Cast net has been one of the most popular fishing nets for catching bait fish. It is a type of fishing net which takes the shape of a circle when it is fully spread. Around its edges, it has weights which are known as leads, spread at equal distances between them.
A little cast net’s history
Its origin can be traced back from early years. Although there are references to cast nets in the bible, the oldest cast net discovered dates back to ancient Egypt, around 1000 B.C, with advancements been made in materials and designs of the nets over the years.
Early cast net designs did make use of grasses when weaving them until people moved to cotton in the construction of the nets. Later on, developments were made, and nylon became the go to material for making cast nets. While nylon nets were popular at a time, they have faded out of fashion with the introduction of net webbing made by machines using monofilament materials.
Construction of Cast Nets
As earlier said, cast net is quite popular in fishing, and there have been advancements in design and equipment selection over the years. Through these developments, one pattern of design has been adopted in the construction of most cast nets.
There are different parts of the cast net which are necessary for its efficient use. Below are a few of these parts. They include:
The Net: this is very important since it is what traps the fishes. It is made in the shape of rectangular meshes and uses a monofilament or sometimes a nylon multifilament material.
The Hand Line: the hand line, or draw string, is attached to the wrist of the user when the cast net is used. It is a long rope with its fixed end connected to the swivel of the cast net.
Leads: these are also referred to as weights and evenly spaced around the outer perimeter of the net. They are responsible for sinking the net to the bottom of the water.
Lead Lines: this is a rope which runs along the outer perimeter of the net. It is connected to the leads or weights of the net.
Swivel: the swivel consists of two metal rings which are connected and also turns at the opposite ends.
Braille Lines: these lines pass through the horn and work along with the swivel to connect the hand line to the lead line.
The Horn: the horn connects to the net and it is used in the opening and closing of the net.
How the Cast Net Works?
The cast net is easy to use once you understand the techniques behind it and how the different parts function to make it efficient.
A cast networks as follows:
- The net is thrown or cast into the water over a target area
- As the net lands on the water, it starts to sink due to the lead weights. The speed at which it sinks depends on the weight of the leads.
- Once the weights have settled at the bottom, the hand line is pulled which draws in the lead line since both the hand line and the weight lines are attached to the braille lines at opposite ends.
- Drawing in the lead line forms an enclosure which then traps the fishes
- The net is then pulled out of the water, and the net is opened by pulling up the horn to release the fish.
Cast nets are used to catch bait fish, and most of these fish stay together in groups or in school. Examples of fish which are caught using cast nets are the mullet, shrimps, minnows, the mackerel scads or Akule, the Catfish or red mullet and the Parrot fish.
What is the Best Nets for Catching Various Sea Animals?
There are different types of cast nets used for various sizes of bait fish. Cast nets can be a minnow net, bait net or a mullet net. Minnow nets are used for small sized baits from 1 inch to 3 inches, bait nets are used for regularly sized baits from 3 inches to 12 inches, and mullet nets are used for larger baits with sizes from 12 inches and above.
Shrimp: a minnow net can be used in catching shrimps. The size of the mesh of a minnow net can be 3/16 inches or ¼ inches
Minnow: a minnow is also caught using a minnow net. The small size of the minnow net which can be ¼ inches or 3/16 inches makes it suitable for the minnow
Mullet: a mullet is a large fish, and therefore a mullet net is best for catching this kind of fish. The mesh of a mullet net can be 1 feet or 1 feet ¼ inches
Shad: the cast net used in catching a shad usually depends on either summer or winter. During the summer periods, they can be found in shallow waters while they usually swim in deeper waters during winter. This means that you will need a net with a large mesh and heavier leads during the cold season and you can use a lighter mesh during the warmer periods.
How to Throw Cast Net?
When using cast nets, there are different places from which you can decide to fish. You can choose to go to deep water areas, a shallow area, and also any of the two can be done using a boat.
On a Boat
Throwing your cast net from a boat requires skill to be able to perform effectively. When casting from a boat, you need to move slowly and carefully, so you do not scare away the fishes.
Turning off your boat engines can prove to be an effective way to get within range of your target fishes without them swimming away. Another advice is to cast your net in a manner that doesn’t cause too much disturbance on the water surface.
Casting in shallow waters may be a bit tricky. You can choose to cast from shore or a boat. Either way, you should tread carefully as any awkward movement will cause the fishes to swim away.
When casting your net, you should throw lightly because if you cause an excess disturbance on the surface of the waters, the fishes are likely to swim away. You can try using a bottom pocket cast net for shallow waters or a drawstring cast net.
You should also consider casting at night. This is because during the day, boat activities on the water cause most fishes to swim out into deeper waters.
When casting your nets in deep waters on a boat, you want to use a net that can sink faster and stays open while it sinks downwards.
