Red mullet, soldierfish, and parrotfish are some of the popular kinds of fish that are caught using cast nets on the Hawaiian coast.
A cast net is a net that is thrown in water in such a way that it covers the largest possible area, and then pulled back in. There are numerous variations of performing this activity. Once you learn the basics, you can experiment with different techniques to become a master in this task. Throwing the net correctly takes a lot of practice, and retrieving it when it is full of fish is a strenuous job. Hence, starters should get a small net with a radius of 3 to 4 feet, and can then move on to larger nets with a 7 to 8 feet radius.
The throws are a matter of skill rather than strength, and thus are best done when the motion is the easiest and most efficient. The method is slightly different when it comes to small (radius less than 6 feet) and large (radius more than 6 feet) nets. Here is one of the most efficient and easy methods of throwing a cast net.
Take the hand rope (also called landrope, landline, or handline) and grasp it in the right hand after making a firm loop around the right wrist. The handline is to be always held tightly, so be sure to have a firm grip and a secure loop on it. Now, coil it into large loops around your palm (hold them in your palm). Start from the first loop (the cinch loop), and work your way towards the net.
Hold the yoke, also called horn, in your right hand, at such a height that the lead line touches the ground. During this step, the handline is still held in the right hand. Take care that you don’t hold the yoke between the loops of the handline. Make sure there are no tangles in the lead line by shaking the net once or twice, but don’t shake too vigorously, since this can itself tangle the net. Shake vertically rather than side-to-side, since vertical shaking won’t cause new tangles.
With your left hand, fold the net on itself, and loop the free end (the end away from the handline) into your right fist. You should have half of the net dangling from your right hand, and the other half in a loop over it.
Extend your right arm to the side. With your left hand, hold the nearest weight on the lead line, and raise it to the same level as your right hand.
This is the most important part, i.e., the throw. Turn your upper body to the right, and in one smooth motion, release the net. The release should be at an upward angle. And remember, power is not as important in the throw as the skill. If you jerk your arm, the motion will get interrupted, and the throw won’t land that far. The net should land in a circle. After it has sunk enough, pull the handline (the rope that you have held in your right hand all this time) to close the net. As the handline is pulled and the net rises, the weights on the lead line come together and form a rudimentary ‘lock’.
This is probably the easiest way of throwing the cast net. Here’s another, slightly more complicated method.
Refer to the previous method for the steps from 1 to 3. The further steps are enlisted below.
Separate the bottom of the net (lead line) into two halves, and pass the left half over your right hand. You should now have the whole net in your right hand – the longer half to the left, the ‘rolled over’ shorter half to the right, and the loop (from step 3) on top.
Put the lead line closest to your left hand in your front teeth. Take care to ensure that you don’t put a weight or a line of netting in your mouth. Only put the lead line in your mouth.
Move the part of the net that you rolled over your right hand in step 4, to your left hand. You should now have one half of the net dangling from both of your arms, plus the part of lead line in your mouth.
Keeping your palms face up, repeat the throwing motion like in the first method. Rotate your upper body about 90° to the right, and release the net in a smooth motion.
Throwing a cast net is a matter of skill and practice, rather than strength. Nobody throws the net in a perfect circle on the first attempt. Keep practicing until you attain the perfection you desire. Happy fishing!