Bamboo Fly Fishing Net

Mary Ann challenged me this winter to see if I could build her a bamboo fly fishing net.  I hadn’t built a net before but I had a pretty good idea what I needed to do…but I wasn’t sure if it was even possible.  Nothing on a culm of bamboo is straight, and I didn’t know if I could bend the bamboo around the hoop section of the net without breaking it.  Well, I took on the challenge and dove into my “Net Building” effort.

The first step was to get some straight strips of bamboo from a culm.  Splitting didn’t work because none of the strips came out straight.  I pulled together a jig for my band saw that allowed me to saw the strips instead of splitting…worked pretty well.

My jig for sawing bamboo strips.


The next step was to sand down the sawn strips for the Hoop and Handle sections of the net.  The hoop strips were sanded down to 0.080″ thick, and the handle strips were sanded down to 0.200″ thick.

Sawn strips for the Hoop and Handle sections.

Time to glue up the strips for the Handle section and sand that down.

Gluing up the Handle.

Handle sanded to thickness, still some shaping to do.

After the handle section was shaped, it was time to glue up everthing into the overall net.

Gluing everything up.

After the glue-up, it was time to shape/finish everything.  This was done with a hand plane and lots of hand sanding.

Planing things down.

The finished sanded net. Time to put on the oil finish and attach the bag.

After 10 coats of a hand rubbed oil finish.

The finished net.

This was a fun winter project, and I certainly discovered the challenges of working with bamboo instead of wood in making a net.  Time to try it out on the water!  And, it’s also time to get back to rod building.