Catching Bait

Avoid Spooking the bait! the most common mistake and the one that will get you into trouble with your fellow netters is driving through a school of popping bunker. The best approach is drifting through with your engine off. There are times when the bait are thin on top, spread out and spooky, this is the hardest time for a netter the last thing you need is more pressure.


 Using Electronics

Rather than settling for less bait with more throws I choose to find thicker schools by using my boat electronics (fish finder) to locate the bait. paying Bait under the boat can appear as anything from a lump to mountain, sometimes extending from the bottom or suspended off the bottom. To avoid over shooting you must know the location of the boats transducer is very important in pinpointing where the bait is in relation to the boat.  Have the net loaded and ready to throw. watch the screen as you begin the drift over the school; remember to calculate the nets position in reference to where the boat transducer is mounted. You should start the throw at the point where the school first appears on the screen. This will allow the net enough time to open and sink over the most bait. Let the net sink to near bottom before pulling the net up, as you pull the net up your success will be obvious by that telltale feeling of a full net of the bait fish trying to escape.

  Unloading the net once the net is up at the side of the boat. I have seen so many people just pull the net over the side this can result in a torn net and more importantly a sore back. Keep in mind the net is usually made of mono that is 15-20 test and now you have load  from 20-200 lbs in the net.

Instead pull the net to the boat and grasp the Horn (the plastic ring) and the pull rope.  Hold them both in the left hand and with the right reach down and grasp a piece of the net lifting a portion at a time in the boat this will save both you and the net.  Now get the horn and rope in the right hand and lift the left side. Now what you are in the boat with a net full of bait, grasp the horn only and lift it as high as you can. Depending on the size of your net you may have to get stand up on an upper deck, cooler, chair, bucket or a motor cover to fully extend the net. Now start shaking the net most all the bait should fall into the boat. If you have a live well in your deck or a large basket shake the net into them, this speeds up the process and keeps the boat cleaner. There are times when the last bat fish in the net are stuck in the net webbing (gilled).  REMEMBER TAKE ONLY WHAT YOU CAN USE they are a gift from the fish gods and abuse gets everyone upset.

 Proper storage and care of the net will increase the life of the net and will avoid the net from tarring prematurely. Before I leave the dock I usually fill a 5 gallon bucket with a cap full of soap and fresh water (Salt water is OK in a pinch). Once Iím finished catching bait I will put the whole net and line in in the bucket until I get back to the dock. Once back at the dock I rinse the net with fresh water to remove any soap residue, stretch the net and let it dry. Every 4-5 usages of the net I will substitute the soap for fabric softener this will give you a much more pliable net and it smells great.

  Storage is the one thing I see most people do wrong. The key is to have a dry net in storage and never store a wet net. However there are times when it is not possible to completely dry a net before storage example; rainy days, nights, and no time. The one thing that will kill a net (besides a blue fish) is storing moist net in a bucket with no holes at the bottom and around the sides. A moist net will retain some water and it will then start to fill the very bottom of the bucket. A net left sitting in water and heat from trapped air will prematurely break down the mono and shorten the life of the net. The holes in the bucket allow the moisture to weep out and the air to circulate.


       For more help  I can be reached  at                                           Good luck!  Charlie Kay