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 How to Throw A Cast Net

    It is frustrating to throw a cast net on a bunch of mullet and have it fail to open.A little practice in your back yard will have you opening your net before you go fishing-and will let you get the feel of a vorrect throw,one that opens your net in a perfect circle. Before you throw the cast net,you mustmake itorload it.This process includes positioning the cast net on your hands and arms in such a way that as it is thrown away from the body,it forms a circle.

    There are probably as many ways to throw a cast net as there are mullet in Tampa Bay,and they all get the job done,opening the net in a complete circle.The umbrella openis probably the most common.It is used when the net must be thrown any distance at all,especially from bridges.In the umbrella open,your wrists are held  together and they stay together as your wrists are held together and they stay together as you throw the net.Momentum and the weight of the leads open the net as it goes out.The net will look like an umbrella or parachute as it opens to its full circumference.You perform the umbrella open as follows:

    Attach the loop at the end of the cast net handline around your left wrist.(This method is for a right handed person as was the making of the net.)If you are left handed,simply use the opposite hand and direction described.

    After attaching the handline to your left wrist,make small coils of the handline rope in your left hand until you get to the swivel.See Figure 68.

    Holding the coils in your left hand,take hold of the horn with your right hand,and lay the net(just below the horn)into your left hand,which is also holding the coiled handline.See Figure 69.

    Now,with the coiled handline and the top of the net in your left hand,raise it straight up in front of you until the leadline(bottom of the net)is a few inches off the ground.

    Next,make a circle with your thumb and third finger of then lift it up and place the center portion of the net in your left hand also,and close it.

    You should now be holding the net in your left hand.A large loop of the net will be hand  to the bottom of the leads,as shown in Figure 70.

    With a twist of your left wrist.turn the leads counterclockwise and take the leadline with your right hand and place between your front teeth.See Figure 71.

    Now,your right hand is free again.Use it to pick up the portion of the leadline going from your teeth down to your right hand,and flip some leads over your right forearm.Do this with a wrist motion,keeping your forearm relatively still so that the leads can pile over it.Keep doing this until about two-thirds of the leads are handing over your right forearm.See Figure 72.

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    Moving the right arm at the elbow joint,close your right fist and slide it up under the netthis puts it next to your left hand,which is holding the net.Be sure to keep twothirds of the leads over your right forearm. See Figure 73.

    Next,rotat your right hand so that the inside of your wrist is facing upward.As you do this,open your right hand into a cup,with the fingers together and the thumb extended.Let that portion of the net that is hanging over your right forearm slide into your forefinger and your thunm to firmly grasy the part of the leadline coming down from your teegh.See Figure 74.

    Now,holding the two portions of the net in your hands,with your hands together and the insides of your wrists facing upward,bring the leads around to your left side.See Figure 75.Immediately follow through by swinging your upper body from left to right.As you throw from left to right,open your teeth to let the leadline go as you release the net.Ideally,the net will open into a circle,as shown in Figures 76 and 77.

    This may seem like a chance to jerk your eye teeth out if you forget to open your mouth-but it is a natural action and you wont even be conscious of the fact that you are relasing the leadline.After a bit of practice,you will feel the rhythm of the throwing.

    The idea is to follow through with your hands in a half-circle motion,just as you follow through with a baseball swing or a golf swing.You dont have to throw hard,and you need not try to fan your net open as you throw it.It should open by itself.Remember to keep the insides of your wrists up and to keep them chest high.

    The throwing motion is:

  1.Push your hands out in front of you.

   2.Swing the leads to your left side and back,twisting the body from the waist up in that same direction.

   3.Twisting the body around to the right,swing the netfollow the motion of your body and let the net go out to your right side. 

   If you have false teeth and are afraid of losing your dentures with the leadline,then you can do one of three things:

   1.Tack a clothes pin to your right collar.Instead of putting the leadline between your teeth,put it lightly between the jaws of the clothes pin.Then load the net in the same manner as described before(throwing it over the right forearm,and so forth),or¡­

   2.Take the portion of the leadline you would normally put in your teeth,and lay it over your right shoulder.Then load the net as before,or¡­

   3.Makethe net as just described,up to and including the step illustrated in Figure 70.Then,instead of placing a portion of the leadline between your teeth,lay it over the thumb of your left hand(the hand that is holding the net).Then flip the leads over your right forearm as you did before,and continue making the net as described.Throw the net in the same manner.The leadline will slip off your thumb as you throw.Important:At first try,you may tend to close the left thumb against the forefinger or against the net since the left hand is the hand that holds the net.This will cause the landline to jerk as the net goes out and will affect the opening. If you get in the habit of closing your left hand around the net with the tip of the forefinger pressed against the heel of your left thumb,then thumb will protrude naturally and make a perfecthook on which to hang the leadline.

   An alternative to the umbrella open is the fan open. It is used for opening your net close to you.In this method,you do not actually throw the net,you spread it.Fanning dock or seawall,or in the area where you are standing.The any height,because the net will open and partially close before hitting the water. 

   To perform a fan open,make the net as for an umbrella open.As before,your wrists should be close together when you swing the net to your left side and begin your throwing motion.The difference is in the throwing motion itself.As you star to release the net,continue moving your right hand around to your right.The left hand does not move noticeably to the right,but moves straight out and to the left.When the net leaves your hands,they will be extended almost completely at each side of your body.

   Very little effort is put forth,because you are spreading the net yourseft,instead of letting the weight of the leads and momentum of the net do it.

   Regardless of the throwing method used,a tangled leadline or fouled brail lines will not let the net open completely,so be sure to clear the net each time before making it.Do this by holding the net just under the horn with your left hand,lifting it high enough so that the leads just touch the ground.Then with the right hand,pull the bottom of the net out to the right and to the lift,letting the leads rest on the ground as you pull them out both ways.See Figure 78.

   In this way,you can open the leadline out,in a complete circle if necessary,to get the tangles out and see where the net is fouled.The brails will sometimes twist and opening your net out in this way will allow you to untwist them,by turuning the swivel.

   Open your net out the same way when wading,even though the leadline will be on the bottom and you wont be able see it.This will untangle most fouls.

   The most common cause of fouling will be portions of the leadline becoming entangled with the brail.This sometimes happens when the net is pulled in after it has been thrown.At other times some portion of your leadline may not open completely,or a fish may hit the net near the outer edge of the net,causing the leads to lie on top of the brail lines.When you are wading,the best way to check your net for fouls is to hold the net as shown in Figure 70,but up high,so you can see the leads.If the net is fouled,ou will see some of the leads up above the level of the leadline.Even when it is dark youll be able to see the fouls if you hold the so that it its silhouetted against the night sky.

   Haste in making your net, or throwing it with fouls in it wnill usually disappoint you.This will usually cause a partial opening,when you most wanted a perfect opening.

   Another important thing to remenber in making your net is to keep the handline coils small.Their diameter should be about a foot.Larger coils tend to get fouled up with the net when you throw it,and may sometimes kink or knot.When the handline knots,it jerks the net short of your intended throw and the net does not open completely.

   Often,especially during the spring and summer,small mullet may gill themselves in you net.They manage to get portion.Then,when they try to back out,their gills flare,stopping them,and they are caught fast.These fish will not shake out or fall out as the larger ones will when you empty your net.Do not try to force the small fish through the mesh.You may be able to do it,but you  will either tear the mesh or enlarge it.It takes only a few seconds to back the fish out,working the twine out and over their gills.

   Remember,practice in your back yard and get all the bad opens (sometimes called kidneys because of their shape) out of your system.Throw until you get the comfortable feeling of a good open.Then go out and net the mullet.Good luck!

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