Seasoned anglers know that in addition to a fishing rod, a net is an indispensable tool in securing a caught fish. In some cases, fishing nets actually take the place of a fishing pole altogether. In other cases, commercial fishing ventures rely on the use of fishing nets for their ability to haul in the maximum catch in the shortest time possible. Because of their amazing efficacy, the use of some kinds of nets has been heavily regulated, while others are banned altogether. The kinds of fishing nets you are likely to hear about the most are scoop nets, throw nets, commercial trawl nets, and the heavily debated commercial drift nets.
Fishermen rely on scoop nets when the fish they are after swim close to the surface. The net resembles a basketball hoop with a closed nylon net. Salmon, pike and crabs are perfect targets for scoop nets. Use the short-handled version of these fishing nets to scoop up fish and crabs from a boat, close to shore, or to hold the animal while it is still attached to the end of your fishing line. Rely on the long-handled version when going for fish that might dart to the bottom of a shallow lake or river.
Nets that are round and carry weights around the edge are usually referred to as throw nets. These kinds of fishing nets have been around since biblical times, and the intent is for the round net to spread out on the water's surface and sink to the bottom of the lake or river. The fish that are caught underneath are hauled to the surface when the net is pulled ashore. Remember it's hard work to haul in a net weighted down by water and fish, and the bigger the radius of the throw net, the harder it will be to pull it up.
Commercial Trawl Nets
Shaped like a funnel, trawl nets are the commercial application of fishing nets. They are attached to one or two trawlers, and as the boats are slowly moving forward, they collect a number of fish in the nets. Trawling is usually reserved for fishing grounds where one kind of fish dominates the marine life. Of course, this does not eliminate the potential of accidentally catching protected or undesired animals, such as sea turtles, and thus harming endangered species.
Commercial Drift Nets
Some of the largest commercial kinds of fishing nets, drift nets may cover as much as 2 miles. They are free-floating in the water and serve to maximize the size of a desired catch. Problems arise when these nets get lost during storms and their presence in the water leads to the deaths of countless animals that become entangled, even though they are not targeted for human consumption. Today there are a number of bans on commercial drift nets, but enforcement is still a problem on the high seas.