I just got off the phone with a drifter and a set-netter in an attempt to get their take on charges of commercial fishermen intentionally swamping dip-netters.
My drift-net acquaintance said that those big drift boats with a draft of three to four feet must stay in the channel and must hit the river with some speed for lift and to fight the current. So, yes, they do throw quite a wake. But to accuse these people of purposely trying to swamp dippers is, I think, unwarranted without confirmation by the accused party.
Second, my set-net acquaintance was not aware of very many set-netters fishing out of the Kenai. Set-nets are not allowed within one mile of the mouth of the river, and most set-netters keep their boats at the beach sites. Again, to accuse set-netters of purposely trying to swamp dippers is, I think, unwarranted unless one knows for certain that the offending boat is purposely trying to swamp folks and unless one knows for certain that the accused boat belongs to and is being operated by a set-netter.
Do some commercial fishermen enjoy seeing their boats inconvenience dip-netters? Maybe. But that's a far cry from intent.
Personally, I'm sick to death of all the vitriol attendant to our fisheries down here, and I sick of hearing commercial fishermen accused and blamed for the woes, real and imagined, of sport-anglers and dip-netters. Can't count the times I've heard some yahoo 25 miles upstream blaming his lack of reds on "the nets are out today." Can't count the number of times I've heard dippers, here and elsewhere, blame the commercial nets because they can't come from wherever, at their convenience, and fill their coolers 'cause "the nets are out."
Commercials/set-netters intentionally swamping dippers? Let's make sure of the facts.
. . . . who needs it . . ?