Skip to main content

Tips for Cast Net Fishing

A net full of mullet. This dock was in the front yard of my home in Palm Bay Florida.

A net full of mullet. This dock was in the front yard of my home in Palm Bay Florida.

Catching Bait for Saltwater Fishing

Cast net throwing will save you a lot of money on your saltwater fishing baits. With a little practice, you will be hauling in finger mullets and even a few shrimp. Fingerling mullets are the best live bait for saltwater spotted trout, red fish, and snook.

Cast Net Fishing

Casting a net can be fun as well as a way to make money. Knowing how to cast a net is an art in itself. It takes time and practice to throw a net to its full circle, so that it drops down upon the water’s surface with its weights entrapping fish in its netting.

There is no better sight in the world than a full open net against a morning sun. The greatest thrill, of course, is to feel the wiggling weight of the numerous varieties of fish you will haul in. They range from bait fish such as small finger mullet to sheepshead, blue crabs, larger mullet, red fish, snook, shrimp, and many other salt-water varieties.

The game fish you get, such as trout, red drum, and snook, must be thrown back. It’s illegal to catch these fish with a cast net.

Casting a net is only allowed in salt water.

The cast net consists of a throw rope, usually 12 to 14 feet long, attached to the center of a circular net. These nets range in size from 3 feet up to 16 feet. The net also has a string of weights circling the bottom to allow it to drop into the water and to the bottom quickly. If the fish see the shadow of the net coming they will scatter.

Throwing a cast net does take a few practice throws to succeed.

How to Throw a Cast Net

  1. Pull the loop at the end of the rope, secure around your left wrist. If it is too loose around your wrist, you will see it go sailing off your arm, out into the water, leaving you standing on the dock with no net.
  2. With your right hand, roll the hand line up like you would a garden hose and loop it onto your left hand fingertips.
  3. Lift the net straight up off the ground, allowing the drawstrings to be straight, not twisted. Then grab the net one third down with your left hand, keeping the coiled rope near your fingertips. The weighted bottom of the net should be held tightly between your teeth and your outstretched right hand. You hold the net like this on your left side, pivot to the front, pitching the net like a Frisbee.

TIP: Don’t forget to open your mouth to release the net, or it will be lying by your feet. It doesn't help your teeth either. Some experts can throw a cast net without using their teeth to hold it but I've never been able to.

The many varieties of saltwater species you will pick up will amaze you. Sometimes even a seahorse can be scooped up. You can spend hours of pleasure cast-netting off bridges and beaches, even on the shores of brackish rivers.

TIP: Always be careful not to throw the net on rocks or oyster beds, because these will tear or damage your net.

Cast netting is also profitable. Many bait stores will buy your finger mullets and other small bait fish. However, you will need a license to sell your fish.

So remember not only can cast netting be a profitable sport, but a full belly of fish at the end of the day makes it worth practicing.

Cast netting is something anyone at any age can learn to do with a little practice. It is an inexpensive hobby that will thrill your children for hours; even the girls will want to try it. A small cast net of three feet will cost around 20 dollars, and a ten-footer that Suzzycue has was $100 and a Christmas present from her parents.

The only downside to children cast netting is that they need to be supervised, as children can get tangled in the net and have issues.

Nothing is nicer to see than an open cast net at sun rise.

Nothing is nicer to see than an open cast net at sun rise.

These are mullet. Did you know mullet are the only fish with a gizzard. It is in their head  right on top of the gills. Good to eat.

These are mullet. Did you know mullet are the only fish with a gizzard. It is in their head right on top of the gills. Good to eat.

My Ex-Winter Retreat and My Favorite Fishing Hole: Palm Bay, Florida

More Fishing Fun Near Palm Bay, Florida

Fishing off of docks with chicken backs is a great way to catch blue crabs in the Malabar area of Florida. Ask permission to fish off boat docks behind waterfront resorts/restaurants. This is some of the best saltwater fishing in Brevard County, Florida. There is an abundance of saltwater catfish, snook, red drum, and trout under these docks.

You can also catch sharks from beaches and piers in this area. And here's how to fillet your catch and keep your knives sharp.


