what is the gill net

Gill net is one popular fishing net in the market, you can see them nearly anywhere. it is very light-weight, so that it could be handled by hand and operated on the canoe.

What is the gill net?

Gill net is a type of fishing net that is designed to catch fish by entangling them in its mesh. It is commonly used in both freshwater and marine environments.

It is typically a long, vertical net that is anchored to the bottom and held upright by floats at the top. It could be anchored to the bottom to catch the fish on the bottom of water, or held afloat by floats on the surface to catch the fish on the surface water.

The mesh size is designed to allow the head of the fish to pass through, but not the rest of its body, leading to the fish getting caught by their gills. The gill net is flexible so that the fish can’t escape from the gill net.

Types of gill net

There are 2 main types of gill net: drift gill net and set gill net. The most difference between them it is the place where it is used.

Drift gill net

Drift gill net is a type of fishing gear designed to catch fish by allowing the net to drift along with the currents. Unlike anchored or set gillnets, which are stationary, drift gillnets move freely in the water, covering a larger area.

This type of gillnet is commonly used in open water, such as oceans and large lakes, and is particularly associated with fisheries targeting pelagic species like salmon, tuna, and other migratory fish.

The total buoyancy of floats need be higher than the total weight of leads, so that the drift gill net could be floated on the surface of water.

Set gill net

Set gill net, also known simply as a gillnet, is a type of fishing gear that is set or anchored in a specific location to catch fish. Unlike drift gillnets, which move freely with the currents, set gillnets remain stationary.

This type of gillnet is commonly used in rivers, lakes, and nearshore marine environments. They are often used in deeper waters and can be effective for catching bottom-dwelling fish species.

To help the set gill net could be set in the bottom of water, the total weight of leads need be heavier than the buoyancy of floats. and there will be 2 anchors on the bottom to set the gill net and 2 floats on the top as a mark.

What is the advantages and shortage?

The gill net is very popular in many countries. Because it has many advantages:

Ease of Handling

The gill net is very light-weight, the total weight would be 0.5-10kg, it is easy to handled by hand. and it is suitable to be used in canoe. It makes them accessible to a wide range of fishermen, including small-scale and artisanal fishers.

Low cost

The weight of gill net is very light, so that the cost is also not high. It could be afforded by most of fishermen. it is also very popular in the recreative fishing.

Efficiency in Catching

Gillnets are designed to be highly effective in catching specific target fish species. Fishermen can select the appropriate mesh size and set the nets in locations where the desired species is known to be abundant.

So that the size of target fish is similar to each other, it also could reduce by catch and reduce the man hour to select the fishes after fishing.


Gill net can be used in various aquatic environments, including rivers, lakes, and oceans. They can be adapted for use in both freshwater and marine fisheries, targeting a diverse range of species.

However, there are also many shortages of gill net:

By catch

One of the significant concerns with gillnets is the unintentional capture of non-target species, known as bycatch.

Marine mammals, sea turtles, and other fish species may become entangled in the nets, leading to injury or mortality. Bycatch can have ecological implications and pose threats to endangered species.

Ghost Fishing

Abandoned, lost, or discarded gillnets can continue to capture and kill marine life, a phenomenon known as “ghost fishing.”

This can lead to ongoing bycatch and environmental damage even when the nets are no longer actively used.

How does gill net work?

The operation of a gillnet is very simple. there are several steps for your reference.

Choose the suitable gill net

You should confirm the target fish before you use the gill net. Because the size of target fish in different season and area are all different. You should choose the suitable type of gill net, and consider the mesh size and thickness of the net.

Setting the Net

When you confirm the target fish, then you need bring your gill net on your boat. The gillnet could be set in the water, either by attaching one end to the seabed or using floats to keep it suspended in the water column. The placement of the net is crucial and is often based on the movement patterns of the target fish species.


You can set many piece of gill net in the water. It will take several hours. However, if you just set one piece of gill net, it will be finished in very short time. then you can go home and wait.

The gill net is set, when the fish swim through the gill net, it become entangled. All of these take several hours. So several hours later, you can come back and retrieve the net to collect the caught fish.

What nets are gill nets made of?

If you are interested in the gill net or want to do business on them, you should know which kind of fishing net is suitable to produce the gill net.

In the market, there are 2 types of fishing net to be produced into the gill net: nylon monofilament net and nylon multi monofilament net.

Nylon monofilament net

Nylon monofilament net is the most popular net material for gill net in the market. It is made of high elasticity nylon. It is light weight and strong enough to be used for different sizes of fish.

The material we choose is high viscosity nylon. It could be used in anywhere, including the fresh water and salt water.

If you want to learn more about the nylon monofilament net, you can also learn more about nylon monofilament net by clicking HERE.

Nylon multi monofilament net

General speaking, the gill net should be as soft as possible. Because the soft net will be more flexible and durable, soft gill net is easier to be handled during fishing.

In the same material, the gill net is thinner, it will be softer, but has lower strength. The same way, the thicker gill net will be stiffer by touch but has higher strength to catch bigger fish.

However, sometimes we need choose the thicker gill net for bigger fish, but we hope the gill net could be soft as the thinner gill net. In this case, I think the multi monofilament net is the best choice for you. You could learn more about this kind of net by click HERE.

How to produce the gill net?

The gill net is the nets installed with the floats on the top and leads on the bottom. It could be used to catch the fish directly.

Some clients buy the nylon monofilament net or nylon multi monofilament net and resell them to the fishermen, the fishermen need install the floats and leads by themselves.

Here are some normal steps of producing the gill net in the production:

  1. Install the floats on the top line with the same distance.
  2. fasten the nets with the top line and floats by the nylon twine.
  3. fasten the leads or lead rope with the nets on the bottom.

Gill net could be used in recreation fishing and commercial fishing. It could be handled by canoe and big boat. It could be used in fresh water and salt water. It could be used everwhere.

It is lightweight, easy to handle and low cost to be afforded by most of people, it has high effeciency in catching fish. All of these make the gill net be the most popular fishing net in the world.

However, it also could cause the by catch and ghost fishing, so it is hated by the environmental protection organization. In some coutries or areas, it is forbidden.

So everything has two sides. We want to catch the fish from the nature, but we also need protect the nature. We can do anything including but not limited to:

  1. Do not choose small mesh nets as possible as you can.
  2. Do not discard fishing nets in the water.
  3. Recycle of discarded fishing nets.

If you have any other suggestions or opinions, we can have a further talk, I will be very happy to hear from you.

photo of Allen Gao
Allen Gao

Hey, I am Allen Gao, the founder of plusnetting.com, family business. We specialized in the one-stop solution of netting for fishing, sports, agriculture, safety and industry. We have provided our proposals for different clients arond the world to help them win the market, including the distributors, Amazon stores. Our target is to provide the most suitable products for you to increase your harvest and reduce your cost.

photo of Allen Gao
Allen Gao

Hey! I’m the author of this post, and I have been in this field for more than 5 years. If you want to distribute nettings or have any requirements, feel free to talk with me.

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