Some nets are sold pre-made with plastic wings to keep the net open as it sinks. If you don’t have one of this, you can use duct tape around the perimeter of the net.
This creates a wing on the net and ensures it stays open as it sinks downwards. You should also use a net which has a wider mesh for deep waters.
Why Using Cast Net Instead of a Fishing Rod?
Cast nets come with a lot of advantages compared to using fishing rod. Here are a few factors why you should consider using cast nets.
Catch More Fish At a Time
Using a cast net maximizes your time and effort in catching more fish as against fishing rod that might end up taking most of your time with just a few catches.
A cast net is more affordable and also uses cheap baits such as crumbs, bread, crackers and scrapes to attract fish to the net. While you might probably spend a couple of bucks on artificial baits using a fishing rod, a few innards of gutted fish will attract the highest number of catches when using a cast net.
Does not Require Much Technique
Using a cast net is much easier to do than a fishing rod. A simple of way of doing this is getting the net fully open with bait already inside, and then the next step is to cast the net.
But if you decide to use a fishing rod, then you have to first take note of the type of reel to use, the type of bait and the best way to cast the rod for a maximum catch.
Can Be Cast From Many Terrains
Whether you stand on the shore to fish, or you trawl from a boat or by wading, you can catch a huge amount of fish every time you cast a net into the water. Unlike fishing rods, anglers can cast their net down up to 350 feet for a vast excursion.
How to Choose the Best Cast Net?
Choosing the right cast net can be a little tricky and confusing as there are a lot of options to pick from. So if you want to choose the best cast net for your fishing adventure, here a few factors you have to consider.
Select the Size of Mesh
The size of mesh which you are going to choose for your net is primarily dependent on the size of fish or baits you intend to use the net to catch. While you may be considering buying a net with a small mesh size thinking it would perform efficiently for fishes of all sizes, it doesn’t work this way.
If you are working towards catching small fishes, you want to go for a mesh with a small size while if you are aiming for a bigger fish, you should consider a mesh with a larger size.
A net with a small mesh will not sink as fast as one with a bigger mesh. This means that when trying to catch a bigger fish, the fish will have ample time to swim away from the net area.
Choosing the Net Size
The net size of the cast net refers to the radius of the cast net. The radius of the cast net determines the amount of fish you can catch within a period. A small radius means you have a little catch for each throw while a large net means more fishes per throw.
While a net with a large radius means more fish in shorter time, it requires you to have perfected on your throwing technique to be effective when using the net.
The Material of the Net
You can decide on a net between a monofilament material and nylon material which is most common. Compared to nylon, monofilament material offers less visibility in the water. It’s also lightweight and sinks much faster. This makes it a more welcome choice.
Total Weight of the Net
The total weight of the net determines the distance you can easily throw the net. You can also use it to assess how many times you can throw the net before you get tired. As the net gets wet, it becomes heavier. You need to pick a net which you are going to be comfortable throwing for a long time.
Consider the Weight of Leads
The weight of the leads controls how fast your net will sink in water. A cast net with an increased weight of lead means it will sink quickly and is useful for catching fishes which move fast and for deep waters.
A cast net with leads which are not too heavy, sinks slowly but it is also useful if you plan on fishing in shallow waters. There is more to the performance of a net than its weight, materials selection and its construction are also important.
How to Throw and Store A Cast Net Without Getting It Tangled?
- Connect the free end of the hand line to your wrist (left wrist if right handed) and tighten it.
- Roll up the remaining length of the hand line into coils on the hand it is attached.
- Pick up the net by the horn and make a slightly bigger loop around your hand
- Divide the remaining length of the net into two halves at the perimeter where the weights are between your left and right hand.
- You would need to hold the portion of the net in your right hand somewhere else. You can place it over the thumb of your left hand or hold it with your teeth.
- Pick the lead lines and then hold the portion originally on your right hand in your palm.
- While maintaining a stationary leg position, turn your upper body towards your left and then throw the net.
To store a cast net without getting it tangled, you should have different buckets for each cast nets. These buckets should also have holes which drain water from the nets after each use.
When storing the net in the bucket, put the perimeter with the leads in first and then make a loop with the remaining length of the net. This way, the hand line and horn are at the top so when you pull it out, it comes out straight.
What are the Best Cast Nets on the Market?
South Bend Mono Fil Cast Net
South Bend is a premium cast net that comes in a 3-foot and half version. Although it is not lightweight, it does come with an environmentally friendly weight to help you catch fish. You can use this cast net to catch your own bait, catch Meadows, and different fish. The South Bend is ideal for catching both bigger and smaller fish.
This heavy-duty net is approximately three-quarters of a pound of steel per radius foot, which gives the net the ability to sink fast. We also like the idea that it comes with you throwing instruction on how to cast the net effectively.
