10 Best Cast Nets for Bait Fish + Buying Guide [2022 Update]


Updated on November 15, 2022 by
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The best cast nets for baitfish has at least 1.0 lb/ft of sinkers, 3/8 inch mesh size, made from copolymer monofilament, 4 to 7 feet in diameter, and a long braid rope, such as the Drasry Cast Net.

You will need the best tools to fish without any misgivings. A cast net is a piece of equipment widely used for fishing. Also called a throw net, it is used by many people for fishing.

A cast net is thrown into the water by hand to spread out, which will sink deep into the water. This procedure is widely known as net throwing or casting, making fishing a great hobby.

Cast nets are widely used to catch small fish, and you should choose the best model in the market to make your fishing adventure a success. If you are a beginner in the fishing world, you may find it daunting to choose the best product. Whether you want to fish in freshwater or saltwater, a cast net is the best ticket to help you get a good catch.

Cast nets provide anglers with an effective way to catch live bait fast but choosing the best is not easy. The good news is that you can pick the best model in the market with a comprehensive cast net buying guide. I don’t claim to be the best at throwing a cast net, but I have done it many times with many different designs. All of the information below is based on my own personal insights and experience with each of the individual products.

Quick Summary – Best Cast Nets

Editor’s ChoiceBest OverallBest Value for MoneyBest Premium Net
ProductDrasry Saltwater Cast NetBetts Old Salt NetBait Buster Net
Previewdrasry saltwater cast netbetts old salt cast netbait buster net
Target Bait Fish3-5 inch bait fish3-5 inch bait fish3-5 inch bait fish
Mesh Size3/8 inch3/8 inch3/8 inch
Weights1.1 lb/ft1.0 lb/ft1.5 lb/ft
FeaturesCopolymer Monofilament, 32 ft braid ropeCopolymer Monofilament, Utility BoxCopolymer Monofilament, 3.5-gallon bucket
More InfoCheck Latest PriceCheck Latest PriceCheck Latest Price
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How We Rate Products

I thoroughly review all products to measure their performance, durability, and value for money. This testing flows into an overall score that I give to all products. All metrics are scored out of 5.

Performance: The performance score is how well does this product fulfill its primary purpose on the water. Does it have all the features and optional extras you need to catch the target species?

Durability: Durability refers to how long the product will continue functioning. This is both the materials of construction, the quality of the workmanship, and the servicing requirements. There are also bonus points for manufacturers’ warranty.

Value for Money: The final aspect of the scoring system is the price or, more specifically, the value for money. Value for money is a comparison against the closest alternative products, both by the same manufacturer and other brands.

Overall Score: Finally, the average of the three scores in performance, durability, and value for money is used to give the overall score of each product reviewed.

To see more details, please read the complete guide on how we test and evaluate fishing products.

Bait Cast Net Buying Guide

While a cast net may appear very simple, there are a lot of differences. They differ in materials, sizes, weights, and spreader designs. So let’s explain these key differences before I look at the individual products.

Cast Net Illustration
Cast Net Illustration

Net Size

Learning to throw a cast net is not that challenging, especially if you get the right net size. Net throwing can be tricky if you get a net that is too big for your skill level. They range from three feet to 10 feet or more.

Casting a huge net will take a toll on you physically, so you have to get a size you are comfortable throwing in the water. It’s easy to measure cast nets. You start from the horn to the lead line. The best question to ask yourself is, how much bait do you want to catch, and how fast do you want to do it?

Your answer will help you determine which radius net is best for you. A larger radius net will allow you to catch more bait without any worries easily. However, your casting techniques should be incredible or stand out.

Many states in the USA have laws regarding the use of cast nets the size to use in the water. Always check your state’s fishing regulations and stay on the safe side of the law.

Mesh Size

You have to choose the right mesh size. This is the size of the spacing of the mesh of the net you settle for. The mesh size helps determine the size of the baitfish you can catch during your fishing adventures and how quickly the net sinks into the water.

Cast nets vary in size, and you should pick a good enough design that will easily sink in deeper waters. The size of your bait will correspond to the size of the mesh your net will require. A smaller bait will need a smaller mesh.

A larger mesh size allows smaller baits, and a lot of water easily passes through, and it’s ideal for catching different types of fish. Cast nets with larger mesh sizes will sink faster but will not grab those smaller baits you may be looking for. Therefore, the smaller the mesh, the more bait it will catch. Always double-check your mesh size and decide to choose a stretched mesh or a square mesh.

The ideal cast net mesh size for targeting different sizes of bait fish are:

  • 1/4″ mesh size = 2 to 3 inch bait fish
  • 1/2″ mesh size = 4 to 5 inch bait fish
  • 5/8″ mesh size = 5+ inch bait fish

Weight

The weight of the cast net you choose will impact how fast your net sinks. A heavier net will sink faster, but you will have to do more worth to throw it into the water. A lighter net will sink slower, and you will not spend a lot of energy throwing it into the water.

