When fourth generation hoopnet maker Larry Haycraft was a boy, his father, Roy Haycraft, would only let him watch cartoons if he was also being productive. So, Larry started making nets on the couch at age ten. “When I tie a knot,” Larry says, “not only do I feel the history, but I feel my dad.” Once grown, Larry revived his net making skills. Local fishermen began to realize that “Roy’s boy” was doing justice to their family heritage, making the family’s unique oval nets. These distinctive nets have only been tied in the Haycraft family. Made to fish in shallow and swift running water, these nets are incredibly complicated to create.
Larry’s son Samuel marks the fifth generation of net makers in this family. “He learned from his dad, I learned from mine,” Samuel says. “He was ten when he started, I was ten.” While he already knew how to make a traditional hoopnet, this apprenticeship has expanded his craft to include the family’s oval net.