Luke 5:2 records that the disciples washed their nets. Why were they doing that when their nets would have been in the water all the time anyway?
The word for “washing” here may indicate cleaning or scrubbing, and some Bible translations substitute “washing” with these words. The Sea of Galilee was busy with many other boats on it. No doubt certain debris, vegetation, sand, rocks, and stones would get into the nets and have to be removed. Cleaning the nets was one of the fishermen’s tedious tasks, along with mending tears in the nets (see Matthew 4:21). Incidentally, fishermen often fished at night, using torches to see. Net casting, or holding the net by hand, was a popular method of fishing. The Bible also mentions the use of the dragnet; for example, Jesus used it in a parable in Matthew 13:47 and 48. This net between two boats was very long, perhaps hundreds of feet. The boats would drag the net out to catch the fish and then come back, dragging the fish along toward shore.
Interestingly, angling, the popular method of fishing today, is also mentioned in Scripture (Isaiah 19:8; Matthew 17:27), as is spearing fish (Job 41:7).
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