How to throw a cast net

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How to throw a cast net

One of the worlds greatest mysteries? Not really, but if you have never been shown how, it seems almost impossible. When I first started throwing a cast net, you could have been forgiven for thinking I was trying to knock the fish out, my casts were that bad. For a guy who spent the first 25 years of his life in western Sydney, cast netting was furthest thing on my mind, until moving to the Goldcoast. Watching guys catch their bait in 5 min's flat & be off for a nights fishing with fresh bait, that was enough for me. I spent 6 weeks every afternoon trying to throw the bloody thing & no matter what I did, I couldn't get the bloody thing to fan out. A few people tried to give me some tips but, they would quickly show me how they hold theirs & throw & be off with their bait. Until one afternoon a guy gave me 10 min's of his time to show me exactly how to hold & throw the net. I haven't had a problem since.

Anyway.............. Here's how to throw it.

NOTE : Instructions are assuming you are throwing right handed.

Firstly, make sure the rope that is around your wrist enters your hand from the outside.
Gather the rope in even loops into the hand in the same fashion, and have 1 loop of net in your hand. Make it so the net is about between your knee and your feet.
Taking a line from your index finger on the net down to the bottom and gather roughly 1/3 of the net in your hand.
Put the net that you have in your left hand into the right hand with the weight on the outside of your right hand. Next grab the bottom of the net so that the weights are taught.

Gather about half of what is left of the net into your left hand.


Now your ready to throw.

Your throwing motion should be smooth, with all the throwing power coming from your right hand. When throwing, your right hand should let go of the net once extended straight in front of the body and the left hand should be at roughly a 45 degree angle. Your right hand should let go of the net a fraction of a second before your left. This way the net has started to fan when the left hand lets go.

Well, that's how I throw it. Some people have the net strung over their shoulder, I haven't tried this method so I can't comment on which one is better. All I can say, is that just find what works for you & use it.

Castnet types and other information

There are two main types of cast net - Mono & Cotton. Both have their pros & cons which I have listed below.

Mono - Easy to throw, due to it being light. Sinks quickly catching most fish it is thrown over. Usually has deep pockets for holding bigger fish.But depending on how it is made, does not fan to it's full potential & also when snagged rips easily.

Cotton - Easy to throw for the first 15 mins & after that it becomes a heavy bitch of a thing, due to the amount of water it holds. Sinks slower than mono which allows fish to escape. Pockets are usually smaller, enabling bigger fish to escape when bringing the net in. Being cotton, is good around rocky areas as it is much stronger. Can get cotton nets with either lead weights on the bottom or lead chain.

We have found that bigger rope is better than thinner, in regards to tangles in the rope when throwing. Also try to keep any protruding pieces of rope or net out of the way. The net will easily get caught on them causing the net not to sit right once thrown & not be able to bring the net in closed. I suggest that you have at least 5m of rope connected to the net. This is most handy if the fish are out a little wide or you are throwing off a bridge. Always wash your net after use & hang up to dry, out of direct sunlight. Make sure that you don't leave any small fish in the net or you will be chasing that smell !!!! Also check the net after each outing for rips & tears, repair them or you will be wondering where that school of herring that you threw over has gone. I also reckon that the bigger nets are easier to throw. Since the law has changed here in Qld, 12 foot is the max limit now. I reckon for a beginner start with a 9 footer, forget 6,7 & 8 they are pains in the ass. Once mastered go for the 10 or 12 footer.

Another thing to look for is how the net is made. Most imported models, are simply made out of a straight piece of netting, which it brought around into a cone shape and sewn up. This causes the net to be fairly springy & not to fan properly when cast. Since most nets are made this way unless you want to spend a lot of money, there is a few things you can do to them to improve them, which I have listed below.

Besides these nets, there are 2 other types that I know of, they are the Bulls eye and Segment. The bulls eye net is made from pieces of net in a doughnut shape, each is sewn together and this results in a net that lays extremely flat once thrown. The segment net, is made out of triangular segment pieces sewn together to again make a net that lays flat once thrown .

How to care for your castnet

Since I can't justify spend several hundred dollars on a castnet, I use the common cone shaped nets, so this would apply mostly to them.

When I first get the net, I soak it in hot water with fabric softener overnight. This makes the net very supple. I then hang it up on 3 hooks that I have across the face of my garage. I stretch it as I put it on the hooks. I then stretch and tie each side of the net to the side of my garage. Finally, I pull the lanyard until the net is stretched to the max and is a big cone shape. I then leave it like this for about half a day. When you pull the net down, it will be nice and soft and also supply so when you cast it, it will fan with out . When finished with your net, always wash it in fresh water. Don't hang it up to dry, as this will undo all your work to get the net stretched. Simply lay it on the ground so it can dry, out of direct sunlight.

Hope this all helps.

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