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I’ve asked several local bait shops in and around the Tampa Bay/Clearwater area and have gotten so many mixed suggestions. Some say 8'-10’ 1/4” mesh net with at least 1.3lb lead, while others say 8’-10’ 3/8" net with at least one pound of lead.

I fish the Gulf shores when surf fishing and at other times piers and bridges; usually, and more often than not,I’m tossing bought shrimp (which gets expensive) under bridges or into inlet passes. I’m hoping to catch white bait/scaled sardines/pilchards, pinfish and finger mullet, while avoiding glass minnows when possible. Water depth is usually less than 10’; normally and within throwing distance, I’d say mainly 2’-6’ water column. I plan to buy another smaller or larger backup net later but for the time being, financially, I’m looking for net to start with. My plan is to buy a 1/4” or 3/8” now, then buy a smaller or larger net down the road.

Can anyone please provide your thoughts between a 1/4” or 3/8” cast net from shore/bridges? I'd greatly appreciate it.
 

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I use an 8 ft 3/8 mesh with 1 lb per foot at the skyway and everywhere else. If there is small whitebait around they are a pain,they get stuck and ultimately killed trying to remove them. So i keep a cooler for dead bait to use as chum, and the live ones in the well.
I never let "well try" not to let it sink to the bottom unless i know i am over just sand and grass.If the bait is on top and im in deeper water then 10 ft, i toss let sink for a 1,2,3 count and snatch shut.. usually load up on just a couple tosses.
If you are deeper and the bait is there and current isn't screaming.. try to chum em up i use jack mackerell mixed with oatmeal or cornmeal and some fish oil.. and when they come up pancake there azz's.
Just my opinion and how i get bait..
 
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