Cast nets in our area are sort of a mystery to a lot of fishermen. The questions frequently asked are: "What size and how much sinker weight to the radius foot?” Yes! There is a difference in cast nets. Cast nets for menhaden (bunkers) should be eight or ten feet in radius with netting of two inch stretch or larger; weighted approximately one and a quarter pounds of lead to each radius foot. In order to understand cast nets you must know the different parts of this type of net.

Are described by the radius foot which is a measurement from the horn to the lead line.
Should be at least 60 feet long, as nets that are thrown in deep water of twenty feet or more will need the extra line to insure that the net does not close prematurely. Hand lines should have at least a quarter of an inch in diameter as it is easier on your hands when pulling it in with many bunkers caught in it.
Should be a minimum size of 9/0 or larger as a strong swivel is needed for the lifting of a heavy weight of caught bunkers and to keep the brails of the net from twisting.
The horn is where the top of the netting is secured and where the brails pass through. It should be at least 2 inches in diameter.
Brails should be made of 100 pound test monofilament.
Lead line should be made of a 3/16th diameter stiff line that sinks quickly.
Should be one ounce and evenly spaced along the lead line.
For menhaden 7 inches or more in size, the netting should be at least one inch square and when stretched out it would measure 2 inches. Netting should be at least 15 pound test monofilament.
TYPES OF CAST NETS: There are two types of cast nets. One is called a Custom type and it is made of pie shaped panels sewn vertically together, which allows the net to lay flat. The other is a Production type net, which doesn’t allow the net to lay flat because the seams are sewn horizontally.
CLEANING OF A CAST NET: Nets are easy to clean. Just rinse with fresh water after use. This will wash off the fish slime. If your net should get dirty use a little soap to clean.
STORAGE: Always store your net away from sun light. I recommend that it be put in a polyethylene commercial fish basket. This type of basket has many holes in it which allows water to drain away, and your net will air dry in no time. Stay away from five gallon buckets.
SMALLER MENHADEN: (Peanut Bunkers) I suggest a ten foot net with half inch square mesh (one inch stretch mesh).
Bait size Fish Type Mesh* (square) Mesh* (stretch) Material: mono Sinker weight per radius foot Radius Diameter
4" - 6"
1/2 inch
1 inch
10 pound
1 1/4 pounds
10 feet
20 feet
7" - 12" or larger
1 1/4 inch
2 1/2 inch
20 pound
1 1/4 pounds
10 feet
20 feet