Catching Live Bait

Are you planning on going for the big catches on your next fishing trip? If you have done your research, then you already know that live bait is the way to go when looking to catch bigger fish. However, buying and transporting live bait is not always a viable option, is it? It is not only inconvenient, but it can also be very pricey, depending on the live bait you want to go with. Thankfully, there is a cheap and easy alternative that you may want to go with – just catch your own live bait.

This might sound like quite the challenge, but it is quite easy once you get the hang of it. Keep in mind that there are many ways to catch live bait, and most of them have their pros and cons. However, there is one method that stands tall in terms of ease and effectiveness – using a cast net.

Why Catch your Own Live Bait with a Cast Net?

The most obvious reason is because you don’t have to buy live bait! You can take control of your own fishing future when you can catch your own bait. While there are other methods available, cast net is certainly the best one. One of its major advantages is that it allows you to catch a lot of bait in just one throw – as long as you do it properly. Of course, there are some things that you will need to consider beforehand in order to make the best choice when purchasing a cast net.

Throwing a cast net might sound complicated, but it is actually easier than you think – especially if you go with a smaller-size net. The best part is that you can easily practice it on grass until you get the hang of it.

But enough about this, let’s start with the first thing you need to consider – buying the correct cast net.

What Cast Net to Use?

If you have browse cast nets, then you may have noticed that they come in different sizes, meshes, and even with various weights. Some simple rules to follow are:

  • Sizes typically vary from 3 feet to 10 feet. It is up to you to choose – a wider choice would be better for larger bait. It is also convenient if you want to catch more live bait in one throw. A 10-feet net, however, will be more difficult to use. Keep in mind that the total width of the net is double it’s length, so a 10 foot net covers 20 feet when thrown.
  • The mesh is the next to consider. You want a tighter net if you are going for smaller fish, but you will catch everything including even rocks sometimes. Choosing the size of the mesh is not exact science – consider the size of the bait you are going for, and try to choose an appropriate mesh size. Typically, they go from 3/16″ to 1″.
  • The last thing is the weights that the cast net uses. Heavier weights are almost always preferable because they allow the cast net to sink quicker, preventing the fish from reacting. However, the more the weight, the heavier it is and harder it is to throw the net.

A quick tip to follow when purchasing a cast net is the type of water you will use it in. Is your live bait spot shallower? Then it might be better to go for a lighter option that is easier to handle. If, however, you are going for deeper water and larger baits, then it is much better to opt for a heavier net that will sink quickly.

Tips About Catching Your Own Live Bait with a Cast Net

Experienced fishermen know that the best time to catch live bait is during the night. The fish does not have a chance to react to the methods you use, regardless if you use a cast net or not. In addition to this, attracting live bait can be very easy at night – all you need is to sink some light source near the location, and it will start attracting fish in just a few minutes. We recommend using a green light source – even a spotlight shining into the water’s surface will work. Give it some time, and you should start seeing the small and medium-sized fish in the area swarming around.

If you are having issues catching live bait with a cast net, then you may need to consider switching up your location. If your first one or two throws are unsuccessful, it is very likely that the fish in the area is alert. It might be necessary to switch up your location since you are unlikely to have any success in that spot right now.

Wondering whether to go for a larger or smaller mesh size? When in doubt, it is always better to go for the slightly smaller option. There are two reasons for this:

  • It will prevent smaller bait (e.g., minnows) from escaping from the net.
  • It will prevent the fish from being gilled. Dealing with gilled fish can be a real hassle when catching live bait. This is when the smaller fish gets tangled in the mesh, perishing soon after. Cleaning your cast net when this happens can be very tedious.

Using a smaller mesh size prevents the two issues above. And there is only one downside – the net will be slightly heavier, making it a tad more difficult to throw. But this is an easy obstacle to overcome, as long as you remember to practice enough.

Is Using a Cast Net the Best Option?

If you have been researching methods of catching your own live bait, then you might have encountered many of the popular methods – building a trapping rig, using a sabiki rig, or even going with the classic small baited hooks. However, using a cast net is by far the most efficient method to do it. Its effectiveness cannot be matched – the only downside is that it needs some getting used to. However, once you have done it a few times and are used to your cast nets, you will see that it is the most superior method to catch your own live bait.

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Fishing Report from TPWD (Jun. 19)

GOOD. Water stained; 75 degrees; 3.56 feet above pool. Striper fishing is great on live bait anchoring on humps in 20-30 feet of water and drifting flats in 15-25 feet of water. Topwaters are working early in the backs of creeks and along river channels. Catfish are good on cut shad and prepared baits. Channels are on the rocks and shallow flats in 10-20 feet of water. Blue catfish are on deep humps in 40-50 feet of water. Bass are slow on shallow crankbaits and top waters early along the banks. Look for bass in the shade during the day near docks in 8-15 feet of water. Shad fry are everywhere so downsize baits to catch numbers. Crappie are slow on jigs and minnows near docks and on brush piles using electronics to spot active fish in 10-18 feet of water. Report by Jacob Orr, Guaranteed Guide Service Lake Texoma. Water level continues to be high. Smaller striped bass are surfacing feeding on shad hitting topwaters and swimbaits. Slab bite is starting to turn on producing better quality fish in big schools in deep water. The slab bite will only improve. Report by John Blasingame, Adventure Texoma Outdoors.

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