The very first stage is choosing the right woods and parts of the board for the hoop and handle. The Ash and Sapele used for the hoop are both strong and flexible, which combined act like a spring to cushion any exuberant fish. The creamy white of the Ash and the reddy brown of the Sapele make for a striking contrast, whilst maintaining durability.
The handle can be made from almost any wood. I often make a run of the same species depending which boards I have available at the time. Woods individually requested are always fun to work with, learning the different grain patterns and characteristics of the wood. No two handles are ever the same.