What are Fishing Nets made of?

What are Fishing Nets Made of
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Fishing nets make fishing easier and help you catch a large number of fishes. You can catch fishes both in fresh and saltwater with fishing nets. Humans have been using fishing nets since the stone age. Over the years, fishing nets are made using different materials and techniques worldwide. Fishing nets come in all shapes and sizes, depending on where and what you are fishing for.

If you are curious about what are fishing nets made of, then this article has all the answers for you to need to know about what is used to make fishing nets.

A fishing net is an open fabric made using thread, cord, or wire. They have looped or knotted intersections to form a mesh. The mesh of the fishing net traps the fish underwater. They are also called as fish traps because well they trap fish. I will discuss the major materials for making fishing nets so you know what are fishing nets made of.


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What are Fishing Nets Made of

As the fishing net is one of the oldest fishing tools, it has been made using a wide range of materials. Let’s start with the modern ones.

Modern Fishing Nets

Modern fishing nets are mostly machine made with some being hand made as well. They are mainly made of two types of fiber; either vegetable fibers or man-made fibers.

Man-made Fibers

Man-made fibers are made from different chemicals in factories. Over the years, man-made fibers are being used to make high quality and durable fibers. There is a wide range of man-made fibers used for making fishing nets. Fishing nets made from man-made fibers are rotproof and long-lasting. You will find fishing nets made from man-made fibers today in the world. They are used in both commercial and recreational fishing nets.

The biggest drawback of man-made fishing nets is that they are not environmentally friendly. Fishermen often lose their fishing nets in the water. Lost or discarded fishing nets in water are called ghost nets. Ghost nets trap aquatic animals leading them to starvation and death.

Let’s go through some of the man-made fibers fishing nets are made from



Polyester is used to make fishing nets of all types. Fishing nets made from polyester are long-lasting and strong. A polyester fishing net doesn’t degrade under the sun nor loses its color. Fishing nets made from polyester have elastic memory. They can return back to their original form after stretching. Polyester fishing nets don’t tangle easily and are resistant to abrasions. Fishing nets made from polyester do not absorb water.


Polypropylene is used for making high bulk threads. It is well-suited for outdoor products like fishing nets. Fishing nets made from polypropylene are very durable and light. Polypropylene fishing nets absorb very little water and dry easily. They can tolerate extreme fishing conditions. Polypropylene fishing nets, just like polyester, degrade very little under the sun. They have very similar qualities to polyester.


Nylon is a thermoplastic silky material that is processed into fibers for making high strength threads. These nylon threads are used in the making of nylon fishing nets. Nylon fishing nets are exceptionally stronger than polyester fishing nets. They are very tough and long-lasting. Fishing nets made from nylon are elastic and abrasion-resistant. They absorb minimal water and are very lightweight. Nylon fishing nets are the preferred choice of fishermen around the world.

Vegetable Fibers

Some fishing nets are made using vegetable fibers, but they are decreasing in numbers now. Fishing nets made from vegetables require more maintenance to extend their life. You have to treat them with tar in order to protect them against rot. The biggest advantage of vegetable fibers is that they are biodegradable. If you lose a fishing net made of vegetable fiber in water, it will degrade over time. They do not act like ghost nets and don’t disturb aquatic life. Their only drawback is that they are not very durable and strong.

Let’s take a look at some of the vegetable fibers fishing nets are made of.


Cotton threads are used to make strong ropes, which are then looped or knotted to make cotton fishing nets. These fishing nets are only used in some parts of the world as they are not very durable. Cotton fishing nets also absorb water, making them difficult to use for fishing.


You must have heard about linen. Flax plants are used for making linen. Fishing nets made from linen are stronger than cotton but are less elastic. Just like cotton, they are less durable and need to be treated with tar for longer life.


Hemp is a popular vegetable fiber for making fishing nets. It is very strong and brown in color. Hemp threads are combined to make even stronger threads for making fishing nets. Fishing nets made of hemp are generally of good quality, but they absorb water making the fishing net heavy.

Fishing Nets of the Past

Fishing nets in the past have been made using a wide range of natural materials. The oldest net found from 8300 BC was made using willow. Native Americans made fishing nets using grass, nettles, and inner bark of cedar. They used rocks as weights to hold the fishing net underwater. Other materials used in the past include bark, bast, leaves, roots, and stems. Another popular material used for making fishing nets in the past were animal tissue. Animal hide, sinew, hair, intestine, and baleen were used to make fishing nets.


Modern fishing nets are mostly made of man-made fibers. Such as nylon, polyester, polypropylene, and polyethylene. This is because of their exceptional durability, strength, weight, and hydrophobic nature. But they are not eco-friendly and destroy aquatic life when discarded or lost in the water. Modern science is looking for alternative man-made material for fishing nets. But it will take time for the world to accept them. On the other hand, vegetable fiber fishing nets such as cotton, hemp, flax, manila, and sisal are ecofriendly. We should try to use these whenever we can see so that aquatic life is not harmed unnecessarily.

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