Crab Pots, Eel Spears, and Fish Nets : Seasonal Changes in Watermen's Work
Object Name:
Net Needle
Description of Object:
This wooden net needle was used to make and repair nets. Today, net needles are tyipcally made of plastic. The worn surface of the needle suggests it was well used.
About the Object:
Watermen use a variety of nets and select the appropriate net based upon the location they are fishing and the species they are targeting. Accordingly, net needles - the tool used to make or repair these nets - come in a variety of sizes. Selection of the particular needle is determined by the diameter of the twine used in making the net. This particular net needle would hold a heavier type of twine so would probably be used to make or repair pound nets. Although net making is a significant skill, the availability of maufactured netting has diminished in importance. However, the net needle remains a valuable tool since it is used to repair nets. This is importat to a waterman since a single tear in a net can provide immediate escape of the intended catch.
More Information:
Watermen use a variety of nets to target specific species of fish in the Chesapeake Bay; these nets include poundnets and gillnets. Pound nets funnel fish into the trap through a no return mesh tunnel. Pound nets were first introduced to Maryland in 1858. They are used to target bluefish, catfish, and flounder and are harvested by concentrating the catch in one corner and using a dip net. To learn more about fisheries and nets used to harvest catch from the Bay:
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Wooden net needleWooden net needle