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Saltwater Fishing Tips - Cast Nets: Tips for Easy Throwing, with Video

Updated on January 14, 2014

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!

Master caster Sean Hickox, of Waycross, GA, with a net of bait mullet.
Master caster Sean Hickox, of Waycross, GA, with a net of bait mullet.

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.

Tifton, Georgia's Jade Rutland grabs the net by the neck.
Tifton, Georgia's Jade Rutland grabs the net by the neck.

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.

Jade "folds" the net.
Jade "folds" the net.
How to hold the net. Sean is ready for a throw!
How to hold the net. Sean is ready for a throw!

The spotter

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.

Spotter: Jonathan Crow, of Mystic, GA.
Spotter: Jonathan Crow, of Mystic, GA.

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.




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    • profile image


      3 years ago Cast net

    • myawn profile image


      6 years ago from Florida

      I 've thrown a castnet it took some practice it's fun. When I was little my dad threw one for bait he also knew how to make them and sell them. I thought that was so cool to watch.

    • JasonPLittleton profile image


      7 years ago

      I enjoyed reading this hub. It would be fun to go fishing at saltwater.

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for reading, Turtle!

    • TurtleDog profile image


      8 years ago

      Thanks for the tips. I've been dying to try this out next time I'm at the shore. Thanks again. Voted up!


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