Free Bait for Life

The casting net

When I first moved to a canal front home, a neighbor advised me, “Get yourself a casting net. You’ll have free bait for life.” The casting net has provided hours of enjoyment, as well as the promised supply of bait. I’ve even pulled out nice 22” mullet out with the net, and made delicious mullet stir fry, all thanks to my casting net.

Throwing the casting net requires a bit of technique and practice, but it’s well worth it. There’s a variety of techniques for throwing a net, but they all begin with the same preparation.

1) Loop the throw line.
If you’re right handed, Start with the end of the throw line around your left hand. Then loop the line making about 7 – 10 little 1 foot loops and hold then in the left hand.

2) Remove tangles
With your right hand, grab the round plastic circle (the horn) at the top of the net and hold up and make sure all the vertical monofiliment lines are straight. Then choke up on the net and pass the top of the net into your left hand. Now, still holding the net up, reach down and separate and tangled or uneven weights at the bottom of the net.

After this preparation the techniques vary. Many videos, like this one, show grabbing the net with your teeth. This doesn’t seem needed when throwing a smaller net. Still it helps to watch a large net being thrown:

Try a few techniques and see which works best for you. The main concept is to separate the skirt into at least three different sections so that when you throw the net , the sections spread out evenly forming a nice circle. If you have good separation before the throw, even a poor throw will at least give you sort of a triangle shape that may still get you some fish.

Here’s a guy throwing a 6 foot net pretty effectively, no teeth. Notice how he separates the skirt into three different sections.

And here’s a gent with a nice circle toss, with a much larger net. Again, no teeth.

After the throw , let the net sink from anywhere from 3 to 8 seconds depending on how deep your bait fish are. Then quickly retrieve the net with an even motion.

Once you get your own personal cast style down, you just need to figure out where the bait fish are. If it’s light out, wear your polarized sunglasses. Approach your dock quietly. Before you get on the dock, stop and look for unusual signs in the water such as ripples. If fish are swimming near the surface you may even see shimmering from the sun’s reflection. Now your ready for your first cast of the day. It’s a surprise attack. Fish will scatter when they her the splash, but for the ones under your net, it’s too late.

Throwing a bad cast on your first toss of the day is frustrating. You feel like you’ve scared away all the fish. But with patience and practice, this will happen less often. It helps to vary your cast locations to different parts of the canal. After a cast to the left of the dock, we like to throw one out to the other side of the dock. This gives the fish back on the left side time to settle down and get back to their normal routine. While lots of casting can scare fish away, sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason to a catch. We’ve caught fish with really poor throws, and even on repeat throws to the same exact spot. The main thing is to have fun, and improve your technique. When casting stops being fun it’s time to move on to something else.

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2 Responses to Free Bait for Life

  1. Pingback: Bait Fishing | The Backyard Fisherman

  2. Pingback: Fishing Trip Checklist | The Backyard Fisherman

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