For fisherman Danny Cain, making hoop nets is central to his practice. He first learned the craft from master net maker Jim Cooper, who “didn’t want the tradition to die with him.” This labor intensive process involves making your own tools, bending metal hoops, and tying thousands of carefully-planned knots. Danny felt “like a lost pup” when he began. “If I made one mistake in the whole net, Jim found it,” he says. Now, Danny can tie 350 knots per hour.
“The satisfaction comes mainly when you go out there and find a lot of fish in the net. Then you know you’ve made a good net.” - Danny Cain
Today, Danny is teaching his nephew, Ervin Garrison, to make nets. They are starting the same way Danny did: one knot at a time. For Ervin, hoop net making is not only a practical skill, it is a meditative process. “Once I start working on it,” he says, "I just start thinking about it, and I can just kind of clear my head."