How To:

Cast Net Selection For Bait

Author: Sandesh Sukhdeo

How To Choose Your Cast Net

My Introduction To Cast Nets

I have been fishing since I was 5 years old. But surprisingly I did not get a fishing rod first. Instead my Grandpa made me a 2.5ft custom cast net and he gave it to me for my 5th birthday. I learned how to catch mullet and different kinds of bait. We would always use the finger mullet for bait and take the "hog legs" home for dinner.

Fast Forwarding 15 years I am now throwing 7 and 8ft nets in the backwaters for mullet and pinfish and 9 and 10 foot nets for Ballyhoo, Pilchards, Goggs and Cigar Minnows offshore. I still do target large mullet occasionally when they are hanging around. But most of my cast netting is for bait these days.

Types Of Cast Nets

There are different kinds of sizing for the mesh. As well as different  pound per foot rating of weight.  That sizing amounts to how small the holes in the mesh are. The standard Cast Net has 3/8 inch mesh and has 3/4lb of lead per foot. This style of cast net can catch most baitfish you need for a great day of fishing.

Now getting in to our specialty net sizes.

Micro Mesh Cast Nets

3/16 inch mesh with 1 pound of lead per foot. I do not own a net like this but my friend uses a net like this to catch glass minnows and green backs. The smaller mesh allows you to target these smaller baits and it allows you to not "gill" the baits in the cast net.

Small Mesh Cast Nets

1/4 inch mesh with 1pound of lead per foot. I use a net similar to this for catching pilchards and smaller finger mullet in deeper water and I also use this style for shrimping because it has a faster sink rate.

Medium Mesh Cast Nets

1/2-5/8 inch mesh with 1 pound of lead per foot. These style of nets work great for offshore and inshore bait. I have used nets like this to catch Ballyhoo, Goggs, Pinfish, and Mullet as well as Pilchards and Cigar Minnows. This net has a good sink rate and bit larger mesh helping it to sink faster.

Large Mesh Cast Nets

1 inch - 1/12 inch mesh with 1.25-1.5lb of lead per foot. These nets work great for commercial fishing or as a mullet net. I own an 8ft Betts Mullet net and it works great. It sinks fast and traps all the mullet I need. I do not use this net for finger mullet. Only eating size mullet.

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