A cast net, or throw net, is a valuable part of any angler’s arsenal. Learning how and when to toss a cast net can take your fishing experience to a new level.
Available in sizes from about four feet to 12 feet, cast nets have a series of weights attached to the edges – at around one pound per foot. This makes the larger nets remarkably heavy, requiring strength and experience, so beginners may find that smaller nets are easier to work with when mastering the technique.
Throwing techniques vary from person to person, but most anglers coil the net in one hand, leaving the weighted end to dangle while holding the rope and hand loop in the other hand. The net is then thrown with a graceful, circular motion, opening it up to spread out over the water. The weighted edge immediately sinks to the bottom, effectively closing the net around the area where it was thrown. A retrieval clamp on the net closes the net around the bait, allowing the angler to pull the net in with whatever bounty may be trapped inside. Best thrown in open waters without branches or other debris, cast nets can be tossed from shore, while wading, or from the side of a boat. Cast netting is an excellent way to find bait that is both fresh and appealing to the kind of fish you’re going after.
Though contemporary nets are usually made of nylon with lead weights, traditional nets were made of everything from local grasses and reeds to fabric rope with clay weights. Learning to throw a cast net well is worth the time and effort involved. Using this fascinating skill does more than give you access to live bait – it also links you to a fishing technique used for thousands of years by fishermen throughout history.