Larry Haycraft learned to make nets at the age of ten from his father. “When I tie a knot,” Larry says, “not only do I feel the history, but I feel my dad.” He uses his distinctive hoopnets to catch non-game fish from the Wabash River in southwest Indiana. Larry has extensive experience and knowledge of commercial fishing and making nets designed for different types of waterways.
By way of their apprenticeship, Larry’s son Samuel marks the fifth-generation of net makers in the Haycraft family. “He learned from his dad, I learned from mine,” Samuel says. “He was ten when he started, I was ten.” Samuel made an oval hoopnet, which is a traditional pattern unique to his family. Made to fish in shallow and swift-running water, these nets are incredibly complicated to create. This is the first time one of these nets have been made in over thirty years.