The South Bend is one of the best nets around that can really hold and keep your fish all trapped inside while pulling the net up together.
Betts Old Salt Premium Cast Net for Bait Fish with Utility Box
Old salt is one of the most popular nets on the market known for its high-quality performance for years now. With a weight size of 1-pound per foot, this cast net sinks a lot faster and allows you to throw the net with so much ease.
You can find it in both 6-Feet by ⅜-Inch or 4-feet ⅜-Inch. It also comes with an extra-long rope for longer throws and offers a large opening to can help you catch a significant amount of fish within a short time.
Of course, the net is pretty easy to throw without spending more time prepping the net for longer throws.
The old salt premium cast is perfectly for bait fishing. It also features tool box for storing lures, tools, hooks and other extras. Just like the South Bend, the Bait Cast offers you an instructional manual on how you can effectively catch more bait. If you are looking for a Premium cast Net that is simple to use and will help you catch more baits, then the Betts Old Salt Premium Cast Net is for you.
Hurricane Cast Net
If you are looking for a heavy duty net that is not only sturdy but also well made to serve you for a long time, then Hurricane cast Net the best choice for you.
This is a beginner net for casting bait fish for both fresh and saltwater. Although it is prone to having a little hole in it, it can still hold well against crabs shoals and oysters.
Made from high-quality monofilament braille lines, the cast net comes in handy in catching baits as well as larger fish. It also features a 5-feet radius and ⅜ inch mesh size to give you the best catching performance. The Hurricane also sinks in quickly and catches baits with ease, giving great value for your money.
If you are looking for an affordable cast net that is perfect for a newbie, then the Hurricane Cast Net is a win-win deal.
Ahi USA 50 Outfitter Series Monofilament Cast Net
Another good quality cast net on our list Abi USA cast net. For over 5 decades now, the company had been making high quality cast nets. This monofilament cast net has been handcrafted with the attention to detail by hand gluing all tied knot to ensure a non-slip design.
The 50 series is ideal for shrimping and catching bait with ease. It provides a chip resistant vinyl coated steel that enables the net to sink easily in the water. The Ahi also comes in ⅜ square mesh alongside 80lbs test braille lined with 1 lbs. per radius foot that bears the seal of quality craftsmanship reflecting the highest level of quality control.
One of the downsides to this net is the ropes are not as durable as other brands listed above. It could easily be ripped open a little bit by oysters. But the good side is can easily fix it immediately and start using it again.
The nylon webbing is quite too stiff, and the plastic covered sinkers do not sink as fast as you would desire. The lines aren’t as long as we expected and so most you’d have to throw it off your wrist.
However, these downsides are by no means a deal breaker as the 50 series still maintain the spot as one of the best cast nets for anglers.
Mako Bait Cast Net 3/8″ Square Mesh
The Mako bait cast net is a monofilament netting system that is craftily and skillfully designed for beginners to catch bait fish. The cast net is sturdy and well-constructed to give you the best performance.
The net is easy to throw and offers a lightweight design of 1.0 lb of lead weight per foot, which is perfect for those who are starting out and with experienced throwers.
The Mako bait cast net features a 3-inch to 6-inch size and comes with a hand line. It also delivers 80-pound test brail line alongside 25-foot hand line that lets you catch fish such as pinfish, shiners, Silversides, Greenbacks and larger fish.
Featuring a ⅜ size, the Mako Bait Cast is excellent for trapping both bait fish and larger fish. The Mako Bait Cast Net is perfect for both beginners and experienced anglers who are looking for a budget friendly cast net that offers one of the best performances. Throwing the net and unloading bait into a bucket is easy. Thanks to its suppleness and less stiff design for easy handling and the ability to sink the deeper.
How to Clean and Maintain Your Cast Net?
Cleaning and maintaining your cast net is necessary if you want it to last longer. There are some easy steps you can follow to keep your cast nets properly. After each trip, you should do the following:
- Use clean water to rinse the net.
- Soak the net in a mixture of fabric softener and clean water.
- Allow it to soak for long periods so the softener can get to all parts of the net.
- Remove the net and rinse the net properly using clean water.
- Hang the net to dry and ensure the lead weights are touching the ground. This prevents the knots on the net from getting tight.
- Do not put the net under sunlight for as long as this could damage the monofilament material.
- Store the net in a dry environment under controlled conditions.
While these steps are essential, it is also important you check your cast net for any part which has been cut or torn before and after each use. By identifying such conditions on time, you can make the necessary repairs on the net and prevent it from getting damaged more than it already is.
Using Cast nets for fishing can be a fun venture. They are easy to use, and they come constructed with the most durable materials which can ensure you get a good amount of use from the net. Additionally, when the cast net is stored appropriately, they can last for a long time to come. Regardless of the kind of sea animal you love catching, there is always a cast net to suit your needs.