When you want to catch small fish, it’s time to get your throwing arm ready. Because the best way to get small bait fish is by using a cast net.
The cast net is a particular type of fishing method where the angler throws the net out into the water and immediately pulls it back in, reeling in the small fish that would be difficult to catch with a regular rod.
Numerous anglers find cast nets to be an excellent way to get their hands on challenging to catch fish, as well as those little ones that you struggle to catch with fishing rods. These weighted nets are excellent for catching species like catfish and shad, as well as smaller fish.
Whether or not anglers really need a cast net, it comes down to just what your fishing needs actually are. For example, if you own a business and are struggling to bring in enough fish, it might be a good idea to invest in one to raise your numbers. If it’s just you and you’re fishing for fun, the net might not be necessary. At the very least, a cast net can be a lot of fun to practice with If you want to improve your skills for a big excursion coming up.
Before you have fun with a net, there are several things to consider. One of the most important is whether or not local laws prohibit the use of cast nets. This is exceptionally common, especially in areas where there are endangered species, and the catching of undersized fish is illegal. One prime example is Michigan, which has strict laws about what can be taken from the Great Lakes.
Another thing to consider is what you want to catch and what size and materials would work well for your situation. The majority of recreational cast nets can be anywhere from 6-20 feet in diameter. It’s important to remember that cast nets are measured by radius, so the numbers are halved (3-10).
Most states have laws about the maximum size of cast net that the average individual can use. While most commercial nets can have a 15 foot radius, the nets top out at the 6 feet range for non-commercial purposes.
In general, when looking for baitfish, it’s not necessary to have such a large net because the mesh needs to be small enough to trap the creatures. On average, the larger a net, the bigger the mesh, which becomes a problem when seeking tiny baitfish.
There are some standard rules for mesh size, depending on the size of the baitfish you want. These sizes range from 3/16 inches for a fish that is 1-2 inches in length, while a 1-inch mesh is perfect for fish that are 10 inches and up.
The material of the net will also be significant. Throughout history, anglers used nets made of natural materials like cotton and linen, but these have been phased out in favor of stronger synthetics like nylon and monofilament.
There are a few fundamental differences between nylon and monofilament.
At the end of the day, it comes down to an individual choice as to which one may work best for your individual fishing needs.
Finally, remember the weights on cast nets are measured by the amount of pounds per foot of net around the circumference. When there are more pounds per foot, the net will sink faster and catch fish more rapidly, but will definitely be more challenging to throw. You need to know your strength and capabilities before picking the weight on a cast net.
Out of all of the cast nets we looked at, the Drasry Saltwater Fishing Cast Net is absolutely one of the best currently available on the market. It’s made of thin yet durable monofilament and has a radius of 4-9 feet depending on which size an angler prefers. The weights are midline, allowing experienced anglers to cast with ease and rapidly pull the net back without losing their baitfish.
The mesh on this net measures ⅗-in., making it perfect for catching shad and larger fish like catfish.
Extra lines are added to the bottom of the net, ensuring it sinks quickly and forms a tight seal. The additional lines also add protection to help prevent tearing during regular use.
One of the most significant features of the SouthBend Monofilament CNM03 is that it is genuinely handcrafted, which gives the net a beautiful appearance and the excellence that comes with excellent craftsmanship. This net opens easily and sinks quickly, making it perfect for smooth fishing experience for anglers who really want to bring in the bait. The product also comes with a plastic case for convenient carrying and storage.
Overall, the measurements of the SouthBend Monofilament make it great for a beginner who needs to learn the ropes of the cast net. It’s small size, tiny mesh, and monofilament design makes it perfect for catching the smallest of bait, including anchovies.
The RUNACC Folded Fishing Net Trap is definitely a unique cast net because of its cylindrical shape. Having a 6.3 inch radius, this is one of the smallest nets currently available, but also one that has a host of applications. We found it useful for catching the smallest of fresh and saltwater creatures, including crabs, fish, lobsters, shrimps, crawfish, crawdad, and the ever-popular anchovy.
One excellent feature on this cast net is its zippers, which make it easy to open and close the net and remove the trapped fish from the interior. It’s also made of nylon, which is the stronger of the two common cast net materials.
If someone wants an inexpensive net with numerous applications, this could be the net for them.
Like a couple of other products, the Hurricane Cast Net is made of monofilament, which is perfect for catching small fish like shad and anchovies. This net comes in a plastic box that is ideal for carrying and storage. The box also has instructions written on it to help beginners when they are just learning how to cast the net.
This net is of average size, measuring 10 feet in diameter or with a 5 feet radius. The mesh is also quite ordinary, measuring ⅜-in. This can be used for both fresh and saltwater baitfish and is quite well made, able to resist tearing even when handled roughly.
If you enjoy saltwater fishing, then the Goture might be for you. This particular product boasts an impressive range of radiuses designed to suit anglers of all experience levels. Because of the monofilament and flexibility, we found that this net is easy to throw and sinks quickly, allowing anglers to catch baitfish speedily and efficiently. The only downside is that the larger nets can become unwieldy fast, and should only be used by experts to prevent tangling during a throw.
These nets are expensive but are perfect for deep water because of the rapidly sinking weights. The mesh varies but tends mostly to be ⅜-in., perfect for the majority of the baitfish that can be caught in the United States. Some fishers have reported great success in capturing a ton of shad for later use.
The Betts Cast Net is excellent because it comes with a free utility box for easy transportation and has a mesh that measures ⅜-in. This mesh size is excellent for fish that are between 3-4 inches long, which is most of the common baitfish that can be found in the United States. This cast net is made of nylon, which is extremely tough and perfect for people who want something great for heavy duty fishing.
Unlike a few other cast nets, this one includes instructions on the best way to catch baitfish. This net is perfect for individuals who are just starting to use cast nets for regular angling. The size of the mesh is also great for catching alewife and some shad.
The Fitec is a monofilament net that is perfect for capturing a large amount of fish in a short period of time. It comes with a cuff designed to protect and soothe the throwing wrist during constant use and also includes a free throwing aid. The mesh measures ⅜-in., making it perfect for fish that are between 3-4 inches long.
Because this cast net is made of monofilament, it has thin fibers that are difficult to see, making it excellent for entrapping a large quantity of fish. The ¾-lb. lead also makes this a more substantial net, so it sinks quickly and can be pulled back out, increasing the fishing productivity of the angler who uses it.
Just as baitfish require different nets, so too do anglers. While our absolute favorite is the Drasry Saltwater Fishing Cast Net because of its versatility and mid-range mesh, you might prefer one of the other great products on this list. All of these nets have been selected for their value, so your pick is going to come down to your budget, preference between nylon and monofilament, and what size baitfish you are interested in.
Now go out there and show those bait who’s boss!