.

The fisherman grabs the rope in one hand and throws the net in a way that it fully expands and drops on the surface of the water. It then starts to sink to the bottom because of the lead/iron weights added to the margin of the net.

Because of this weight, smaller fish like prawns get tangled in the net. And after a while the fisherman drags the net with the rope which then closes the net, catching all the fish that got tangled in it.

  1. Dip Net

A dip net is a very different type of fishing net compared to the cast net. In this one, the net is fixed on a frame that is sunk into the water along with the net. And then the net is pulled out of the water in a scooping style to retrieve all the fish that got tangled in the net.

The shape of this net could be anything since it is fixed on a frame. Usually, most people prefer either the rectangular, square, or triangular shape.

Most fishermen prefer to use smaller dip nets that they can take out on their boats and sink in the water. But there are others who prefer to use bigger nets. These cannot be taken on a boat because that would just be impractical.

The bigger nets are worked from the shore with the help of a long bamboo that acts as a huge handle.

And just like the cast net, the dip nets are also used to catch smaller fish like prawns and shrimp.

  1. Purse Net

The purse net is the net that we all saw in the movie Finding Nemo. These nets are rectangular in shape and are operated from a boat in the river.

It is a large net with a huge opening that can be closed just like a purse when it has surrounded an entire school of fish. Hence the name – purse net.

So how do the fishermen close the net?

There is an actuation point that is designed just like a drawing string. Once they have all the fish surrounded by this net, they pull the string and close the opening of this net, turning it into a large handbag that is full of fish entangled in it.

Once the fish are trapped in the net, there is no way for them to escape.

The purse net is considered to be one of the most efficient ways to catch a huge number of fish. This is the reason why most fishermen prefer to use this net over others to catch all types of fish.

  1. Gill Net

There is a specific technique named after using this net to catch fish – gillnetting. It is a common technique that the fishermen use in fresh bodies of water and sometimes in the oceans.

All the other fishing nets that we have talked about here so far are all horizontal nets that sink to the bottom. The gill net is different, it is vertical, and because of that, it requires a different technique to catch fish.

The technique is that once the net is deployed and the fish gets trapped in the net, it will try to escape from it. But because the net is vertical, the fish will partly cross through the net and get stuck. Because of that, it will try to make an effort to escape the net but it will get even more entangled in the net. Not just that, because it is halfway stuck through the net, there is nowhere for the fish to swim. So the fishermen can leave the net in the water for as long as they watch and get as many fish stuck in the net as possible.

Because the more that get stuck in there the better. And they aren’t going anywhere either.

  1. Trawl Net

The trawl net has similarities with the purse net because the net is pointed and can turn into a bag-like net once it is pulled. But the technique for fishing with a trawl net is different compared to the purse net.

You see, because this net has a huge mouth and has fine margins, it can be used to catch fish and prawns that live at the mid or the bottom of the water. It is common to see two boats operating this one net. That’s how big it is.

The technique to catch fish with this net is to let the net drop and sink the water and then the fishermen can sift the water to catch as many fish as they want. But there are more techniques that they use for that as well.

And for each of those techniques, there are specific trawl nets that they can use. One is called beam trawl and another one is called otter trawl. Their use case depends on the technique the fishermen want to use to catch fish.