If you want to catch bait at the Skyway Bridge at this time of the year, a 10 foot or a 12 foot and 3/8ths inch mesh cast net is what you need. If you use a bigger mesh like a 1/2 inch or 5/8ths mesh, you will gill a lot of your baits. If you use a 1/4 inch mesh the net will sink very slowly and will catch no bait.
In a few weeks you should be able to step up the mesh size to the 1/2 inch. The bait will have grown big enough where they will not get hung up in your net. The 1/2 inch mesh will also sink faster. Something else while catching bait at the Skyway Bridge: Many anglers just motor up with their outboard or trolling motor and do what they call, "rodeo the bait." That's basically throwing the net without anchoring and chasing it until you catch some. Sometimes it works well when the bait is everywhere. But I have found it always better, safer and more consistent to anchor and chum.
These last few weeks the bait has been so thick at the Skyway Bridge, that when chumming you need two anglers to pull hundreds of pounds of bait over the gunnel. When you do throw the cast net at the Skyway Bridge, after you throw the net, it is a good idea to tie the hand-line off on the cleat. This will prevent you from being pulled overboard by the weight of the bait or if you cast net a big shark or porpoise. I attached a photo of bait that just came out of the horn of the cast net. The net had thousands of baits that filled two 40 gallon baitwells. What you see in the photo is just the overflow.
Click here for a cast net chart that might be useful.
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