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Ohioguy25

What is the best size/style cast net for catching bait for smallmouth in a small river?

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I am fishing for smallmouth on a small river in SW Ohio called the Little Miami.  I have recently discovered how effective live bait is and I saw my friend was having a large amount of success catching smallmouth using small baitfish he was catching with a cast net. What size/type do I want? I am between the Betts Tyzac 1/4" mesh mono 5' and a Betts 1/4 with lead weights. I was told the lead weights sink faster but that the difference would be negligible in water as shallow as this river (2-5 feet mostly.) 

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You might need to check your fishing regulations. Some places have a certain size the mesh needs to be on cast nets.

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1/4 inch mess gets a lot more bait in a river like that , 3/8 usually gills them. I still use 3/8 because they are cheaper and throwing into shallows rips the net all to shreds pretty quickly 

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Ned Rig will catch you just as many and better quality honestly 

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It's going to depend a lot on the type of water you're throwing on. If you have slower moving water and smaller pools you can get away with a small net without too much weight. If you have more current, bigger/deeper pools you'll probably need something wider and heavier. I've always found a 5-6 foot net to be a good combo of being easy to throw while being large enough to be productive as long as you're not in deep water. Unfortunately I'm usually throwing for large shad in deeper water during the winter that require something more in the 10' range that weighs a ton and is extremely tiring to throw. 

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4 hours ago, Glaucus said:

Ned Rig will catch you just as many and better quality honestly 

I've tried it, along with multiple other artificial baits. Very little success. I'm guessing it requires extensive practice and skill.

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2 hours ago, Ohioguy25 said:

I've tried it, along with multiple other artificial baits. Very little success. I'm guessing it requires extensive practice and skill.

Depending on the amount of current and snags you're fishing, it very well might. A Ned rig can be magic for smallies at times, but it's not going to outproduce live bait when they're tight lipped. They sure didn't want one for me last Friday, but a jerkbait and swimbait did the trick. 

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You are taking the sport out of sport fishing by doing this. Its called fishing... not catching. I take more pride in catching 1 by replicating a baitfish with my skill than catching 10 deadsticking live bait with a float when I was 6. 

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15 hours ago, Mikeltee said:

You are taking the sport out of sport fishing by doing this. Its called fishing... not catching. I take more pride in catching 1 by replicating a baitfish with my skill than catching 10 deadsticking live bait with a float when I was 6. 

Good for you. Nobody is making you fish live bait if you don't want to. The OP wants to fish live bait. I fish live bait a few times a year as well, no shame in it here. On a normal day, I can catch more fish with artificials than I can with live bait, but there's occasions that call for it so I use it. 

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20 hours ago, Mikeltee said:

You are taking the sport out of sport fishing by doing this. Its called fishing... not catching. I take more pride in catching 1 by replicating a baitfish with my skill than catching 10 deadsticking live bait with a float when I was 6. 

+1.  Part of the thrill of the catch for me is tricking a fish into eating an artificial bait

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I always just used a minnow trap.  No worry of by-catch there.

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On ‎9‎/‎2‎/‎2018 at 7:27 PM, Log Catcher said:

You might need to check your fishing regulations. Some places have a certain size the mesh needs to be on cast nets.

Great suggestion to check your fishing regulations. On the river I fish cast nets are illegal, you need to use a dip net to catch minnows for bait.

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On 9/4/2018 at 10:14 AM, J Francho said:

I always just used a minnow trap.  No worry of by-catch there.

Yep, we use a glass minnow trap and some saltine crackers to catch all of our minnows on the streams we fish.

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