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441 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Realizing that in Florida, it is essential to catch own bait, I was wondering if anyone had suggestions on a good cast net. Mind you in Va., I buy all my bait for the most part and minnows are easy to catch using a bait trap. I have not casted for baits, but realize it may be essential from what I have seen in SC and Florida.

Of course, I want good quality that I could handle. Any suggestions on a good quality cast nets. I see that BassPro sells, Betts, Old Salt, etc. I want something easy to handle and of good quality. I've already decided on a 3/8 inch mesh, since I seemed to do much better with the little baits at Sebastian.

Sure would appreciate the info.

154 Posts
Hey CCC, this seems to be the topic of the week. Atticus just asked me about mine earlier.

Here's the scoop. From my experience, brand names dont matter for the smaller nets. When you go and buy like a 9' mullet net, then I'd suggest paying big bucks, but nets up to 5' I dont think it really matters.

I've got a cast net from Walmart, and it works just fine. Might not be the best quality, but I dont have a problem catching pilchards or small mullet. It's mono, 3/8" mesh and its a bit annoying from time to time because pilchards and small stuff sometimes get caught in the mesh, but thats ok.

When you go to buy I, I suggest finding a net where you can take it out of the box, hold it, just make sure the mono drawstrings arent cheapo 20lb test or something, it needs to be thick stuff, 100lb mono and up. I dont know what you guys have for bait up that way, or where exactly you'd be using the net.....it will make a difference if you've got a boat and want a cast net for menhaden (pogy, bunker, etc), because you'll want a bigger net than 5'. Now, if you dont have a boat and you just want it for mudminnows or something, up to 5' is fine.

You've always got your choice when it comes to nylon or mono, I dont think it really matters, and price is about the same. I've personally never used a nylon net, they're not as common in retail stores like Walmart or K-Mart.

Now onto casting the thing.....

Whenever you get it, if you dont know how to cast it, I'd suggest walking out into your front yard and making a fool out of yourself to passer-byes. They'll find it amusing to see a grown man flinging this strange net thing around his front yard, with no real purpose. Seriously though, you need to practice before you bring it near water with intentions of catching baitfish. There's nothing more aggrivating then having a huge school of baitfish swim by you, but your cast screws up and the net doesn't open and you've got no bait....not a happy feeling at all. Get some golf balls or something and put them in a small pile and try casting on them a few dozen times.....cast nets do become tiring after so many throws though.

Finally, if you're going to use it in saltwater, make sure to wash it out after you use it and hang it up to dry.

Hope this helps!

2,214 Posts
Here is some FYI info

How to select your cast net
By Jerry Dilsaver

The first thing everyone pretty much understands about cast nets is size. Cast nets are measured in the distance between the collar or neck and the lead line.

If you can picture the cast net as a circle, this measurement would be equal to the radius, or the distance from the center to the outside edge. If a cast net were laid out perfectly flat, it would be twice as wide as its size or radius. Therefore, a 6-foot cast net should open to cover approximately 12 feet (which is its diameter).

The next cast-net measurement most people understand is weight.

There’s the weight of the individual pieces of lead attached to the lead line that make the cast net sink, then there’s the total weight of the net.

Since water clings to the surface of the net, the lead line, and the leads themselves, it should be obvious a wet cast net would be somewhat heavier than a dry one.

While we often speak of different methods for throwing large or small cast nets, the difference is usually a means of accommodating the net’s weight or lack of it.

The next cast-net measurement is mesh size, which would be easily understood if it weren’t expressed in two different ways.

It’s generally understood the larger the mesh, the less resistance to anything passing through it, which applies to water or small baits moving through the net.

Of course a larger mesh net will sink faster, if all other factors are equal.

The preferred mesh measurement is the “bar” or “open” measurement and is the distance between adjacent parallel strands of the net.

The other mesh measurement is the “stretch” or “closed” measurement and is the distance between the ends of a single mesh that is drawn closed.

Actually the stretch measurement is taken from the inside of the knot at one end of the mesh and the outside of the knot at the other end of the mesh. The stretch measurement, which is used more often with gill nets than with cast nets, should be twice the distance of the bar measurement. Therefore, a net that’s ½-inch bar would be 1-inch stretched mesh.

A cast net also should be measured by the diameter (or thickness) of its individual strands. With all else equal, a cast net with a thinner diameter will sink quicker than a similar net of thicker diameter.

