Buy some liquid fabric softener (the stuff you use in the washing machine) and put it in a spray bottle. Hang your net by the horn. Once you have it hanging spray it down really good with the fabric softener. Make sure you soak all the meshing of the net really good. Let it sit for a day. After a day of letting the fabric softener soak in, spray the cast net down with a garden hose while its still hanging. Make sure to get all the fabric softener off the surface of the net otherwise it will be very slippery when using it on the boat.
Also when you first throw it on the boat and the cast net gets wet all the fabric softener on the surface of the net will drip off onto your boat deck making it slippery. So again — wash it down thoroughly. Don’t ever wash your net in any kind of dishwasher soap (like Dawn). It will just dry it out by pulling all the oils out of the mesh which in turn make it brittle and rip. You should always wash your cast net in fresh water with a garden hose after using the net in saltwater. Then leave it out of the bucket to completely dry. Even the lead line on the bottom of the cast net should be completely dry before placing it back in the bucket, otherwise the lead line will slowly drip the water its holding to the bottom of your bucket and start to rot and deteriorate the mesh.
By using the fabric softener on your cast net it will be soft and make it much easier to gather and hold in your hand. It will also make the cast net open easier and spread out better. It will also remove what they call a hat in your cast net, which is the bunching of the mesh near the horn or center of the cast net. Thank you for sending in your question to The Online Fisherman. Don’t forget to keep coming back to our front page for our free weekly giveaways and latest great articles.