Cast Net Care

Add years to your cast net with proper maintenance tactics

catching live bait with cast net
A good panel net will be useful for many years if you take care of it and routinely wash it down.John Brownlee, Islamorada, Florida

For those of us who like to fish with live bait, a cast net can be an indispensable tool. It pays to invest in a quality net, and most pros prefer a so-called “panel” net, one in which several triangular monofilament panels are sewn together to form the circular net.

A quality panel net will provide you with years of service, given an appropriate level of care, provided you don’t end up throwing it over too many rocks. But too many people neglect nets, thereby shortening their useful life considerably.

Cast-net care really is a simple matter and usually involves hanging the net from a fence or tree to spread the mesh, then washing it thoroughly with pressure from a garden hose to remove salt, slime, scales and other debris. A common mistake involves leaving the net hanging in the sun for too long, however. Many a tired mate has forgotten to store the clean net when finished, leading to premature aging.

Nets should be stored dry in a five-gallon bucket or other similar container, and they can be soaked in those buckets with fresh water and a cap full of Downy fabric softener to restore the net’s flexibility from time to time as it ages.