Here in Southern California, we have the unique fishing luxury of bait receivers. Bait boats go out and net bait and then bring it back to the receiver. Whether on a commercial sportboat or on a private vessel, it’s as easy as rolling up to the bait receiver and buying your bait. As I got out and experienced fishing in other parts of the country, I was surprised to find out that they didn’t share this luxury.

If you have to make your own bait, you can always use a sabiki rig. I always keep two in my tackle box (one for finned bait, the other for squid). However, if you want to save yourself a lot of time, you should consider getting a net. This article tells you what to look for in choosing a net and how to use them.

livebaitAfter getting the fish in a bucket, I re-baited and sent the treble hook down again. Almost immediately, I felt another “bite,” and pulled up gently to set the hook. Feeling some heavy resistance and a little give, I reeled down hard to keep the fish out of the rocks and away from the nearby concrete piling. But the fish didn’t move — because it wasn’t a fish. After tugging and jerking to free my hook from the bottom, I noticed that I could actually lift whatever it was I was attached to. You guessed it; I was hung in a cast net that someone had tossed off the bridge without first securing it to their wrist!

As soon as I lifted the net up to where I could see it, I switched from trying to free the hook to full rescue mode. I got the net up, and it was a brand-spanking-new 10-footer without a single hole in it, and I was stoked! Now I was going to be able to get my own bait without having to pay for it! If you’re a bait fisherman, having a good cast net that’s matched to your primary bait targets is not an option; it’s a necessity.

Photos: Hammond Fishing (above), Marlin magazine (top)