The 8 Best Cast Nets

Updated March 25, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

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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.

8. Super Spreader EZ Throw 750

Most people learning to throw turn to one of two places: grandpa or YouTube. The Super Spreader EZ Throw 750 makes both unnecessary. The ring at the top acts like a handle that helps guide your tosses, so you can start right away.
  • stands up to basic snags
  • intended for bait from 3 - 6 inches
  • small size hinders the catch
Brand Fitec
Weight 4.5 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

7. JShanmei Handmade

Every knot of the JShanmei Handmade is tied securely to ensure it lasts through years of regular use without failing. This one also makes for a great decoration in a nautically-themed restaurant or at a seaside vacation home.
  • rinses off easily when finished
  • offers a nice even spread
  • difficult to make it lie flat
Model pending
Weight 7.7 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

6. Lee Fisher CBT-S3

The Lee Fisher CBT-S3 is made from a durable nylon monofilament, so it won't come unraveled over time, as long as it is used and cared for properly. The hand line rope is on a swivel, which makes casting and retrieving painless.
  • perfect for use from kayaks
  • good practice option
  • too small for serious use
Brand Sportsman Supply Inc.
Model CBT-S3
Weight 3.6 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

5. Goture American

The Goture American comes in sizes ranging from 8 to 24 feet in diameter, so there is one for every need. The line is attached to an anodized swivel for maneuverability, allowing you to hit a current without having to worry about it getting caught or tangled.
  • wrist strap to prevent loss
  • closes securely on retrieval
  • tight seal when it hits the bottom
Brand Goture
Model pending
Weight 10.1 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

4. Hurricane HCN-5

The Hurricane HCN-5 has a five-foot radius and an extremely affordable price, making it popular with newcomers of all stripes. Even if you've never gone out before, it's a fairly easy and pleasant way to get started that will have you successfully catching bait in no time.
  • great in shallow water
  • helpful illustrations on the box
  • suitable for fresh and salt water
Brand Hurricane
Model HCN-5
Weight 5.6 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

3. Bait Buster Pro

With 3/8-inch square mesh, the Bait Buster Pro prevents even the smallest of fish from escaping as it sinks to the bottom, making each throw more productive, so you can save your arm strength for tackling the big one. It's made from 100-pound test braille lines.
  • 25-foot hand line
  • weighted very heavily
  • difficult for beginners to use
Brand Bait Buster
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

2. South Bend CNMO4

The affordable yet durable South Bend CNMO4 is surprisingly high quality given its budget-friendly price. It features an easy-to-open design that provides consistency throw after throw, so you can use it catch the bait that you'll end up using to catch your dinner.
  • simple to transport and store
  • ideal for catching shad
  • releases fish quickly on shore
Brand South Bend
Model CNMO4
Weight 3.7 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Old Salt Premium

The Old Salt Premium comes in a handy utility box that can be used to store tackle, tools, and other fishing gear. It weighs one pound per foot, so it sinks really quickly once it hits the water to ensure that nothing gets away.
  • crafted from strong monofilament
  • includes useful how-to instructions
  • spreads well on the throw
Brand Betts
Model 1102-0178-P
Weight 16 ounces
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

How To Choose A Cast Net

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. 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.

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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Last updated on March 25, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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