Dear Captain " What's the best way to catch shiners? Is it illegal to use a cast-net for freshwater? "
Hi Mr. Futch,
You can cast-net shiners, just not gamefish such as bluegills or bass. Below I listed the freshwater cast-net rules for Florida. The best way to catch them is chumming them up with oatmeal or cattle range checkers. Once on the water, start in an area of the lake or pond where there are weeds or underwater moss.
Those are the places shiners hide in cover from the predator bass. I even pre-chum the area for a day or two to keep the shiners in big schools. So if you plan on chumming once, just give your chum some time to attract the shiners to you.
Methods of Taking Bait
Freshwater shrimp and golden shiners of any size, or other freshwater nongame fish, including catfish that are less than 8-inches total length may be taken for bait, unless specifically prohibited, by the following methods:
Cast nets having a stretched mesh size not greater than 1 inch in fresh waters of the state unless specifically prohibited. Minnow dip-nets not more than 4 feet in diameter. Minnow seines having a stretched mesh size not greater than 1 inch, a length not more than 20 feet, and a depth not more than 4 feet. Minnow traps not more than 24 inches in length and 12 inches in diameter, with a funnel entrance not more than 1 inch in spread. Any game fish taken by these methods must be released immediately. Taking of bait for the purpose of sale requires a commercial fishing license.
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Captain David M. Rieumont
The Online Fisherman Inc.