However, the thinner diameter net strands won’t be as strong as the thicker strands. So sometimes you must decide between a quick-sinking or a stronger cast net.

Color of the monofilament that comprises a cast net’s strands soon may become a factor in selection.

The first cast nets were made of nylon twine and nearly all were white. Next came monofilament, which is mostly clear or at least translucent.

Then some manufacturers started making their nets in colors, of which blue and green became the most common.

The latest color idea to come forward is the “No Spook” series of camouflage nets from Betts. These nets have several shades of colors running through them and are supposed to not spook baits while the net is in the air after being thrown.

I don’t know if it’s the color or not, but it’s immediately noticeable these nets don’t reflect as much light as similar nets made of clear mono.

The final factor in cast-net performance is construction.

Cast nets are made of panels sewn together or cut from a single piece of netting. Panels can be added horizontally or vertically. Currently the fastest sinking and easiest opening cast nets are made of 4 to 6 triangular-shaped panels sewn together vertically.

By tapering the panels to the top, almost all of the excess netting can be removed and not slow the net’s sinking ability.

Chaser Products claims to have a single-seam net that will perform like the multi-panel nets, but I haven’t been able to try one.

OK, now with all this information to consider, the question still is: “What’s the best net for me?”

Every fisherman has his or her own priorities. Because I often catch bait in deeper water, my top priority is a net that sinks quickly. And that goal can be accomplished in several ways.

A heavy net with a thin-thread diameter and a large mesh always will sink the fastest. Unfortunately, not every fisherman has the same priorities.

For some fishermen it’s most important to never “gill” bait. That means a net’s mesh has to be smaller and even with everything else the same, the net sinks a little slower.

If you’re chasing smaller bait, then you have to use a smaller mesh. If you’re in a confined area, you also may be forced to use a smaller net. With cast nets, everything is a matter of give and take.

However, adding weight isn’t always the absolute answer to speeding up sink rate.

With some of the smaller mesh sizes, the amount of weight actually has to be decreased so the net doesn’t close while sinking. Yes, a person might add enough weight to cause his cast net to close while it falls through the water column.

Constructing the right cast net is a science, albeit an inexact one. In other words, a lot of generalizations can be made about cast nets but there are very few absolutes.

Still, back to the main question: I suggest using a ¾-inch (bar measurement) heavy panel net for catching menhaden and similar size baits.

“Heavy” in this instance would be a net with at least 1 1/2 pounds of lead per foot of radius. I also would suggest using a 10-footer (radius) because it’s a little easier to throw and quicker-sinking than a 12-footer, while an 8-footer isn’t quite large enough to catch baits consistently.

If you never have to catch baits in deep water, you can get by with a 5/8-inch (bar measurement) and rarely gill any baits. The ½-inch and smaller versions of this net sink too slowly for large baits and will be frustrating.

For smaller baits, like minnows and shrimp, I’d suggest using a 3/8-inch (bar measurement), 6-foot (radius) net for all but the deepest water.

This net can handle about a pound of lead per foot before closing some as it sinks, and it’ll catch all but the smallest baits and rarely harm them. If you have to catch these baits in deeper water, my suggestion is to go to a larger net and try to cover more area.

In a nutshell, remember this little ditty:

Big mesh and heavy weight sink fast and catch big bait;

Lighter weight and smaller holes catch shrimp and minnows for the flounder poles.

Here are some past threads and other imputs from other members .


I have a 7 Footer of this brand net and I'm happy with it .
Which ever net you chose just take care of it . Like Joe said wash it and dry it ever time you use it .


22 Posts
I have had many cast nets. I go through about 1 per month because I cast over a lot of obstacles to get to the mullet in the back waters and suffer many rips and tears. I just buy the cheapest 4 footer I can find. Sports Authority has them for 15.99. I also have a Cracker 6 footer that I only use from piers and boats. It is of great quality and was pretty expensive. I would suggest going cheaper to start and then once you get good and want quality go for Calusa or Cracker nets! Good luck on your learning process!
Fish On!


441 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thanks to All

Those were some excellent advice on the subject. I think you are right. Perhaps I should buy something small since I am a new caster and then once I get some experience under my belt, try others. Excellent advice from all of you. I sure appreciate them.
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