Thinking about purchasing or making your own casting fishing net? Here are some key considerations to help you find the best net for your particular needs.
What To Consider When Purchasing Casting Fishing Nets
The Size Of The Mesh
The size of the holes in the mesh which you choose is essential. The size of fish you are looking to catch will tell you the size mesh you should be looking for.
For small bait fish measuring 2 to 3 inches, use a: ¼-inch mesh.
For 3- to 4-inch baits, use a ⅜-inch mesh.
For 4- to 5-inch baits, use a ½-inch mesh.
For 5 inches and larger, use a ⅝-inch mesh.
Cast nets can continue to get larger as the fish you target also go up in size. Typically an inch an a half wide mesh is about as large as they go.
In addition to understanding the size of fish you are targeting, it is important to understand that the smaller the mesh, the slower the net will sink. Therefore, in deeper waters, having the largest mesh possible for the fish you are targeting is recommended.
Cast Net Size
Most cast nets fall in between 3 and 14 feet. The diameter of these nets expanded is double the size of the net, so a 3 foot net has a 6 foot diameter, and an 8 foot net has a 16 foot diameter. The smaller the net, the lighter it is, and generally the easier it is to throw. Of course, it also means a smaller area covered, and less fish can be caught. Most anglers are using nets under 8 feet with 3-8 feet being the most common. It takes a fair amount of experience to be able to cast 8 foot and larger nets, so for beginners, sticking to smaller nets is recommended.
If you plan on casting while wading (in water), you’ll want a net smaller than an 8 foot net.
Older nets were made from nylon or cotton. This fabric absorbs water and degrades over time, making this not ideal. Today, you’ll find almost all nets being made of monofilament line, which is strong, clear, sinks well, and durable. Look for this as the netting material.
Casting Net Sink Rate
Sink rate is determined by size of net, size of mesh, and weights used on the net. Sink rate is less important for shallow water or for slower moving species, where some bait fish move extremely fast, and even a half a second in sink rate can be the difference between a few fish, and hundreds of fish. Know if you need a very fast sinking net, or know if it doesn’t matter so much.
Be sure to read other angler’s reviews in depth. Pay attention to durability, casting ability, sink rates, and other important features from these other reviews. We generally recommend going after brands or individuals that make nets by hand that have great reputations.
Max DesMarais is the founder of hikingandfishing.com. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor adventure, travel, and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. Max grew up hiking all around New Hampshire and New England. He became obsessed with the New Hampshire mountains, and the NH 48, where he guided hikes and trail runs in the White Mountains. Since moving out west, Max has continued his frequent adventures in the mountains, always testing gear, learning skills, gaining experience, and building his endurance for outdoor sports. You can read more about his experience here: hikingandfishing/about