A cast net's size affects how easy or difficult it is to throw and control. Several factors impact the ease of throwing a cast net, ultimately making smaller-diameter nets easier for most anglers.
Factors that Determine the Ease of Throwing a Cast Net
The weight of the cast net is one of the most important factors determining how easy or difficult it is to throw. Heavier yields require more effort and strength to get a good toss, while lighter nets can generally be thrown further and with less strain on the thrower's body. When looking for an easy-to-throw cast net, aiming for a net that weighs between 2 to 4 pounds is typically a good goal. Nets in this weight range can still capture decent-sized fish but are light enough for beginners and those with less upper body strength.
The diameter of the cast net's hoop also impacts how easily it can be thrown. Wider nets create more drag when thrown, requiring greater force to get sufficient distance. However, wider nets allow for catching bigger fish and cover more space when deployed. All things considered, cast nets with diameters between 6 to 8 feet tend to offer the ideal balance of being wide enough for good results yet not too wide to make throwing overly difficult. Nets on the smaller end of this range, around 6 feet, will likely be easiest to throw for beginners and those with less strength in their arms and shoulders. As throwers improve their technique and build more power, they may want to increase the diameter up to 8 feet for maximum fish-capturing performance.
The mesh size of the net also influences how easily it can be thrown. In general, larger mesh sizes are easier to throw than smaller mesh sizes. There are a few reasons for this:
- Larger mesh nets have fewer knot points per square inch, making the net more flexible and less resistant to being thrown. Small mesh nets with more knot points can stiffen up when tightened into a ball, requiring more effort to fling them open.
- Larger mesh nets have larger holes, so they offer less surface area and drag resistance when thrown. This allows for a smoother and easier throw that travels further.
- Fish, particularly smaller fish, can still be caught effectively in larger mesh nets. The increased open area makes it easier for fish to become entangled once the net lands in the water.
For these reasons, cast nets with medium to large mesh sizes in the 3/4 to 1-inch range will typically offer the easiest throwing performance for beginners and those seeking simplicity. However, small mesh nets may still be needed in some situations to catch very small bait fish.
Recommendations for Easy-to-throw Cast Nets
6 to 8-foot Diameter
Based on the factors that influence the ease of throwing a cast net, our primary recommendation for an easy-to-throw net is to target a 6 to 8-foot diameter. There are a few reasons why this size range works best:
- Compactness - Nets in this range collapse into a tight bundle that is comfortable to hold and throw from multiple arm positions. They allow for a full range of motion during the windup.
- Spread - A 6 to 8-foot diameter still provides enough spread once the net is thrown to effectively cover a moderate area of water. It balances compactness with coverage area.
- Control - The smaller circumference of these diameter nets makes it easier to direct and control where the weighted line lands with precision. There is less net "spilling out" during the throw.
- Distance - When thrown properly, 6 to 8-foot diameter nets can still achieve reasonable distance, especially for their lighter weight and compact size.
In summary, targeting a 6 to 8-foot diameter cast net optimizes the key factors for an easy-to-throw net - compactness, precision, and balance of spread and distance potential. Any larger in diameter and the net quickly becomes more unwieldy and difficult to control.
Medium to Large Mesh
In addition to a 6 to 8-foot diameter, we also recommend choosing a cast net with medium to large mesh size for maximizing ease of throwing. Nets with 3/4 to 1 1/2 inch mesh meshes fall into this category. There are a few reasons why larger mesh nets are generally easier to throw:
- Aerodynamics - Larger mesh allows more water to pass through the net during the throw, reducing wind resistance and drag. This makes it easier to attain greater distance.
- Collapsibility - Nets with larger mesh meshes tend to collapse into a tighter, neater bundle for the initial windup and launch of the throw. This makes the throw more controlled.
- Less effort - Because they encounter less resistance during the throw, large mesh nets require less effort and arm strength to achieve optimum distance.
- Weight - All things equal, larger mesh nets also tend to be slightly lighter in weight, further contributing to their ease of throwing.
However, the trade-off is that larger mesh nets allow smaller fish to escape. So they are better suited for targeting larger prey fish rather than bait or juveniles.
But if ease of throwing and maximum throw distance are the highest priorities, then we strongly recommend opting for a cast net with medium to large 3/4 to 1 1/2 inch mesh meshes. The benefits in terms of aerodynamics, weight, and collapsibility will make a huge difference.
How to Improve Your Throwing Technique
In addition to the size and design of the cast net itself, your own throwing technique can significantly impact on how easy or hard it is. Here are some tips to improve your throwing technique for more distance with less effort:
- Strengthen your arm muscles - The bigger and stronger your biceps, triceps, and shoulder muscles are, the easier you will find it to throw the net far. Do curls, triceps extensions, and shoulder exercises regularly to build up your arm strength.
- Practice proper form - The key is to use your whole body, not just your arms. Engage your legs, core, and hips to generate power from the ground up. Practice the throwing motion without a net to nail down proper form.
- Use a full windup - Don't be afraid to windup the net all the way behind your head. A full range of motion allows you to harness the most power and snap your arm forward fully.
- Follow through - Do not stop your throwing arm abruptly. Let it swing all the way through toward your target to maximize velocity and distance.
- Be relaxed - Tensing up will rob you of power and control. Remain loose and fluid through the entire throwing motion.
- Aim high - Adjust your aim point higher than your target to compensate for the net falling as it travels.
Mastering these throwing technique fundamentals, along with using an appropriately sized and designed net, will give you the best chance of making your cast net throws as easy and effortless as possible. With enough practice, proper throwing form will become second nature.
Making the Cast Net Throw More Comfortable
While the size, weight, and design of the cast net itself are important for ease of throwing, there are some simple adjustments you can make to enhance your comfort level and avoid blisters or strap marks on your arm.
Use gloves - A pair of lightweight, breathable mechanics gloves can protect your hands from abrasion from the net's strings and weights during the throwing motion. This reduces discomfort and lets you focus purely on your form.
Adjust the wrist strap - An improperly fitted wrist strap can rub against your wrist bones during the throw. Take the time to find the right length and tightness for a custom fit. Make sure the strap lays flat and does not twist when you throw the net.
Lengthen the wrist strap - If you have longer arms, consider lengthening the wrist strap slightly to reduce pressure on your wrist. This may require adding an extension. A longer strap allows more range of motion before going taut.
Wear long sleeves - On hot days, long sleeves can help protect your arms from net string abrasion and sunburn when throwing multiple times. Even lightweight, breathable fabrics offer some protection.
By taking these simple steps - wearing gloves, adjusting the wrist strap for a proper fit, and using long sleeves - you can make repetitively throwing your cast net a more comfortable experience. This allows you to focus on optimizing your technique instead of dealing with discomfort, pain, or distraction. The more comfortable your net throw, the easier and more natural it will become over time.