SportFishing and Charters Forum - cast nets

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Seamus Day
04-20-2011, 06:38 AM
I guess like most fishing tackle, all cast nets are NOT made equal. What is your preference for brand, size, mesh, weighting etc. for the type of bait fishing you do?

Prop Blast
04-20-2011, 08:18 AM
You're right -- there is a difference in nets. The "production" nets as a rule are pretty bad IMO. I used to use an old Bett's net with a 3/8" mesh and thought it was okay. THen I used a buddies "hand-made" net and found out what I was missing.

I have nets from Calusa Nets and West Coast Nets. I think the WC net is better made, but it's an old one and the new WC nets are not as nice. The size of net is driven by two factors: 1 - size of the bait; 2 - depth of water.

If the bait is small, you want a net with small mesh. The deeper the water, the larger the mesh you want. Small mesh has more resistance as it falls through the water and the bait can escape. Large mesh and heavier weights = faster fall rate.

I use two nets:

#1 is an 8' net with 1/4" square mesh that I use when the bait is small and/or water is 8' deep or less. This is my "money net" when the pilchards are small. This is my West Coast Net.

#2 is a 10' net with 1/2" square mesh that I use in water over 8' deep. This is my Calusa Net.

Any good tackle shop here in FL should be able to set you up with a good quality cast net. I'd try Capt Harry's in Miami, Crook & Crook in Miami too. In West Palm Beach try Lott Bros Tackle.


04-20-2011, 10:10 AM
I absolutely positively belive that for sardines, threadfins, mullet and any of the larger baitfish, the BIGGER the better. The area you cover with your net increases disproportionately with the increase of the net. EG an 8 ft net opened perfect covers 200 sq ft, a 12 ft net covers over 450 sq ft (pi times r or length of net squared). And it is no harder throwing a larger net, in fact in many ways it is easier, since the bigger net is more forgiving. My 5' 3" g/f was opening my 12 after 10 minutes of instruction.

04-20-2011, 06:36 PM
Can i use her in the morning??????

04-20-2011, 06:53 PM
Dang thats impressive, I could barely open my buddies 12', that thing must have weighed 50 pounds! I can open my 8' perfectly all day long, it is a calusa cracker net, cheaper than the full blown calusa. I love the net and when the time comes I will be buying the expensive calusa to replace it. The difference between a quality net and a cheapie is night and day. It will save you lots of frustration buying a nice net now as you seem to know. There are several threads about this topic, the general consensus is black pearl, west coast, calusa in no real order.

04-22-2011, 09:38 AM
On our lake, I carry 4 nets at all times (2 eight ftrs, 1 six ftr and 1 ten ftr.). When I am going after Shad from the boat, I like the 8' Betts with 3/8 mesh, these nets take the worst punishment with underwater logs and stumps(thus the reason for extra nets), while if I'm walking the bank, I like to throw a 6' net (also a Betts). But for alwife I go to 40' ~ 60' deep water to get them, and I use a hand made 10' (largest allowed in Pa.) with a 5/8 mesh I think it has 1 1/2 oz. per radial ft., that thing sinks like an open gun safe. I had to add an extra 20' to the standard 30' lanyard.

04-22-2011, 09:26 PM
Hands down the best Cast Net made is a hand-made Tim Wade Cast Net. Google him. Give him a call and tell him what your uses of the net are going to be and he will make a cast net specifically for you.

04-22-2011, 09:37 PM
No idea who makes'em but I picked up a 'custom' net for catching menhaden from OIFC last season. 10', inch and a quarter mesh. Weighs 15 or 20 pounds, sinks quick enough but still light enough to not bust my ass if I have to throw it more than a couple times. I have several smaller nets in different sizes and different size mesh but menhaden are usually what I want in the live well so it sees the most use.

04-23-2011, 03:43 AM
Hands down the best Cast Net made is a hand-made Tim Wade Cast Net.

...I use for large menhaden...

04-23-2011, 04:16 AM
8-10' will be the most manageable and will still get bait. Any smaller and it's tough to fill the baitwell. Any bigger and you need to have good technique or it won't open all the way and you're just getting a sore back.

1.5 lbs per foot is a good standard. (the rubber coated weights are a lot easier on gelcoat)

Bigger bait in deeper water requires larger mesh. For example, mullet and shad are larger and faster so you could throw 1 1/2 inch mesh. It will sink faster and catch more of the healthy baits. (Especially combined with 1.5 lbs per foot of lead.) 1/4 or 3/8 mesh will sink slower, but it will catch the smaller baits including shrimp.

I really like Calusa and their other brand, Cracker. Other than custom, they are one of the few factory nets I would use. I do have a Bett's that has 1/2 inch mesh that I use in shallow water when the bait is schooled up tight. But deep water and fast bait requires a better net.

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