The size and weight of the cast net you choose matter a lot. The bigger the net, the better, especially when your bait is deeper. Many anglers are concerned about the amount of lead weight per radius foot.

Consider the depth of the water you will be casting your net. Lighter nets are suitable for shallow water. If you are throwing your net over 26 feet, consider a deep hole cast net. Choose a net that works best for the water depth where you plan to use it.

Weight goes from 0.75 to 1.5 pounds per radius foot.

Materials

Choose cast nets made of nylon or monofilament. There are a few benefits of monofilament, which include:

  • Monofilament nets are lighter and much easier to throw into the water.
  • They also sink faster than nylon cast nets as they are thinner and come with a slicker finish.
  • Monofilament nets are less visible in the water than white color nylon cast nets, and you will catch more bait when using them.

Types

You can buy different types of cast nets and enjoy an excellent fishing experience. Cast nets come in different sizes, and you can pick a size that fits your fishing needs and catch the different types of bait.

Cast nets are classified into three types. You can settle for deepwater nets, rapid current nets, or standards commonly used by many anglers.

Cost

The prices vary from shop to shop, and you should choose a design that will fit your budget. Once you find a design, you like that will satisfy your fishing requirements, go on, and place an order.

Compare cast nets prices from one shop to another and pick a high-quality design you like. Feel free to seek recommendations from friends, colleagues, or family members who are into fishing.

Best 10 Cast Nets for Baitfish

1. Drasry Saltwater Cast Net – Best for Beginners

First on my list is this Drasry Saltwater Cast Net. It is handmade from a copolymer monofilament mesh. The mesh has a 3/8″ size which will accommodate most bait species. In my experience, this size mesh best suits 3-5 inch bait fish.

It has a 32ft long braided poly hand rope. This is sufficiently long to cast even from a relatively long distance away, such as from a pier that is above the water.

The weights have a 1.1 pound per food sinker which is heavy duty. It is available in 4ft to 7ft sizes. It also comes with a carry bag to store when not in use.

This cast net is designed for beginners, so if this is your first net, then this is my recommendation for you. I found it the easiest to use in my tests.

Pros

  • Available in four different sizes from 4 feet to 7 feet.
  • High-quality craftsmanship that is handmade.
  • Easy to use and ideal for beginners.
  • Includes a portable cast net bag and some repair tools.

Cons

  • I did notice that the plastic collar is weaker, and I suspect it will not be very durable. You can replace this yourself, but it could be frustrating.

2. Betts Old Salt Premium Cast Net – Best Budget Option

Another great option that is easy to throw and strong is the Betts Old Salt Premium Cast Net.

This is available in 4ft to 8ft sizes and has a 3/8″ mesh size, which is suitable for most bait fish in the 3 to 5 in size range. It has 1 pound weight per foot and is made from a copolymer monofilament. This is a moderate amount of weight in the middle range.

This net also comes with a utility box.

Pros

  • This net has moderate specs that come in a range of sizes. It is a middle-of-the-pack option with good mesh sizes and weights.
  • The utility box is very handy for storing your net, especially to keep your boat neat and tidy.

Cons

  • The quality of the construction is less than I would’ve desired. I can see some damage that might indicate it won’t be durable in the long term.
  • I did find the net was quite tight and didn’t open fast enough on the throw.

3. Bait Buster Cast Net – Best Premium Option

The Bait Buster cast net is a professional tool. It is made from a copolymer monofilament with 1.5 pounds per foot of weight, which is a lot more than most other options. I noticed that this extra weight resulted in the net sinking faster, which would capture more bait before they could run away.

It also has a heavy-duty 0.28mm mesh with a strong 25 ft band line.

The mesh is 3/8″ in size and has a six-panel design, resulting in a better spread.

It also comes with a 3.5-gallon bucket for easy storage.

Pros

  • Includes a 3.5-gallon bucket which is very handy for storage and transport, especially if you are fishing from a boat.
  • I noticed that each lead weight is crimped onto the line – this helps to prevent the weights from sliding away from their intended locations.
  • Very high-quality workmanship.

Cons

  • It comes with 1.5 lb/ft, which is on the heavy end and can be more difficult for a beginner to use.
  • The price tag is higher than some of the other alternate options.

4. Ahi USA 200 Series Cast Net

This Ahi USA cast net comes in 3 to 7 ft sizes and has 0.75 pounds per foot of weight – this makes it a smaller and lighter net than some of the other options. It has a 24 ft hand line attached to a swivel.

It has a 6-panel mesh design of copolymer monofilament with a double selvage stitch pattern. The braille lines are made from 80 lb line.

Includes a hard plastic container.

Pros

  • This is a high-quality product with good quality manufacturing. The critical stress points have double selvedge added.
  • This is best suited for bait fish in the 1 to 5 in size range.

Cons

  • The lead weight is on the low end at 0.75lb/ft. This means that it is lighter to throw for a beginner, but it is also slower to sink, and I did notice a substantial reduction in the amount of bait fish per cast.
  • Make sure you prep the net before use by tightening the knots where the braille line is attached to the lead line.

