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Hand nets are held open by a hoop and are possibly on the end of a long stiff handle. They have been known since antiquity and may be used for sweeping up fish near the water surface like muskellunge and northern pike.
A special form of large hand net is the Lave net now used in very few locations on the River Severn in England and Wales.
Cast nets are small round nets with weights on the edges which is thrown by the fisher. Sizes vary up to about four metres in diameter.
Coracle fishing is performed by two men, each seated in a coracle, plying his paddle with one hand and holding a shared net with the other.
The drift net is a net that is not anchored. It is usually a gillnet, and is commonly used in the coastal waters of many countries. Its use on the high seas is prohibited, but still occurs.
A stake net is a form of net for catching salmon. It consists of a sheet of network stretched on stakes fixed into the ground, generally in rivers or where the sea ebbs and flows, for entangling and catching the fish.
A drive-in net is another fixed net, used by small-scale fishermen in some fisheries in Japan and South Asia, particularly in the Philippines. It is used to catch schooling forage fish such as fusiliers and other reef fish. It is a dustpan-shaped net, resembling a trawl net with long wings.