Throwing a cast net is a useful skill for anglers to catch their own baitfish. While it takes practice to throw a cast net properly, following some basic steps can help novice cast netters consistently throw open, round nets to catch bait.
- Steps to Throw a Cast Net
- Tips for Beginners
- How can I choose the right size net for me?
- Is a heavier net easier or harder to throw?
- Where is the best place to practice throwing a cast net?
- What bait fish can I catch with a cast net?
- How do regulations for cast nets vary by area?
Steps to Throw a Cast Net
1. Prepare the Net
- Lay the net out flat to untangle the lead line weights.
- Attach the hand loop to your non-dominant wrist. This prevents losing the net when throwing.
- Coil the hand line over your non-dominant hand in 12-18 inch loops. More coils for larger nets, fewer for smaller nets.
|Net Size||Recommended Hand Line Coils|
|Small (4-6 ft)||8-12 coils|
|Medium (6-8 ft)||12-15 coils|
|Large (8-10 ft)||15-18 coils|
2. Arrange the Net
- Hold the net horn in your non-dominant hand over the coiled line.
- Gather the net midpoint in your dominant hand, then transfer to non-dominant hand.
- Split the bottom lead line in half between both hands.
3. Set Up for the Throw
- Place the lead line between your teeth or over your shoulder.
- Grip the lead line in your dominant hand 2-3 feet below your other hand.
- Rotate your body 90-120 degrees towards the target area.
4. Release and Follow Through
- Allow the net’s weight to pull it from your hands as you throw.
- Flick your wrists outward with fingers spread to open the net.
- Wait for the net to sink fully before retrieving it.
Tips for Beginners
- Start with small nets until you get the technique down.
- Practice on land before trying from a boat.
- Keep your motion fluid – don’t muscle the net.
- Aim your toes at the target area while throwing.
- Retrieving too quickly can lose baitfish – be patient.
How can I choose the right size net for me?
Consider your height and arm span. Taller casters can handle larger nets more easily. Also think about the area you’ll be fishing – larger areas call for bigger nets.
Is a heavier net easier or harder to throw?
Heavier nets open and sink faster, but require more skill to throw properly. Start with a 1/4 lb per foot net until you get the technique down.
Where is the best place to practice throwing a cast net?
Start by practicing on grass or other soft surfaces. When comfortable, move to docks or shallow water for more realistic practice.
What bait fish can I catch with a cast net?
Cast nets work well for many common baitfish like shad, mullet, menhaden, shrimp, and small minnows.
How do regulations for cast nets vary by area?
Check your local fishing laws. Some areas restrict net size, materials, or require permits. Make sure you comply with regulations.
With repetition, anyone can consistently throw a cast net perfectly. Be patient, start small, and practice the technique. Soon you’ll be catching baitfish like a pro!