U.S. Patent 7,975,424 for “Castable framed fish catching net.”
Texas Business reports: A West Texas man devised a new way to catch fish.
John Francis Shooter II of Lubbock received U.S. Patent 7,975,424 for “Castable framed fish catching net.”
Shooter filed for the patent on February 9, 2009.
This application generally relates to fish catching nets, specifically to the type that can be cast away and retrieved by one person and can also be towed behind watercraft for trawling.
Nets have been used to capture aquatic animals since prehistoric times. Trawl nets are deployed from watercraft. Seine nets are used from the shore. The oldest nets are rectangular sheets of mesh. To be useful from the shore, two people must wade into the water with the ends of the net attached to poles that are used as handles and to keep the net upright. Together, they drag themselves and the net through the water hoping they don't scare away what they are attempting to catch. This type of seine is only useful with two operators and is limited to areas of gentle slope less than waist deep. This type of net predates written history.
The prior art reveals a seine that is pushed through the water. It provides a cumbersome and heavy frame with an attached elongated handle. It requires flotation devices to help overcome its weight and size. It must be assembled and disassembled before and after each use. The operator must enter the water while holding it in position and attempt to push it through the water. Due to its large size, it could not be used in moving water such as streams or rivers. No commercial success was ever achieved with this design.
A cast type net has been used for millennia throughout the world. It dates back at least to ancient Egypt. It consists of a circular planar or conical mesh net which has weights affixed around the perimeter. Drawstrings are attached to the underside from multiple points of the perimeter. The strings join together at a center hole through which they pass and are attached to a retrieval line. The operator must fold the net such that the strings, weights, net, and retrieval line do not tangle. The user attempts to put enough spin on the net as it is thrown so that the weights spread the net flat before it lands on the surface of the water.
With a perfect throw, the net lands about three meters away and sinks directly towards the bottom. The weights sink faster than the net and converge to close the net.
The noise of the weights and net hitting the surface of the water is the same as throwing a large handful of rocks into the water. Any fish directly below are unlikely to stay around. When the operator drags the closed net across the bottom through mud, weeds, rocks, and sticks, it often snags and is damaged beyond repair. The time it takes to fold the net properly, throw it, retrieve it and refold it for another attempt is considerable and requires a degree of skill and physical exertion.
The convertible dip net in is an attempt to make a net that can roll along the bottom as it is pulled by multiple retrieval lines attached to a circular frame. It is limited to smooth bottom surfaces only. It can only capture bottom dwelling creatures in the trawl mode. It cannot be cast out and retrieved. It requires assembly and disassembly for the different modes of operation and transportation. No commercial success was ever achieved by this design.
A net assembly patented in 1998 is primarily for capturing crustaceans. The operator must use a bait item on a hook, cast the net into the water and passively wait. The hope is that the crustaceans will enter the net and stay long enough so that when the net is retrieved they will not escape. It is not designed as a seine for capturing fish in that the net is deployed vertical in the water.
A number of disadvantages are apparent in the selection of seines and trawl nets that are commercially available. Most seines require two people who are willing to enter the water. This is difficult and dangerous. The noise and disturbance is great enough to scare most bait items and fish away. These nets are only useful in water less than waist deep. The nets that are castable are difficult to use. They require a level of skill and physical effort to be of any use. They are very limited in the distance that they can be thrown. They can only be deployed in water deep enough to allow the net to close as it descends into the water. The actual volume of water that is seined through is minimal due to the rapid closing of the net once it hit the surface. The noise they make when they hit the surface of the water scares minnows to shallow water where they are less likely to be eaten by larger predators. These nets cannot be deployed in shallow water where most bait items stay. Dragging these nets across the bottom of the lake or stream often destroys the net due to abrasion and snagging.
Shooter saw a need for a net that a single person can operate without entering the water. Additionally, this net should also be able to be towed for trawling without having to be converted from its original form. This net should be able to capture aquatic animals from different depths and distances at the choice of the operator. It should be useful in deep or shallow water. It should be able to be deployed from shore, pier, or watercraft. It should be easy enough to deploy so that even children can make use of it. It should not require any preparation for use. It should not require any special physical effort or skill.
Shooter’s invention is a castable fish catching net device operable by one person for capturing aquatic animals from any body of water without the need for the operator to enter the water. Includes a purse type seine supported by a generally triangular frame which is heavier than the surrounding water thus providing a sinking force. A handle is attached to the apex of the triangular frame extending in towards the center of the frame. A casting and retrieval cord is attachable to the most center end of the handle.
Buoyant means is provided to orient the fish catching net device in a substantially vertical attitude relative to the surface of the body of water as it descends into the water. The purse shaped net has membranes that generate a buoyant-force as the fish catching net device is dragged through the water thus providing the operator with the ability to control the depth of deployment by varying the speed of forward travel through the water.