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Thread: new to dipnetting

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    Default new to dipnetting

    i went dipnetting for the first time last summer down in kenai. i got to see a wide array of methods, types of nets, etc. i'll be going back down there this summer and have a few questions. what is the best net to get (i borrowed one last time)? would i be better off building my own? i saw a lot of custom made nets and those guys seemed to be doing the best. when i say custom i mean that their nets had a square or rectangular shaped net frame with floats attached to the top to keep it off the bottom, which seemed like less work. i live in fairbanks, don't no anybpdy up here or else i just assume go to chitina, realizing that it's a lot closer. my buddy lives down in anc hence why i'm going down to kenai again. i'm assuming that the standard big hoop net probably works best on the copper. any advice would be greatly appreciated.thanks, chris

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    Member thewhop2000's Avatar
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    CRMCD, We could go on and on on what is better, homemade custom nets or one's made like Mike's welding or Ron's custom dipnets in Birchwood. I can say this, if you dip by boat and want to buy one, get a mike's welding net in Sterling. If you dip from shore, get a Ron's net. Mike is made of aluminum and ron makes his from coiled steel. Going by boat doesn't beat up on your net like dipping from shore so both have their advantages.
    If a dipnetter dips a fish and there is no one around to see/hear it, Did he really dip?

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    i'll be wading from shore for sure. checked online for a website or the like for ron's, but can't find anything. any suggestions as to where i could view these before considering buying one? and any idea on prices? what i don't want, obviously, is some piece of junk that i'd be fumbling/repairing with instead of getting fish. i realize that this has been discussed before and appreciate your reply.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    I've been using a home made net on the kenai for almost 10 seasons now. I did replace the gilnetting a few years ago, but other then that it has held up fine. The handle is closet rod and the frame 1/2" conduit bent into an octagon.



    I can't say if it is the best design, but it works well enough. Run timing is key, I've caught one fish in 5 hours, and a limit of 65 in 2 hours. I doubt a professional net would have changed my results much.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

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    Default More than one way to skin that cat...

    They say in engineering (I hear) the best characteristics for a tool depend on the performance requirements. Paul H and his float technique... must have put hundreds of fish in the cooler over those 10 years. I've seen him (couldn't be two hats like that) I think at the Kenai and he covers a lot of water, but I never thought about how his technique simplifies his equipment requirements. And 10 years... how does that cost out on prorated basis, Paul? Might be worth watching for a wetsuit on craigslist? There must be pros and cons to each design or technique.

    From the beach, sometimes extra weight is not a bad thing. I think the welded (Mike's Welding, Soldotna) nets with oval, extruded hoops (flatter profile in the water) work especially well during the tide changes. We have a lighter net frame, with a rounder, bulkier profile in the water which offers a lot of hydrodynamic resistance - great handling from a boat, or at slack tide on shore, but gets to be a LOT of work when the current is running - and sometimes on the Kenai it runs strong. The handle length too, usually a handy feature, works against you when handling this lightweight net. Plenty of folks catch plenty fish without fancy gear though! Just no black net!

    Good range of experience posted on an earlier thread made a pretty good general information file:
    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...lesson-learned. Some good comments about net color, better features for Chitna vs Kenai, gear (kenai keepers, http://kenaikeeper.com/), etc in the thread.

    Good luck, man.

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    This will be my first year dipnetting and there appears to be as many opinions as there are people commenting. But this is what I love, reading the various experiences and opinions, and talking to as many as I can. Have to see if I can come up with a rig of my own to try based on what I "learn".

    All kidding aside, keep the info coming. This is great for a first timer like myself. I will be successful, regardless of how many time I screw up in the process.

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    Default Dipnets

    A point on one of the OP's comments... you really don't want your net frame to float off the bottom. You'll be fighting the current (both in and out); you want the net frame to sink and make contact with the bottom. That will hold it in place against the current. The only reason you'd want a floating netframe would be if you are doing the swimming drift thingie.

    If you can some some basic metal fabrication, you can built a dipnet easy enough. The easiest as well as one of the toughest frame designs is to build a 3-foot by 4-foot (giving a diagonal of 5 feet) square from 5/8" aluminum barstock. It comes in 12' lengths, so it will take 2 sticks to make a frame and will require a weld or at least a pipe sleeve.

    Make a handle from 1-1/4" sch-40 aluminum pipe. The end will take 2 pieces of 5/8" round bar if you smash it slightly. This can be done with a vice, but is best done (carefully) with a hydraulic press.

