Learning how to throw a cast net is a rite of passage for any self-respecting angler. Catching your own baitfish is a way more satisfying experience than just buying bait over the counter. With this skill mastered, you’ll never have to worry about running out of bait again.
The length of time you can spend out on the water is also significantly increased. And on top of that, over time, you save a nice chunk of change at the bait shop.
It’s a key step in any anglers’ development, and there are a few different methods with minor differences, but they all follow the same fundamentals. This guide will give you the rundown on our favored technique and highlight the most common mistakes to avoid.
Want to know how to throw a cast net? Let’s dive in.
Before we look at the technical details, here are some core tips to remember.
Throwing is all about technique rather than brute force. Fluid motion is what’s needed. More on this later.
Preparation and the right setup are as important as the throwing technique. You can learn the perfect physics for the best throw, but it won’t be much use without the correct net preparation, which you’re about to learn all about.
The three keys to a good fluid throw are…
- Your lower body remains stationary.
- While your upper body rotates into the throw.
- Your dominant hand should lead the net and follow all the way through tracking the direction of the rotation.
Practice makes perfect. Repeat, rinse, repeat until you’ve nailed it on dry land. If fishing from a boat, then you’ll need to practice your technique on the water. This adds a whole new dimension to get used to. You’ll have to learn to manage the shifting weight and instability that your throw creates, especially on smaller boats or kayaks.
Having learned to throw correctly, you can apply the same technique to any size net successfully.
All instructions given here are for right-handed anglers. Just reverse the hands if you’re a lefty.
1 Net Preparation And Correct Holding Technique.
- Always make sure the end of the hand line is attached to your left wrist. There’s usually a loop for this purpose.
- Coil the hand line into roughly 40cm loops by laying the line across your left palm. Make sure the coils are nice and loose so the net will release properly when thrown.
- Find the yoke of the net and grip with your left hand. The yoke is the top part of the net, where it meets the hand line. Now in your left hand, you should have the hand loop, coiled hand line, and the yoke. Your right hand is free to arrange the net in preparation for throwing
- Wrap the upper part of the net in line with the curve of the looped hand line. Gather the net in a bunch in your right hand, allowing the remainder to hang straight down.
2 Throw Preparation
- With your right hand, gather the bunched net at its halfway point between the yoke and the weighted skirt line at the bottom. This divides the net in two, which will make it more manageable to throw.
- Make sure the yoke is hanging outside your left hand. Transfer the bunched net to your left palm. This will form a loop of net around the coiled hand line.
- Make sure that the sections of the net in your left hand aren’t overlapped in any way
- You should now have the whole net arranged in your left hand.
- Now with your right hand, reach down and find an unweighted section of the skirt line and grip it between your teeth. This technique is the best way to keep the skirt correctly positioned when throwing. You can drape the line over your shoulder is you’re not keen on putting a dirty line in your mouth.
- With your right hand, palm a section of the skirt line dangling from your mouth and gather up the remaining section of net into a bunch.
- You’re now ready to cast with the net’s weight distributed evenly between both hands.
3 Time To Cast
- Rotate your hips and upper body about 100 degrees anticlockwise and then reverse back in as fluid a motion as possible.
- Always keep your feet pointed in the direction of the intended throw for the best results. Bent knees throughout this process will help with balance on boat decks or on the best sit on top kayaks.
- On the moment of release, let the weight and momentum of the net, propel it forward. Instead of attempting to launch the net the furthest distance possible using strength alone, let the weighted skirt do the hard work for you. That’s what it’s there for.
- Fluidity of motion is the key here. The smoother your action is, the higher your chance of success will be.
- Your last movement here before release should be a clockwise flick of your right hand. This will help the net form a perfect circle as it hits the water.
- The leaded weights will help the net fan out and quickly sink. Any baitfish unlucky enough to be swimming under the net will now be trapped as it rapidly sinks to the bottom. Wait until it has reached the bottom or the hand line is taut before you start to pull it back in.
- Using the hand line that is hopefully still attached to the hand loop on your left hand, start pulling the line in hand over hand. This will close up the weighted end of the net, and with any luck, a bounty of baitfish will be your reward for learning how to throw a cast net.
- Patience is definitely a virtue when pulling the cast net in. There’s no hurry, and rushing things at this stage could lead to a loss of control and allow some baitfish to escape.
4 Refining technique
- Now you’ve learned the basics of how to throw a cast net; practice is the name of the game. Find a good patch of clear ground with nothing to get snagged on and refine that technique until you’re throwing the perfect circle every time.
- If there is a dent in your circle, then work out which part of your body controls that section of the net. It will either be your left or right hand or your shoulder. Minor adjustments can be made, such as the timing of release or how much net you leave over your shoulder. With practice, you’ll find out what works for you.
- You could even film yourself and watch back in slow motion to help you iron out any kinks in your throw.
A big and important step in the evolution of any angler, learning how to throw a cast net properly, will change your fishing experience forever. Self-sufficiency out on the water, especially on longer trips, is a big feather in your fishing cap.
Catching baitfish from the area you will be line fishing also makes perfect sense. These are the fish that your target catch are hunting and what they expect to find. You’ll consequently have better results almost every time when using a cast net to collect baitfish.
If you’re an aspirational angler who hasn’t yet learned how to throw a cast net, what are you waiting for! There’s a reason this technique has been around for thousands of years, and with improvements in technology, it’s easier to master than ever.