Susan Britton (author) from Ontario, Canada on January 31, 2018:

I don't know the answer to that . I never did . I kept all the mullet I could eat and Loved the adventure of cast netting. You had a new surprise every time you hauled it in :) Thank you for your input @Seth

Seth on January 30, 2018:

You can keep red drum in Florida when you catch them in your cast net if they are of size i

Susan Britton (author) from Ontario, Canada on February 03, 2013:

I've been to Jekyll Island. I spent some time in Brunswick Georgia and we went to Jekyll Island on the weekends. There is no better way to eat mullet than to smoke it. You do well to haul that many mullet in 3 casts. I don't think I would be strong enough and I can just feel the wiggling madness of the mullets. Thanks for stopping by Randy Godwin.

Randy Godwin from Southern Georgia on February 03, 2013:

Been throwing a cast net most of my life! I've caught over a 130 large mullet with only 3 casts before and immediately prepared them to be smoked. I catch all of my bait with one also. My favorite place to do this is on the Jekyll Island pier. Enjoyed the read!


Susan Britton (author) from Ontario, Canada on November 11, 2012:

I taught my neighbor who is under five feet to throw a 5 foot one . None of them are over 16 feet but I understand your fear. Thanks for your comment b.Malin if your Lover Man tried this he would have a blast when he pulled in his catch. Hope you are recouping well from Sandy.

b. Malin on November 11, 2012:

This is a pretty Cool way to Fish. However, I am Five feet, and to throw that 30 ft Net...I'd probably go Flying along with it! Ha, Ha!.

I told Lover Man when we get back to Florida, we should go over to Juno Beach and HE should try it!

Fun, Interesting, as well as Educational read, Thanks Suzzycue.

Susan Britton (author) from Ontario, Canada on November 07, 2012:

Oh, yes, Lipnancy it was awesome eating fresh mullet everyday. I loved it and so good for you too. I also used the heads and the innards of the mullets for bait for my crab traps so nothing of the fish I caught was ever wasted. You would love cast netting, if you love to fish, but you can only cast net in salt water and there is none near you same as me. I miss it very much. Nice that you stopped in to comment. Thanks a lot.

Nancy Yager from Hamburg, New York on November 07, 2012:

I have done a lot of fishing but not has the opportunity to cast net fish. But it would be cool to have an abundance of fresh fish.

Susan Britton (author) from Ontario, Canada on November 06, 2012:

Thank you Ericdierker for the compliment. I don't know about cast netting on the west coast maybe the fish are being conserved because of over fishing. I used my cast net every day to get fresh fish and bait fish. This kind of fishing was a blast sort of like treasure hunting because you never knew what you were going to pull up from the water.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on November 06, 2012:

Wonderful hub. Great pics. I have to look into it. I think cast net fishing is banned out here on the west coast. Sure looks like a great way to just have fun and relax. But it is the method most used in places where that is the food and commerce for the day.

Susan Britton (author) from Ontario, Canada on November 06, 2012:

I don't live near the beach anymore and yes these were good old days. Now I am up in cold Canada eh? I loved fishing but as you have seen in this last week living on the water comes with a price. I had that home for 13 years and went through 3 hurricanes then I sold out my home. The Hurricane that came after I left wiped out the whole east coast of Florida and New Orleans. Sandy was even worst than any in our history so far. My heart goes out to all those people searching for their pieces of their lives in the ruble. Thanks for your comment Faith Reaper always nice to hear from you.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on November 05, 2012:

I would love to give it a try, as it does look like so much fun. You have the good life going on. I do miss living near the beach. Your photos are great, and you do look as though you are having a blast!

Excellent write and very interesting.

Voted up, etc.

God bless. In His Love, Faith Reaper

Susan Britton (author) from Ontario, Canada on November 05, 2012:

Thanks a lot shinningirisheyes. I would have liked your Dad. I love the outdoors and fishing was my passion before writing.

Shining Irish Eyes from Upstate, New York on November 05, 2012:

Well aren't you a woman of many mysteries and talents! This sounds like great fun, especially when it's time to pull in your catch.

You are so versatile and my Dad would have referred to you as "My kind of girl."

Susan Britton (author) from Ontario, Canada on November 05, 2012:

Thank you Bill. I love this sport. Thanks for stopping by.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on November 05, 2012:

That would be great fun; I would do this if I ever had the opportunity. Good job on this one; very interesting.