    The attached graphic is my favorite design. Instead of the 3-4-5 "flyswatter", I like to take a few more minutes to make the extra measurements needed to get a nice hexagon shape with a 5-foot max dimension (per the regs). I also like to put a T handle close to the end. Finally, I wrap a big sleeve of "pool noodle" foam around the end of the handle. This allows the handle to float if you let go of it while wrestling a fish out of the net (I never leave the water while shore fishing... just pluck them out of the net and place on a stringer as you get 'em). The flotation foam was added to the handle a few years ago after I dropped the net in the process of stringing a fish and it promptly sank. That left me trying to scrape my wader-covered foot under the handle to lift it up to where I could grab it again.
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    Floating nets have their place (reds stick more towards the surface, Kings, not so much, but plenty of reds along the bottom in the shallows too). But I us a Ron's net (Birchwood Loop, Chugiak, big sign that says "dipnets") which is not a floating net. I have both a 20 and 30 foot model.

    Consider slitting a 3 foot length of garden hose lengthwise, and then wrapping it around the part of the net that will contact the sand, then duct tape it in place. This will greatly lengthen the life of your net bag. And always have an extra net bag. Never know when a King will do yours in for good.

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    IMHO... if the bottom of the frame is in the mud and the top of the frame isn't within inches of the surface, you are fishing wayyyyy too deep. Back up.

    Hey, crmcd79... if you don't find a frame you like before June, I'll sell you one. Just buy a net at SW, 3 Bears, etc. and let me know what shape frame you want (rect or hex) and how long you want the handle section to be (anything under 20 feet, but I usually make them 9-1/2 feet long based on material management). Cost negotiable and mostly based on material cost at the time. I was thinking about bending up a couple extra frames this spring anyway.

    And for a quality beer, I'll even help you string the net.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JOAT View Post
    IMHO... if the bottom of the frame is in the mud and the top of the frame isn't within inches of the surface, you are fishing wayyyyy too deep.
    For reds, yes, I agree. As I said.

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    i went for the first time this past year and we got 68 in 2 tides for 2 nets. not terrible. when i was dippin i always made sure the top of the net was out of the water just a little bit. my buddy would go where about 6 inches to a foot was sticking out and he did just as good
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    will let you know. thanks for the reply.

    chris

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    thanks to everybody for your replies. a lot of good info; appreciate the help.

    chris

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    CR, Talked with you by phone. Many good thoughts... not all good or bad, just saying.... Take the time to watch what the guy next to you is having good luck at!!!!!
    If a dipnetter dips a fish and there is no one around to see/hear it, Did he really dip?

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    Default "vote" for what you want to keep going

    Quote Originally Posted by thewhop2000 View Post
    CR, Talked with you by phone. Many good thoughts... not all good or bad, just saying.... Take the time to watch what the guy next to you is having good luck at!!!!!
    Great job helping the new guy whop. I clicked on the star on the lower left of your post.

    crmd79, if what whop told you on the phone was good info, I'd suggest joining SCADA at http://alaskadipnetting.com/ and you'll be part of the crew that work to maintain our currently held ability to dipnet some fish for our families. I'm a member there, and send my yearly dues in just before each dipnet season (preparing to go is my reminder to renew, each year).

    Whop doesn't say all that he does to help us all keep our current ability to do this, or at least from that which I've read here, he doesn't. But he does work more to maintain this than anyone I know, which is why I keep renewing my SCADA membership.

    There are a number of ways to "vote" for what you want. If you want a restaurant to stay in biz, eat there. If you want an Outdoors Internet forum to stay in biz, send them a little money for a paid membership, if you want Mom-N-Pop stores to stay in biz then shop there, if you rod-N-reel fish the Kenai Penninsula send money to an org that helps to keep that going (like maybe KRSA) and if you want to keep dipnetting, send a little money to an organization that works to maintain our ability to do that.

    I'm getting off my soap-box now.

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    Member thewhop2000's Avatar
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    Just remember to bring the 1/2 gallon empty milk jugs with you and some venetian blind cord to tie them up on top of your net. You can adjust and find out what works best as a float.
    Joat, I didn't know you made nets? When did you start and do you put them out for sale???
    If a dipnetter dips a fish and there is no one around to see/hear it, Did he really dip?

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    Member FishKing's Avatar
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    if you can get on a boat with thee friends. One driver, two dip netting, one getting fish out of nets..... it is a blast.

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    Member thewhop2000's Avatar
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    Do thee friends need to be amish???? Just kidding!!!!
    If a dipnetter dips a fish and there is no one around to see/hear it, Did he really dip?

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    As a alternate or an add-on for those of us dipnetters from Fairbanks http://chitinadipnetters.com/ Chitna has our own group!

  20. #20
    Member thewhop2000's Avatar
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    Chitina dipnetters are a good group of guys that I talk with all the time. They represent the copper and SCADA represents South Central. We are both an advocate for Alaskans putting fish into their freezers. It is why we live up here!!!!
    If a dipnetter dips a fish and there is no one around to see/hear it, Did he really dip?

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