Choosing and Using Cast Nets


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)

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Joe Sarmiento
Joe is an avid saltwater angler. He grew up in Washington State on the south end of Puget Sound where he first started fishing as a boy catching perch, flounder, rockfish, and occasionally salmon. Today, Joe lives in Southern California where he fishes off beaches and jetties, kayaks, and sportfishing boats. Joe writes about his saltwater adventures in the SoCal Salty blog, and for Western Outdoor News.