There are times when whitebait is all over a particular flat you’re on but for some unknown reason, they just won’t come to your chum. You can use a gallon of menhaden oil, but all that happens is big shiny schools of four-inchers are moving under your boat at 100 knots. You can see the schools moving, but you can’t get them to eat. If this happens, first try a sabiki. If those don’t work either, try a technique we call “run-and-gun”.
- Have one person (the runner) run the boat slowly, while the person throwing the net (the tosser) is on the bow.
- Pick a pattern you’re going to move the boat — probably identical to a drift pattern for the same flat, but with the boat motoring slowly rather then drifting.
- Slowly run the pattern. The tosser, who is on the bow, should watch the water for bait. That person is the only one who can see the bait. Remember that :) The runner cannot see them.
- As soon as the tosser sees the bait, he or she yells “Now!” or “Stop!” and immediately throws the net.
- The runner stops the engine, and, depending on tide and wind, even puts the engine in reverse.
Two things are important to watch for: which side of the boat the tosser saw the bait, and where the net was thrown (front, alongside, or slightly behind). If all is done right, and the timing between tosser and runner is accurate, the net will open and not be mis-shaped by the boat pulling it in the wrong direction. It’s well worth the effort to learn, and sometimes is the only way you’ll net bait. It does take practice to do it right, though, and even with experience the toss and the boat’s movement don’t always sync as planned.