I think it would help to use 6 inch ties but cut them shorter. They are made from thicker material that will make them stiffer but the extra length will make them bend easier so I think you've got the right idea. I don't know how short I'd cut them though. That brings up a thought that perhaps my 4 inch ones are fine if they were shorter. The tradeoff is that longer ties will catch more stuff easier but will tend to bend over and lose it easier. Need to experiment I guess. I also just stretch mine out until dry and then coil it up and hang it in the shed. This thing works perfect for guys like you and I who have ponds small enough to stretch a reasonable length rope across and can walk the bank to pull it in. For a one man operation I use a chunk of concrete to hold one end down while I pull on the other end. I have a piece of concrete at each end so I can alternate pulling each end if desired. Glad to see this has been helpful for you.