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I still have my first net, a 5 foot Eagle claw with 3/8 mono, and 1lb of lead per sq. ft. (25 bucks at Dick's Sporting Goods). It took me about 25 minutes to learn to throw the net in the yard with help from a youtube video. Now that I'm comfortable with my cast, I'm moving up to a 7 footer with a little more weight. Best of luck.
 

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First, take all the good advice given above, like learn with a small, cheap one, etc. Bigger equals heavier which can get tiring. But an 8-footer isn't just 3 feet bigger than a 5-footer. It's 2.5 TIMES bigger. Here's the square footage of nets if different sizes (pic).

I'm considering a bigger net for shrimping.

Hope I got my formula correct.
Line Font Material property Number Pattern
 
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