It’s definitely not rocket science, but throwing a cast net is a skill that confounds lots of anglers.
For Tommy Vidrine, who specializes in catching big speckled trout and needs to have pogies in his livewell this time of year, being able to catch live bait was the motivation to master the art of consistently getting his 7-foot net to spread open into a billowy 14-foot diameter circle.
“I said, ‘I’ve got to learn how to throw this thing if I want to continue to get pogies,’” Vidrine said. “So I went on the Internet and I Googled the best way to throw a cast net. I tried three different ways, and the last one was pretty simple.
“Anybody can do it, if you practice it.”
His first bit of advice: Hone your casting skills on dry land.
“I learned in my driveway. I got down there and practiced instead of in a boat — it’s solid ground and comfortable,” Vidrine said. “When you want to learn, do it comfortably — not in a boat with the wind blowing and you rocking around. Do it in an easy spot.”
And, at least to begin with, the smaller the net the better, he said.
“They should probably start off with a 5-foot net,” Vidrine said. “It’s a lot easier to handle and practice with, and you can still catch some bait.
“Once they get good, they can move up a foot at a time. That’s what I did.”
Half the battle is getting the net correctly positioned in each hand, which is detailed in the following step-by-step photos for this story.
Once he gets to the toss, Vidrine lets physics — and the lead-weight-lined rope at the bottom of the net — take over.
“Then it’s all centrifugal force,” Vidrine said. “It’s really easy. At first I thought it was impossible, but the guy on the Internet made it look so easy.
“Now I don’t even think about it.”
Vidrine shared one more bit of net advice, especially if pogies will be what you’re targeting.
“Do not buy a blue cast net,” he said. “They’ll see it coming in deep water. In shallow water they don’t have a place to run, but in deep water, they see that blue coming down and scatter. In deeper water, they’re way too fast and way too smart.”
1) Vidrine starts off by attaching the hand line to his right wrist.
2) Then he coils up the rest of the hand line, and also places it in his right hand.
3) He extends the net out, and grabs it with his left hand about halfway down.
4) He then transfers the folded net to his right hand, at about that halfway point.
5) Next, he grabs a portion of the lead line rope at the bottom of the net closest to him, and puts it in his mouth. “I’ve thrown it in muddy funky water without putting it in my mouth,” he said. “I can throw it without it, but I seem to get more consistent wide spreads holding it in my mouth.”
6) With his left hand, he tosses about 3 to 4 feet of the lead line closest to him over his left shoulder, and then grabs a weight a couple of feet down with his left hand.
7) Then he coils up and swings around with right hand, releasing the net.
8) He hangs on with his left hand for a split second, and uses it to assist in opening that side of the net.
9) When the net hits the water, he quickly reels in the hand line and hoists the net into the boat.
10) Live pogies go into a 5-gallon bucket and are quickly transferred to his livewell.