Closing the Bottom of the Net.
The last stage in completing the bag-net is closing the smaller of the two openings of the funnel-shaped net. This, as we have seen, is the part that was commenced on the supporting-strand. The top part thus becomes the bottom. The closing is done in two ways:—
(1.) Temporary Closure by Tying.
In some nets it is an advantage to close the bottom of the net temporarily, in order that the catch of fish may be removed through it. This is especially the case in long or deep nets. For these nets the closed-loop commencement is preferred. The supporting-strand on which the closed loops have been set up is then simply drawn taut and tied with a knot which can readily be unfastened. This is seen in the end of the hinaki purangi (Plate 109, fig. 2), where the strand has been untied and the closed loops spread along it to show up the end of the net. It is also shown in the matarau and haua nets, which are dealt with later.
(2.) Permanent Closure by Netting.
When the commencement has been made with the clove hitch, double mesh, or double strand, the smaller opening to be closed consists of a marginal row of ordinary meshes. The method in closing is practically the same as that of closing the side edges, except that it is usual to use the netting-knot instead of the overhand knot or clove hitch. The supporting-strand is removed from the smaller end, and the other end hooked over the big toe by one of the meshes. A strip of flax is knotted at the butt end, and then fixed by the netting-knot to the mid-point of the marginal edge of any one of the sixteen circumferential meshes. It is best to take the one farthest away when the net is stretched. In fig. 36 this selected mesh is numbered 1, and the closing-strip shown by a broken line. From the first mesh, 1, the strip is taken to the mid-point of the neighbouring mesh on the left, 2, and then to the mesh on the other side of the first mesh—namely, 16. From now on the figure shows the netting-strip going from side to side until the last mesh, 9, is tied. In this way the opening is closed by stretching the net and bringing the sides of the opening together.
The netting-strip between the free points of the meshes should be of the same length as between the knots on the meshes—i.e., one-quarter of a mesh. In making the netting-knot on the free points of the marginal meshes the two side knots of the mesh should come together when the netting-strip is pulled. This exactly bisects the marginal half of the mesh. In this manner neat work is done, and the joining really adds two rows
of meshes of the same size as the others. They have all got four sides, and form perfect lozenges, except the first and last meshes made. When the netting-strip passed from mesh 1 to 2 it cut off a three-sided mesh, A. When the strip crossed from 2 to 16 it completed a four-sided normal mesh, B. These normal meshes are continued until the strip makes its last crossing from 10 to 9, when it completes a normal mesh, C, and cuts off the last three-sided mesh, D. These three-sided meshes form two corners, as it were, at each end of the closing-line at the bottom.