Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Fish Nets

Gil Net
Some of you may be thinking of those panty hose that left creases on your legs during the 60's, for others it's a way of life.

George Richtman
Passing through Trempealeau the sight of iridescent blue caught my eye. Then I almost ran off the road trying to see what this guy was doing, it look like a huge macramé project on steroids.

I learned he was working on a Gil Net. This wonderful gentleman named George Richtman, a true native of Trempealeau has lived and worked on the river his whole life. To me that's so exciting growing up in a suburb and learning to appreciate nature later in life.

At 7 years old he got his first Gil Net license, helping his father straighten out the lines so they dried properly. In those days they were made of linen and would began to heat up and rot if left in a pile. He remembers the day his father received his first shipment of a nylon (new at the time) netting. Coming COD at $10.00 a lb. minimum 10lbs. It was the talk of the town.

His father was a tug boat captain and net fisherman, George eventually worked for the Corp of Engineers and continued the tradition of Net Fishing for over 60 years. 

He creates the new lines every year and fishes for Sheephead, Buffalo Carp and Catfish. The Gil Net catches these larger fish as they try to pass through the nets, sporting fish are narrow enough to go through the openings.

His unique lifestyle had caught the attention of TV producers, since he isn't the loud and boisterous character they were looking for to market their reality TV, they passed him by. I'm sure lucky I didn't pass him by and found out a little more about the neighbors of Perrot Park. Enjoy a short video of the process.

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