Fish Stories: Throw a Cast Net

Serious anglers dating back to ancient times have relied on cast nets...

May 11, 2007

Serious anglers dating back to ancient times have relied on cast nets to catch small fish, shrimp, and bait. Cast nets are simple and efficient to use – once you know how to throw them, that is. Not an easy task.

The net is a meshed disk with small weights sewn into its perimeter. Throwing one is as much technique as art form. Those who learn the ropes will haul in what they were after. Those who don’t will end up with a tangled mess, frightening away what they were trying to catch.

The secret is all in the preparation. When gathered properly in your hands, a cast net will throw easily, spread out in a full circle on the water, sink quickly, and gather the fish by closing in on itself as you retrieve it.


Want to cast a net like a pro? The following technique will get you started. After that, use the basics to experiment and find out what works best for you.


Make your first casting attempts with a small net. A 6′ (diameter) one is best, going no larger than 8′. Before casting from a boat, practice in your backyard. This way you’ll see exactly how the net lands – whether it clumps up or makes a perfectly spread circle. Try your best to avoid sticks or rocks that might snag the net.



Before using your net, soak it overnight in a bucket filled with two gallons of water and a capful of fabric softener. The solution will make the net more flexible, allowing it to be thrown easier and lie flatter on the water.


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