Hellbender Nets

About Us

The story of Hellbender Nets as told by JD, the man behind the nets:

“For years I had worked on several different bamboo projects and learned a ton of new and different skills along the way. I was finishing a tray for my sister when a fly fishing buddy showed me his new carbon fiber net. It was the first time I had seen a rubber bag and I loved that the fly didn’t get stuck in the netting. In fact, I had recently stopped using a net altogether because of the frustration of removing a hook from a nylon bag.

Handling that net caused a classic “aha” moment. I needed one for myself and bamboo seemed like an obvious choice. If I can make something, I’m not likely to go out a buy it. I had to at least try to apply my bamboo skills to craft a fishing net with a rubber net bag.

Bamboo is incredibly strong and flexible. It grows abundantly where we live. It’s nearly impossible to drive for five miles in any direction without seeing a stand. Multiple varieties grow in our region but not all are suited for net building. Some are too weak, but are great for trellising beans and cucumbers in the garden.

I wondered if someone was already doing it, but after a pretty thorough search it became apparent that no one was. I wondered why. Was there something I was missing? So I made a prototype, used it, then came back and tweaked it a little.

So that’s pretty much the same net you see today. It simply worked. I fished that net for a couple of years and along the way made maybe a half dozen more for friends and family.

Our first model was called the mountain trout net and did better than we could have expected from the very start. Fast forward two years and we now have several different sizes to choose from with countless options to really make it your own. I have a hard time sitting still, so you can rest assured there are even more design ideas on the way.

The best adjective I can think of to describe the way these nets feel in the hand is nimble. Other nets can feel clunky because they aren’t able to flex. The bamboo frame flexes with the movements of the fish, which helps to absorb shock which is better for the fish and helps you feel more connected to your experience.

Ultimately, we want our customers to have the opportunity to fish with a net that is matched to their specific needs. As I write this, we offer four different hoop sizes with the choice of a standard teardrop hoop shape or a wide mouth. They can be flamed to either a traditional finish, which is a golden look that pairs well with a bamboo rod or a darker flameburst finish which is darker and totally unique. In fact, every net is as unique as a fingerprint.

They can be fitted with either a black or clear net bag and the handle length is up to the customer. I’ve made nets with handles as short as 5″ and as long as 48″. Shorter handles lend themselves well to hanging from a belt or pack/vest while longer handles are more easily stuffed into net holders or tucked behind a sling pack.

What we do

We make handcrafted fly fishing nets out of Carolina-grown bamboo.

Where we do it

Hellbender Nets is based in the Upstate of South Carolina. We fish waters in our home state and also love exploring the waters of Western North Carolina.


Email Hellbender  Nets <info@hellbendernets.com>
Phone (182) 855-3461
Website http://www.hellbendernets.com