5. Calusa Cast Net

This Calusa cast net comes in 8 to 12 ft sizes, which makes it a larger net. It also has 1.5 pounds per radius foot, making it one of the heaviest nets.

It has 1/2″ mesh, perfect for 4-5 inch bait fish. This is a very high-end net, made from heavy and high-end materials – this also gives it a higher price range.

I found that the heavyweights make it more difficult to cast and unsuitable for beginners. But if you are experienced and can appreciate the benefits of catching more bait fish then check it out.

Pros

  • This is a premium net with high-quality construction. These nets are designed for experienced anglers would want the fastest sink rates.
  • In my experience, this net has the best performance – it threw flatter and wider than any of the others and sank faster – so it would catch more bait fish per cast.

Cons

  • This is the heaviest net on my list at 1.5 lb/ft and can be difficult for a beginner to use effectively.
  • This is one of the most expensive nets available, especially in the 12 ft size.

6. Cracker Cast Net

Cracker nets are available in 6 to 10 ft in size and has a wide range of mesh sizes from 1/4″ to 5/8″ so you can select the exact mesh you want for your target bait species. It also has a 1.5 pounds weight per foot which is on the heavy side and is not as easy to cast.

It comes with a storage bucket for transport.

These nets are also made by Calusa and are a premium option.

Pros

  • High-quality manufacturing quality. I don’t think you will notice any degradation over time.
  • A wide range of mesh sizes allows you to select which size bait fish you are targeting.

Cons

  • Heavy net at 1.5 lb/ft, which means it is not suitable for beginner anglers.

7. Yeahmart American Cast Net

A very affordable option is this Yeahmart cast net. It is made from a copolymer monofilament of 3/8″ mesh with 4 to 8ft sizes. I did notice the manufacturer claims that this net is handmade.

The weights are made from zinc sinkers. This makes them more environmentally friendly as they won’t pollute the environment if you lose them.

The net also has an aluminium disc at the top, designed to make it easier to throw for beginners. This helps to keep the weight more uniform and prevents the top from bunching.

Pros

  • Very affordable price tag.
  • Environmentally friendly sinkers.

Cons

  • I personally didn’t like the aluminium disc attached to the top of the net. It is designed to help beginners to throw the net – and maybe it does. But as an experienced user I found that it forced me to throw the net differently than I would for any other net. And because of this I had all kinds of trouble getting this net to throw without tangling.

8. Goture American Cast Net

This Goture Cast Net has iron and plastic combination sinker. This is designed to have less environmental impact as the iron will rust away if left in the water.

It has a 3/8″ mesh size which is suitable for most bait fish. It has 1 pound per foot of weights and is available in 4 to 12 ft of a copolymer net.

This also comes with a plastic tube for easy storage.

Pros

  • Environmentally friendly sinkers made from iron and plastic.
  • Handmade, high quality construction.
  • Comes with a throwing aid to help beginners learn to use their net – I didn’t try this personally.
  • Available in 4ft to 12ft sizes.

Cons

  • I noticed that the cast net horn section can come apart. It doesn’t seem to be designed in a robust manner.

9. Fitec Super Spreader Cast Net

Fitec has a super spreader design which means that you get a good landing even with a poor throw. It is also made from nylon which has improved durability.

The mesh has a 3/8″ size and comes in either 0.75 to 1 pound per foot of weights. It is available in 3 to 9 ft sizes. I wouldn’t recommend getting a 3 foot size or 0.75 lb/ft – these sizes are just too small and light. Maybe you could use these to teach kids to throw but not for an adult angler.

This is a durable and easy to throw net.

Pros

  • Well made construction and will be durable for the future.

Cons

  • The sinkers are a tube style design which did get twisted sometimes as they spin.

10. UGM Saltwater Cast Net

Another option that is easy to throw is by UGM. It comes in 4 to up to 12 ft which is very large options. The mesh size is 3/8″ and is made from a copolymer monofilament. The net is handmade.

The sinkers are environmentally friendly.

It also comes with a longer hand line of 43 feet. This cast design, in particular the 12 ft option, can catch a lot of bait per throw.

I like the portable bag that is included.

Pros

  • Environmentally friendly sinkers.
  • Long hand line so you can cast from a fair distance away from the water or deeper spots.

Cons

  • I didn’t feel like this net had the same durability of netting as some of the other options and might develop holes over time.

Conclusion

Casting nets are a great choice if you like fishing in water no deeper than their radius. Choose a design that will satisfy your needs. Once you get the perfect product, go on and learn how to use it correctly. Learning how to cast takes a bit of practice, and with no time, you will learn how to cast like a professional.

Last update on 2022-11-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


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Russ Egan

Russ is an avid fisherman. He has fished all over the world for more than two decades, primarily for saltwater game fish but also for local trophy fish. Russ writes reviews for all of his fishing gear to help others achieve their own fishing goals. His favorite reel is a Shimano Curado Baitcaster. His dream is to catch a Black Marlin.