Saltwater Fishing Tips - Cast Nets: Tips for Easy Throwing, with Video
Why you need a cast net for saltwater fishing
If you you're looking for saltwater fishing tips, you gotta get a cast net! And then you gotta learn the proper casting nets techniques. Let’s get back to the first statement. Why do you need a cast net for saltwater fishing? Easy. You can catch all kinds of free bait, especially finger mullet. You can even catch shrimp with a cast net, and several species of small fish that will provide free live bait. After you get the hang of throwing a bait net, you can even zero in on large fish. I’ve caught some big mullet in my fish nets, and I’ve seen others catch huge black drum and sheepshead with a mullet cast net. Who needs a line and hook with that kind of skill? If survival depended on fishing, Id choose a net every time!
What size net will you need?
Cast nets come in a wide variety of sizes. All of them are round when fully opened. The length of the net is half the diameter of the net. In other words, a six-foot net opens into a twelve-foot circle.
The size cast net you'll need depends on several factors. Obviously, the larger the net, the more area it will cover, and the better your chance for catching your prey. But that doesn't necessarily always mean the bigger the better. For example, if you're throwing a bait net from a pier, a huge net would be almost impossible to handle. It would most likely wrap around a piling, and you'd either lose the net or have to do some fancy swimming to free it.
A four or five-foot cast net is pretty easy to throw, and it's a good size to learn with. Soon, you'll be able to graduate to a six-foot cast net, or even a larger one. Personally, I've never had the need to go larger than six feet.
Holding the net
Okay, you have your cast net, right? Take it out of its container and "shake it out." You're going to be throwing the net from a pier, so you'll need a long cord attached to the net. Why from a pier? For one reason, that's the easiest place to learn to throw a net. The wind gets under it and helps it to open. For another thing, fish and bait hang around piers.
This is the easiest way I've found to throw a net that's a six-footer or smaller. You can find long, involved, complicated methods all over the internet, but really, they aren't necessary. With some practice, this particular method is pretty much foolproof.
Make a loop in the end of the cord and create a slipknot. Place the slip knot around your left wrist.
Hold the net, just below the neck, in your left hand. Coil the net line loosely into neat, even coils, and hold them with your left hand. Raise your left arm. Go down a little over halfway down the length of the net, and grab the net with your right hand. Place that part of the net into your left hand, transferring the net from one hand to the other, sort of folding the net. You should have the line and most of the net in your left fist. The lead line should be dangling down.
Reach down and grab the part of the net that’s hanging down with your right hand and place the lead line in your teeth.
With your right hand, go along the lead line about two reaches, and hold that part of the net in your right hand. You’re ready to throw the net.
The mullet or other fish or bait that you're after won't just be swimming around in a circle in one spot, waiting to jump into your net. They'll be darting here and there, under the pier, near the pier, and everywhere else. You can't be everywhere at once, so you'll need help.
Enlist the aid of a "spotter." I've found that young children have excellent eyesight, and if you can find one that's really enthusiastic about fishing, he'll be your best bet. Little kids have boundless energy, too, so he won't give out quickly. Have him watch the water for the fish, while you're ready with the cast net.
Throwing and retrieving the net
If there’s even a slight breeze, you’ll want to throw the net with the wind. Not only will the motion help the net open, adhering to this rule will also help keep you from getting snagged or tangled on the pilings.
To throw the net, you’ll use an action similar to throwing a discus. You’ll be guiding the throw with your right arm and hand. Twist your body around to the left. Come around, swinging the net as you do so. Use a kind of lifting motion as you’re about to release the net. With practice, you’ll have the net opening up into perfect circles.
Once the net hits the water, give it a chance to sink before pulling it up. It has to get under the targeted fish in order to trap them in the net. Many netters pull in the line with little jerks to make sure the net closes properly. Pull the net up to the pier, using a hand-over-hand motion. If you’ve caught fish or bait that you want to keep, hold the net over your bait bucket or cooler and release it by grabbing the neck and pulling it up. You’ll be returning it to the position in which you started.
Read more about fishing:
- Attack of the Killer Manatee, with Videos
Several years ago, my husband, Johnny, and I spent our summer vacation at one of our favorite haunts Amelia Island, Florida. We visit the area fairly frequently. For one thing, its beautiful and has...
- Saltwater Fishing: Free Bait
If you've done much saltwater fishing, you know how expensive bait is. Even when the fish aren't biting much, you lose a lot of fresh and live bait to crabs and catfish. You also have to change your bait...
- Fishing Tips: Flounder
Good eatin' size. A four-pounder. This one weighed almost seven pounds. Flounder is one of the tastiest fish in the ocean. The flesh is white and flaky, and it has a mild taste. It's also low in fat and...
- Saltwater Fishing: Pier Fishing in Northern Florida
Bluefish Typical pier catch: black drum, mangrove snapper, flounder, whiting. I think I was born to fish, especially in salt water. I've done it all - surf fishing, deep sea fishing, offshore trolling,...
- How to Prepare and Cook Shark Meat
This shark produced some nice fillets! If you've ever eaten shark that was similar in consistency to a tennis ball, chances are that it wasn't properly prepared before being cooked. When done right, shark...
- Fishing Tips: How to Catch Sharks
Bonnethead shark. Fighting a toothy opponent. Atlantic sharpnose shark. Note: This article discusses shark fishing from a pier, the surf, the shore, or from a small boat. The tips provided are apropriate for...
More by this Author
The meat of the blue crab is considered by many to be the sweetest and best tasting of all crabs. You won’t get the large sections of meat that you get from the king crab or the snow crab, but the flesh from the...
- EDITOR'S CHOICE47
Information about crabbing, stone crab season, and blue crab season in Florida, along with regulations, great locations, and tips. Discount crab traps, crab nets, photos, maps, and videos included.
Tips for getting your disability claim approved quickly—from someone who's done it. Lots of good feedback and advice from readers, too!