How To Throw A Cast Net From Your Kayak Like A Pro

By: Joseph Simonds on April 19, 2017
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how to throw a cast net from a kayak

Ever tried throwing a cast net from your kayak?

It’s actually pretty effective once you practice it a couple of times…

As you probably know, catching your own bait can save you lots of money compared to buying bait from a bait shop (only to have it die within an hour of fishing).

Also, you may get to the bait shop and they could be fresh out of live bait fish, didn’t get a delivery yet, or whatever other excuses they may throw at you.

That’s why I decided I was going to learn how to throw a cast net from my kayak like a pro.

Being able to effectively stand and throw a cast net from a kayak requires the following considerations:

  1. Must have a stable kayak you can stand in (you can install outriggers to add stability to your kayak if needed)
  2. Must be able to throw a cast net effectively on solid ground
  3. Must have pretty good balance
  4. You may/will go swimming at one point or another

The great news is, with practice you can be able to catch bait from your kayak like a pro. You just have to be willing to put in the time (and not be afraid of getting wet).

how to throw a cast net from a kayak

First, let’s go over some pros and cons of catching your own bait from a kayak:

Pros of Catching Your Own Bait From a Kayak

  1. Saves Money
  2. Kayaks are quiet and will not spook bait as much as a large boat would.
  3. You can get to places boats can’t get into that may be full of live bait.
  4. You can actually get better at throwing a cast net if you can do it from a kayak.
  5. If all else fails, you can easily get out and wade to catch bait.

Cons of Catching Your Own Bait From A Kayak

  1. Stability – It can be rather difficult to stand and throw your net from the kayak. This takes practice! You must also have a kayak capable of standing up in.
  2. Space – You don’t have much room to work with, so you are limited to smaller nets in order to throw safely and efficiently. You are also limited to how much bait you can keep due to storage space.
  3. Cast nets and a bucket or cooler full of water for bait can add extra weight to your kayak.

When gearing up to catch bait, there are really only a few items that I need along with one “bonus” item that can be a huge help.

The main items you need are:

  1. A cast net (4 to 6 foot)
  2. A bucket/cooler
  3. A rain jacket
  4. The bonus item would be a paddle/push pole holster, or any type of large hook you could hang on your belt. This helps tremendously to keep your line coiled up and ready to go so you don’t have to waste time coiling up your rope after you find the bait.

cast net from kayak

As for the cast net, it is wise to start with a small net and work your way up as you get more comfortable with throwing it from your kayak. I started with a 5-foot cast net and moved up to a 6-foot, but starting with a 4-footer may be the best option until you get the hang of it.

The bucket is the best thing to use to empty your net into. You could easily just dump the net into your kayak, but bait can easily find their way back into the water through your scupper holes, or just flopping over the side.

Also, your net may also bring in grass, shells, rocks, and other goodies you may not want in your kayak, so the bucket helps keep any debris from making a mess of your kayak.

Once your net is emptied into the bucket, pick your bait out by hand and place them in your designated bait bucket or cooler.

cast net tips

If it is a cloudy or cold day, it helps to stay as dry as possible. 

This is why I like to have a rain jacket, or even a complete rain suit to wear when throwing the net. 

Water gets slung all over the place and by the time you’re done catching bait, you can easily be drenched from head to toe. 

If you are uncomfortable wearing rain gear while throwing the net, it would be wise to pack an extra pair of clothes to change into.

how to throw a cast net from kayak

Here are a few tips when trying to catch bait from your kayak using a cast net:

  1. Keep The Wind to Your Back – Use the wind to your advantage to help you throw your net. Throwing against the wind is nearly impossible, and you will end up with a face full of water and a twisted up net. You also want to use the wind to help you drift towards your target. If you are facing into the wind, by the time you pick up your net and get ready to throw, you will be blown too far backward out of reach of your target. Take the time to paddle around the school of bait and then drift into it.
  2. Keep Your Target in Front of You – You are very limited on movement in a kayak. You cannot twist or turn very much when standing up so you are very limited to where you can throw your net. This would be directly in front of you or slightly off to the side (within 180 degrees), depending on how good your balance is.
  3. Make sure your kayak is heading straight towards your target when you start your drift. Having a rudder attached to your kayak helps tremendously in keeping you straight as your drift.

Note: You can also reach down and let your net drag in the water to help you steer while drifting.

cast net tips from kayak

  • Be Cautious When Throwing a Net While Anchored – You can experience a sudden jolt if you throw your net when anchored up and go to pull the net in. Your anchor line will go slack and suddenly tighten up as the kayak moves forward as you pull in your net. Be aware of this or you may end up swimming with your bait. Also, do not tie off your anchor to the side of your kayak as this can increase your chance of tipping over with the anchor line pulling on the side.
  • Keep Your Casting Area Clear – There is nothing more frustrating than getting your net or rope snagged on something when you are getting ready to throw it. Be sure the area in front of you, to the side of you, and directly behind you is clear. Move any rods and rod holders that may interfere with throwing your net.

The following video will demonstrate how to effectively throw a cast net from your kayak while standing up.

Tossing A Cast Net From A Kayak [VIDEO]

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Many anglers think that throwing a cast net from a kayak is too tough (or will always result in them flipping over).

But what I’ve found is even those of us without the best balance can throw a small cast net from a kayak.

The 4-5 foot cast nets don’t really require that much movement, and in most cases, you can get all of the bait you will need for your kayak in a smaller net.

Of course, I do highly recommend trying it out without all of your gear, rods, etc the first few times…

So what did I miss?

Any questions on how to throw a cast net from a kayak?

Let me know in the comments.

Tight Lines.

Related Post: How To Throw A 10-Foot Cast Net The Easy Way (see it here now)

how to throw a 10ft cast net with chasten whitfield

P.S.  – If you think your angler friends or fishing networks would like to see this, please Tag them or Share this with them. You Rock! Pa-POW!

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Jacinda Rose

Great advice, Tony! You’re the only person I’ve seen that doesn’t grab the net at the top & fold it down before throwing it.

Tony Acevedo

Thanks Jacinda! This is the only way I throw these smaller nets. It’s quick and easy!

Jacinda Rose

I was gonna ask if it was just with the smaller nets….