Cast Net Use

Choosing the proper cast net is of the utmost importance if you are to be successful when trying to catch bait.

Choosing the proper cast net is of the utmost importance if you are to be successful when trying to catch bait. These few tips along with the chart below will help you in your bait catching efforts. Cast nets come in all different lengths, mesh sizes and weights. The two most important questions you have to ask before you purchase a cast net is:


1) The size of the bait you are trying to catch.

2) The depth of the water you are throwing your net in.

Asking these two questions and answering them will make you choose the right cast net for the job.

Basic Cast Net Facts

Four things control the sink rate of a cast net:

1) The size of the mesh opening - bigger the opening the faster it sinks.

2) The millimeter size of the mesh - thinner the diameter the faster it sinks.

3) The amount of weight - the more weight the faster in sinks.

4) The Shape of the weights - short round and compact the faster it sinks.

You will find many net companies that put different amount of weights on their nets. Most of the time ranging from ¾ lbs. per foot up to 1 ½ per foot. High quality nets will put a pound-and-a-half-of lead weight per foot (1½ lb). The weights of these nets are listed here:

6 foot net - 9 lbs

7 foot net - 10.5 lbs

8 foot net - 12 lbs

9 foot net - 13.5 lbs

10 foot net - 15 lbs

12 foot net - 18 lbs

14 foot net - 21 lbs


Cast nets nomenclature

Handline  Avg. length 20 to 30 feet


Brail lines  80 to 100 lbs. mono


Selvige mesh meets horn


Hangline  attaches mesh to leadline




Always remember that no one cast net can do it all!

Example: If you throw a ¼ inch mesh net on a school of large mullet, you will tear up your net. If you look at the chart below, a ¼ inch mesh net is made with approx 6 lb. test. The 6 lb. test will rip if a bunch of 3 lb. mullet get caught in the net. The proper net to use would be a mullet net which is made with at least 18-lb. test.

Also some net companies use two mesh size measurements. As you see in the chart below -- they use a stretch size and a square size. The square size is the important measurement. You really never need the stretch size, but I will explain it just so you have the knowledge. If you hang the net by the horn the mesh holes close up and the measurement from knot to knot will be the stretch size like ¾ stretch. If you open the net up as if you threw it on your bait, the mesh square would open and the measurement from one side of the open square to the other side of the square is your square measurement which on a ¾ stretch net would be 3/8th square.


The most versatile of all cast nets is the 3/8th square. So if you had to have only 1 cast net the 3/8th square should be everyone's choice.


Never wash your cast net in any kind of soap. Cast nets are made with monofilament, which is a petroleum based product. Soaps will take out the petroleum and the oils in the net, therefore making it brittle and weak. Just wash your cast net down with fresh water. Every few months spray down your net with any fabric softener and let it sit for at least a few hours. Then rinse it off with fresh water. Make sure you take all the fabric softener off the outside of the net, because it will become very slippery after you throw it in the water when catching your bait.


Stretch Square Type of Bait Dia Lb Water Depth Bait Size Misc
3/ 8 3/16 Glass minnows, Anchovy .20mm 4lb 4 Feet Tiny  
1/ 2 1/ 4 Small Scaled Sardines + .23mm 5lb 8 Feet 2 - 3 inches  
    Threadfins, creek chubs, killifish          
3/ 4 3/ 8 Scaled sadines, Threadfins, Pinfish .28mm 9lb 12 Feet over 3 inches  
1" 1/ 2 Large Threadfins, Finger Mullet .33mm 11lb 20 Feet over 5 inches Deep water, Bridges, Markers,
    Large Pinfish         Places of high current
1 1/ 4 5/ 8 Menhaden, Shad, Pogy, .40mm 17lb 60 feet 1 to 2 lbs Kingfish bait net
    Moss Bunker, Small Blue Runner          
2" 1" Small Mullet, Ladyfish, Blue Runner .52mm 26lb Anywhere 3 to 4 lbs  
2 1/ 2 1 1/ 4 Mullet .52mm 26lb Anywhere 3 to 4 lbs Common mullet net
3" 1 1/ 2 Roe Mullet .59mm 30lb Anywhere 5 lb + up Roe Laden Mullet
Cast Nets in blue are hard`to find          

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