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Thread: Help: Netting Salmon with novice fisherman aboard

  1. #1
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    Default Help: Netting Salmon with novice fisherman aboard

    Sometimes during the fishing season, I find myself performing unofficial "charter" duties with inexperienced guests aboard.

    Today we lost a couple King salmon by the boat that we shouldn't have with inexperienced fisherman manning the rods. They couldn't get the fish close enough to the boat. The closest they could draw the fish in was 4ft from the flasher. I tried coaching them to sweep the rod horizontally. I also tried explaining the pump-and-reel technique to draw it in, but they didn't get it. Also tried to get them to step back to get the fish closer to the side of the boat. We had both fish close to the boat several times, so it was heart breaking.

    One thing I've noticed is that novice fisherman are afraid to bend the rod and put a load on it, often times pointing the rod straight at the fish! Those rods are designed to carry a load and I try to explain that, but people don't seem to get what I'm saying. Or when fighting they fish, they are too excited and scared to process what I'm saying. Not putting some bend in the rod keeps the fish further from the boat.

    When I land a fish, I normally keep the drag loose and thumb the spool tight to smoothly ease the fish to the side of the boat during the home stretch. Then if the fish runs, I simply lift my thumb off the spool and let them run. I think this might be too complex of a technique to teach a fishing newbie though?

    Does anyone have some clear concise tips or tricks they've found to help new fisherman land salmon on a boat? I know you charter guys deal with this situation on a daily basis, so perhaps one of you could chime in with your two cents.

    I apparently suck at coaching newbies.

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    Buy a longer net.
    Sorry, couldn't resist.

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    Did the fish hit the net? Did it come unbutttoned prior to getting it to the net? Keep the fish in the water and as above get a net long enough to reach out to the fish, don't try to net a green fish and let the reel's drag do the work as you have stated, try to get the sports to keep a bend in the rod, sometimes you have to move them around the boat a bit to "help".
    Good luck.

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    Member Gerberman's Avatar
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    I often go out in the driveway at home and take the newbi fishing, pull on the rod tip to show what it can do and how it feels, then explain that fish cannot swim backwards, so you have to net them head first, they will swim into the net. A little practice with a small chunk of wood on the end of the rod gives them direction and insite into what is going to happen with a fish at the side of the boat.

  5. #5

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    I do what I can, talking them through it one step at a time when they get a fish coming toward to boat. Seems like anything I tell them beforehand is gone like a dinosaur once they hook a fish. It really helps to position the boat so you're broadside to the fish, and if possible downwind and down current so there's less tendency for the fish to dive under the boat at the last second. Lotta guys using downriggers keep the boat moving forward (with the other gear still in the water) while someone fights a fish, but I hate that. Others will have to advise.

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    Charterboat Operator Abel's Avatar
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    1. What I tell on my clients... Get rod out of holder, up in air, and hang on, I back the drag off on the first run. Let them fish clear the gear and burn that energy off out there where there's less crap to get cut off on.

    2. I also keep the boat running, straight line on auto pilot, no destroyer turns, this allows to things. I leave all the gear in, I'm normally running 4-6 rods, his friends are still down there, longer my gear is in, better my chances are of doubling, tripling and quading up. 2nd, it gets the fish away from all that gear in the water, as well, keeps the line tight between angler and fish, rarely will I have a fish charge the boat.

    3. Big fish 40+lbers, I'll have someone, (this is where autopilot comes in handly), anyone can drive by wire, make a big slow turn, keep the fish off the aft quarter that has the least amount of gear in, closer to fish, tighter the turns until it's net job time. Once that fish is tuckered out, striaght line, in and out of gear, I net the fish directly off the transom, no outboards in my way so I can do that. For anythign under 30lbs, rarely do I drop out of gear, salmon are highly hydrodynamic, it's amazing how easily they tow behind the boat, even on 15lb test.

    Seems complicated, but I've converted a number of my hardcore PNW buddies, one thought I was a nut job, until he saw we had over a 90% landing rate, and that it's normal for me to triple up on kings. No chasing fish around the boat, they don't dive under it, don't get wrapped in the rigger cables, outboards, outdrives, none of that stuff as they don't charge the boat. Boat in gear, no slack line, less chance of a fish to capitalize on angler error.
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    Thanks for the tips guys.

    Gerberman - I really really like your idea of having the novice practicing with a test weight shoreside a lot! I think having them go through the motions will commit the proper technique to their muscle memory. Sometimes doing it and and feeling it is worth a thousand times more than any verbal explanation.

    Abel- Appreciated. Ya, I tried leaving the boat in gear at first. But because I couldn't to get them to properly load up their rod and bend it, they were unable to make up any ground on the fish. I tried to get them to stop pointing their rod straight at the fish, but to no avail! By leaving the boat in gear, we ended up losing ground to the fish.

    BrownBear- Ya, tell me about it! Explaining ahead of time is about useless. Once they have that live fish on, their brain goes into primal panic mode!

    Rav'n Mainiac- Ya, I had to perform a high risk stretch and reach net job where I was leaning way off the side of the boat and extending my arms holding the net by the very very end of the handle for maximum range. I just barley touched the fish and they found new energy and bolted and got off. I normally wouldn't do this maneuverer, but the fish "appeared" worn out and the inexperienced rod handlers tried for about 3-4 minutes but they just couldn't get their fish closer to the boat. frustrating.

    live4chrome- Haha. Ya, I've got about the longest handle net I can feasibly operate on my boat deck.

