The 8 Best Cast Nets
We spent 39 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. The possibilities with cast nets aren't quite endless, but there are a lot. Whether you are looking to catch bait for bigger fish, make a living as a fisherman, or just supplement your income, one of these will be perfect for the job. They come in a variety of sizes and weights, and can be had at prices that will work for any budget. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best cast net on Amazon.
How To Choose A Cast Net
With practice, one fishing tool can catch all sorts of different fish.
If you are fishing off of a dock or pier, for example, you need a cast net with a long tether attached to it.
As the name clearly suggests, a cast net is a fishing tool that is thrown -- or cast -- into the water by hand. Using a cast net is one of the oldest and most effective ways to catch fish. While the use of these time honored tools may seem easy in the hands of an experienced fisherman, proper net fishing can take years to master. That's why it's of extra importance that you use a great cast net when learning this method. The better the net you use, the faster your skills and technique will improve.
Before you choose which cast net to buy, first consider how and where you will use your net. If you are fishing off of a dock or pier, for example, you need a cast net with a long tether attached to it. If you are going after fish in waters deeper than a foot or two, you need a cast net that will sink quickly and won't let swift swimmers escape as it descends through the water. If you're going after larger fish, you need a larger net that can withstand the weight and the pull of strong swimmers.
One of the most common reasons people use a cast net is to catch smaller fish that will be used as bait in the hunt for larger game fish. If you're after bait fish, you need a cast net with an exceptionally tightly woven pattern so even the smallest minnows, goldfish, anchovies, or other variety of common baitfish can't wriggle out of your net. That often means a smaller overall net, but that's not a problem, as you will usually be on the hunt for bait fish in shallow waters anyway.
Cast net experts agree that these nets work best in waters not deeper than the net's radius -- note that cast nets are always measure by radius, not by full diameter, so a net that is said to be six feet across is actually going to be twelve feet in total. The logic behind this water depth to net ratio is that this sizing creates a capture area that spans the distance from the seafloor to the top of the water.
Interestingly net fishing is arguably the only good way to catch some fish, such as many varieties of mullet, as not all fish with go after baited hooks, and as some fish are quite particular about which lures or bait they will go after. Only net fishing can reliably catch all sorts of different sea creatures ranging from carp to crabs to shrimp. With practice, one fishing tool can catch all sorts of different fish. If you want a versatile cast net, consider one that is of average size and that has long throw line. Cast nets with a radius of around eight feet tend to be the most common size of cast nets, and are a good choice for use while you wade in the water or as you fish off of a boat or platform.
How To Use A Cast Net
The first step to properly using a cast net is securing the net's throw line to your arm. Many are the cast nets that have been lost by being inadvertently tossed out into the water without the tether secured to an absent minded fisherman's wrist.
A good throw of a cast net is one on which the net opens fully.
A good throw of a cast net is one on which the net opens fully. This starts with the net being properly prepared when held in your hands before the toss. First make sure the net is free of snags and tangles, then take hold of the net's top with one hand and gather it near its midpoint in the other hand. The net should be pulled taut between your two hands.
Now curl the section held taut into a loop and take hold of the midpoint with the same hand that is holding the top of the net. With your other hand, take hold of a section of the bottom, open edge of the net -- many people will hold onto one of the weights at the bottom of the net -- with your non dominant hand. Throw the net with your dominant hand, letting go of the bottom half of the net as soon as you have released with your other hand.
If properly thrown, the cast net will open to its full diameter just before it hits the water and then sinks, capturing any fish below it. It's a good idea to practice using your cast net away from water, as it will become more difficult to throw once it is saturated. Grassy fields are a great place to practice.
A Brief History Of Net Fishing
Fishing with a net is one of the oldest human endeavors that remains common to this very day. The earliest known example of a fishing net is known as the Antrea Net. It dates from approximately 8300 BCE, making it well over ten thousand years old. The Antrea Net was made from woven willow and used bark floats and stone weights not unlike the weights attached to a modern cast net.
Net fishing allows a single person or a small group working together to catch a large volume of fish quickly and, in many cases, with relatively little effort.
Surely many fishing nets predated this ancient find -- which came from a region that today is part of northwestern Russia -- though none has yet been discovered.
Net fishing was common among many Native American tribes who often used nets woven from grasses or pine boughs and used them for seine style fishing. The Maori also used seine fishing nets, some of which would be dragged between canoes and kept afloat with evenly spaced floats.
Well before European contact, native Hawaiians had become adept fishermen, often using the net as their chosen method of catching fish. They used multiple different kinds of nets including gill nets, encircling nets, and seine nets, as well.
While spear fishing may catch more vividly in the imagination and while hook and line fishing may be the method of recreational fishing most popular today, net fishing has long been the chosen method of many different peoples all over the world. Net fishing allows a single person or a small group working together to catch a large volume of fish quickly and, in many cases, with relatively little effort.
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