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What is Netting?

Have you ever wondered where all the bait comes from that your guides use? There's a fun little art called netting or using a cast net that can easily be the most effective way to get bait and start your day on the water.

April 21, 2020
Fishing 101
Cover image for the post What is Netting?

You’ve got to have bait when you head out on the boat with rods in tow, but where does it come from? If you’re not a seasoned fishermen or captain, you may just head to the bait shop and have them fill your livewell. If you are a captain or a seasoned professional, you probably know where better bait's at and it’s not in a store. Buckle up, watch your ankles, and try not to rip a tooth out because today we are going to be talking about forms of netting and maybe a few dos and don’ts along the way.

Video/Image of man throwing cast net from boat. To see a cast net being thrown on a Sportsman Boat check out our Open 252 lifestyle video. This boat is the perfect boat for an angler looking to have all the options need to keep clients happy when fishing or the family when out boating.

You may be wondering, why’s he worried about ankles and ripping a tooth out? Well, if you have spent enough time on a boat with old guys and cast nets you’ve probably seen a few nets in the mouth and maybe a few missing teeth. It’s something that a lot of guys do, but more and more people are starting to get away from. There are a lot of techniques to throwing a cast net but today we are going to worry more about why to throw a cast net. If you are interested in learning some safe techniques check out a video made by Captain Mike with Reel Reports.

Cast nets are one of the most important parts of a captain’s boat unless he never uses live bait. If you go on a guided trip you’re going to show up before the sun comes up, you’ll probably eat a biscuit of some sort, have a coffee or three, then you’ll load your belongings onto the boat (do not bring your bedroom, essentials only), and soon you’ll be ready to take off for the day on the water. If you’re showing up right before sunrise or as the sun is coming up, your guide may have already done this for you, however if you’re there at 4:30 in the morning you’ll probably get to see the prerequisites for catching a lot of fish offshore. That starts with getting the bait and the best way to do that is with a cast net!

Cast nets are large nets attached to a rope with weights around the bottom of the netting. You safely secure the rope to your wrist and in a fluid motion throw the net out allowing it to spread and drop on top of a school of baitfish. You allow the net to sink and once it has, you begin retrieving it with the rope and this will pull the net together ensuring your bait does not get out. Then you bring the bait into the boat, empty it into your livewell and you’re ready for your day offshore!

Cast nets are pretty simple once you get the hang of them and they’re the most effective way to get fresh live bait, if you know where to find it, for your fishing trip. However, this is not the only form of netting but it’s what’s used most by sport fishermen. When it comes to commercial fishing large nets of different types are used. These are all chosen based on species, water, and captain’s preferred choice. Commercial fishing is where the fish you buy at the grocery stores, meat markets, etc. come from. If you’ve ordered fish at dinner, it’s probably there thanks to a commercial fisherman.

Netting is a type of fishing, that’s used every day. While it’s not catching sport fish, it is catching the fish used for sport fishing. If you are looking at getting into offshore fishing, you may want to look into a good cast net and spend some time practicing on the beach to get the hang of it. This will be the best way to ensure you’ve got good bait for every trip on the water!