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    Member Tolman24's Avatar
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    You have received a lot of good advice. It seems the thing I am continually saying is tip up/rod up. Also I say step back one step, one more, that's good right there. Something easy to understand and non technical and keep repeating it as needed. Sometimes a little tap on the shoulder to make sure they know I am talking to them and not someone else on the boat helps. As I don't have autopilot having someone help them or drive boat helps if you leave it in gear. They other thing I have to tell myself is to relax and don't get in a hurry. You don't get extra points to land the fish fast. Enjoy the process. We all hate to lose a fish but better to lose it and enjoy the process, that to get to excited and push a novice to fast or to demanding, especially if it is your wife. If so keep calm and don't yell, and when it gets off say great job, that was my fault. <grin> Ken

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    Member thewhop2000's Avatar
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    Make your newbies run the boat on idle a.d land those fish yourself. Any idiot can hook a fish but the true fisherman can land it.
    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 thewhop2000's Avatar
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    Don't. Mean to be crass but netting a big fish takes practice. Just tell your folks wha have the net that fish will spook on seeing a net, so come up behind them
    If a dipnetter dips a fish and there is no one around to see/hear it, Did he really dip?

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    Quote Originally Posted by thewhop2000 View Post
    ...so come up behind them
    Not on my boat you don't, especially with big fish. And we've netted a lot of big ones. Big fish are kinda specialize anyway, but I'll gaff a big fish before I'll tail net it. Our net has a 4' hoop and 6' bag specifically for big fish, but ain't going to be any tail netting on my boat.

    Big fish have 6 forward gears but only 1 reverse gear, and that one doesn't work so hot. Just watch what happens if you don't have that fish completely in the bag before the net touches its tail when coming up from behind.

    Keep the bloomin net out of the water as the fish approaches! Keep the bag trapped up against handle with your lead hand. When the fish is in the right spot, stab that net down in the water and back, releasing the bag at the same time. No seeing the net at all if you do it right. Get lots of practice on the small fish, cuzz you'll sure need it when the big one comes along.

    If your net is too dinky for a big fish, tail netting is a total joke. The whole top half of the fish is going to be outside the net when you try to lift it! If your net is dinky and you have no choice, at least head netting gets the center of gravity beyond the hoop, and the fish can fold and settle deeper into the net as you lift rather than squirting out like a bar of soap. Biggest I've netted were 72 and 73 pounds a few years back. And they're the reason there's now always a salmon gaff right by the railing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thewhop2000 View Post
    Don't. Mean to be crass but netting a big fish takes practice. Just tell your folks wha have the net that fish will spook on seeing a net, so come up behind them
    Are you saying to net a fish tail first?

    I've always netted head first......of course this has been while lake fishing with the biggest fish maybe 5 lbs. It has also seemed like trying to net them from the tail made them bolt away from the net.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Leaving the boat in gear just sounds a gurantee to have your prop wound up with fishing line.

    One option if they're not listening is to back off their drag and let the fish run and explain again what they need to do while they fight the fish back to the boat.

    Part of the learning experience is loosing fish, whether it be not getting a good hook set or it breaking off at the net. And using a gaff is never a bad way to go. I've had to use the gaff because the net was in use on the other side of the boat with fear of a fish breaking off. Sure a quick way to land them.
    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.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

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    Member hoose35's Avatar
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    It is frustrating netting a fish for someone who doesn't know how to bring it to the boat. The big thing is to stay patient and wait for the right approach. Don't take a stab at a fish from behind. Wait until it's gliding towards you and you have a good comfortable position to scoop it up. I direct the newbies as they are bringing the first up to the boat and we don't lose to many fish
    Responsible Conservation > Political Allocation

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    Member thewhop2000's Avatar
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    I actually. Try to come up under a fish, like a salmon. Halibut r totally. Different
    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 thewhop2000's Avatar
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    A new fire, mile 10 mile kgb
    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 thewhop2000's Avatar
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    Just down the road. Looks like im jumping on this too. 6 miles down my road
    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 hoose35's Avatar
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    Hopefully your house stays safe whop
    Responsible Conservation > Political Allocation

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    Be safe Whop!

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    If you have the fish hooked properly, you can put the rod in the rod holder, take a nap, wake up, and land the fish. That hook isn't just going to fall out with slack line, improper fighting, not bringing it to the net, etc. Keep the rod tip up is only good for wearing the fish out. A good mainline and a good leader can take a lot of abuse. I chuckle almost every day at some of the stuff my clients do while fighting kings, and yet those kings stay on. Lots of experienced guides in my area gaff most of the kings they catch when other boats are around. Pulling the net can be a rare thing when trying not to let on how many kings are in an area. We never lose fish gaffing them. A hooked fish will stay on even when you club them in the head before sticking the hook into them.

    When downrigger fishing, 99% of what determines if that fish stays on is decided when it grabs that bait and releases it from the downrigger. Trolling with herring, you are going to get more bites, but lose a lot more fish. Just part of the game. Hook placement in the herring can increase your hookups.

    Btw, I had a client straighten out a 3/0 gamakatsu on a king today. Don't thumb the spool..(grin)

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