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Cast Nets TN

We are blessed in Tennessee with an abundant bait fish population. Throughout most of the season, enough Gizzard or Threadfin Shad to fish for the day, can be caught with a cast net in very short order. Thirty to forty bait fish of nearly any size can be caught in typically less than an hour. However.. certain water conditions cause Shad to move from the easily catchable, shallow backs of the creeks to the main creek or river channel. Smaller, lighter nets do not work as well when trying to catch bait fish in ten to fifty feet of water. The hottest summer months cause the backs of the creeks to warm to ninety degrees and hotter, depriving the water of valuable oxygen. The lack of moving water and air will cause the fish to bail out of the typical shallow location to the slightly cooler deeper location near the mouth of the creek. It has been my experience that the fish will also school up, as opposed to being scattered as they are in the spring. The Shad I typically catch in 2-5 feet of water move out to 8-12 feet. Sometimes the bait will be 8 to 12 feet over as much as 50 feet or more of water. At this time I have stopped throwing the net here and there in search of shallow, unmark-able fish. I use my electronics to locate balls of bait near the channel ledge before throwing. If you find one fish, you will find many. I do not use my big motor to search as I believe it spooks the fish. The trolling motor is a better option. Throw the biggest, heaviest net you can handle. Throw less times but more calculated. Locate bait in the main river by watching for surface activity. The smallest activity over deep water can usually be a sign of many fish. The creeks do not seem to work the same way. The creek is hotter and the bait may never surface. You’ll need more time, so plan accordingly. I use Fitec Cast nets. Model numbers, 15063 8.0 foot 5/8 Clear Mono and 15065 10.0 foot 5/8 Clear Mono. These nets are so throw-able compared to other nets I have used. They are soft, strong and open easily with a variety of throwing techniques. I like the 5/8ths inch netting as it allows the troublesome new hatch to swim out and the larger, preferred Shad, to stay in the net. I like to use cooler tap water in my tank, with “Better Bait” bait saver. It de-chlorinates the water and gives hard-to-keep, summertime bait a fighting chance. Be careful to not have too much of a water temperature differential from the lake to your bait tank as it will shock and possibly kill your bait; no more than around 10 degrees difference. Add about a cup of rock salt to fifty gallons of water. Good Luck... Patience. 
Capt. Bob Angello 


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