I'm Jim and I can't throw a cast net - yet

At the end of last fishing season, I told myself this would be the winter. The winter that I would finally learn to throw a cast net.

That is one tool, among many, I just don’t have in my personal fishing toolbox.

I admire people who can throw a cast net with ease. There is one kid whose family has a condo in the same building we do and he can really sling it. I’ll admit, I have been known to offer him cash in exchange for the bait he catches. I know he has to think “Why can’t you just go catch your own bait, mister?” It’s like he knows he is negotiating with leverage on me, so I’ll politely ask him to just take my money and give me the baitfish.

Honing Cast Net Skills
Live bait caught around docks and piers are a delicacy to offshore fish. Honing cast net skills will put them in your live well for a successful fishing trip.

Winter is gone and I have yet to try to throw the cast net in the backyard. I am sure the best way to learn to throw a cast net is to spend some time with someone who is really great at throwing one and willing to teach you, or me. But that is kind of like stopping to ask for directions. I mean, surely someone who fishes as much as I do, and writes about fishing, can throw a cast net, right? So being the stubborn sort that I am, I went to the number one authority where I could admit that I can’t throw a cast net while maintaining my anonymity (until now) – the internet.

I quickly noticed there are many different methods and styles of throwing a cast net. One is to put the net in your mouth which I commonly see being used on boats and piers. I have always been leery of this method. A friend of mine’s son, who is superb with a cast net, has always used that method. Even when he wore braces and one morning got the net tangled in his corrective orthodontic hardware.

After watching lots of videos, I found what will be my cast net classroom. The website saltstrong.com has five great videos that pretty much cover everything you, and by you, I mean me, need to know to learn to throw a cast net.

Once I master this skill in the backyard, I will put it to use on the water before every trip offshore. I usually have to spend hours catching pinfish, one at a time, with a spinning reel before each trip. This can be a little unreliable because sometimes I either run out of time or the fish just won’t cooperate.

When I can throw a cast net, I will also be able to load up on some great offshore baits in addition to just pinfish. Mullet and finger mullet are a delicacy for offshore and pelagic fish and about the only way to get them in the live well is to catch them with your cast net.

Private docks and piers are a great place to hunt for baitfish with a cast net. Be careful not to hit dock lights with your net as the weights can break the light cover or the bulbs, and also tangle and damage your net. Either way, someone is going to be upset. Perdido Pass is also another good spot, but if the current is strong, you’ll need a bigger net to sink more quickly.

Live bait always tilts the odds in your favor when heading offshore. If you can already throw a cast net, surely you take advantage of this. If you need to learn, like I do, it will be a worthwhile investment of time. I also figure by learning to become proficient with a cast net it will save me money. No longer will I have to bribe that little kid on the dock. Yes, I will catch my own bait junior. This is the year.

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Jim Cox
Jim Cox (1325 Posts)
Jim Cox is an avid inshore, offshore, and big game fisherman. He has twice qualified for the prestigious IGFA Offshore Championships in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. He is the past president of the Mobile…