Trammel Nets

History of Trammel Nets

Biblical study points to the use of trammel nets, not seines, in the miraculous fish catch described in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 5: 1-7): "While the people pressed upon [Jesus] to hear the word of God, he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret. And he saw two boats by the lake; but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon's, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had ceased speaking, he said to Simon, 'Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.'

And Simon answered, 'Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.' And when they had done this, they enclosed a great shoal of fish; and as their nets were breaking, they beckoned to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink."

- In the original writing, the greek word for seine (sagene) was not used. The word for net was used.

- Trammel nets were washed to help them catch better. Seines were not washed. Seines were not used to catch fish, but to fence or corral them, so washing was not necessary.

Trammel nets were fished in five or more sections, each about 100 feet long, tied together to form a straight line or curved to enclose a school of fish as in this case. After fishing, the sections would be parcelled out to individual fishermen for washing and mending. A seine would have been described as a net, not nets, because it would have been in a single piece.

The nets were let down into the deep water. This is the way trammels are fished, not seines. At that time seines were fished as drag nets and would have been pulled to the shore.