Review: Pros and cons on the Kenai dip-nets at the Copper

Shore dipping only (I have not tried it from a boat)

I decided to buy one of the kenai-type dip-nets with hoop to use at the Copper. The one I purchased is round in shape, the hoop is made of solid aluminum, and measures 3' 6" in diameter ( 3-1/2' across). There is another similar net, but the hoop is not round like the one I purchased (I prefer the round-shape one to dip from shore).

The net is made of a sort of clear rope nylon fiver (stranded mono-filament) , similar to the regular dipping nets used at the Copper, except that the cord is not as strong and thick. Overall I like the net very much, and used it 99% of the time during my two trips to the Copper this year. The rest of the time I used a smaller and lighter regular dip-net.

I just removed one of the poles from my other nets, and attached it to the new hoop. However, there was a little free-play I didn't like, so I drilled a small hole on the socket or hoop's base, and drove a stainless screw to take care of the problem. This is not a bad idea, since I don't want to drop a $78.00 hoop/net combo in the Copper.

a. The huge net covers more water, which in turn may help when the salmon runs are not as thick. Several times more than one red got in the net at once. I was a little worried of two kings hitting the net at once, dough

b. The added weight from the solid aluminum hoop aids with controlling the net in the water. It also did not interfere with jerking the net toward the shore when I got bumps (when I feel a bump, I immediately pull the pole's handle to close the net's opening). Again, the added weight did not interfere with this action. I lost very few salmon after a bump. It seems that when I got a bump the salmon was already deep inside the net.

a. The net is heavy, so lifting it out of the water and dipping it again takes more effort, specially if one decides to "sweep" the current with it. However, this is not a problem if dipping the net in a back-eddy, since the net is placed in the water right in front of one's shoes. Lifting the net with a salmon in it out of the water is more difficult. However not if you do it the way I do:

I pull the net's shovel handle straight at me. This action closes the net's opening, and by then I can tell if I have a red or a king in the net. Also, by then the net is partially out of the water, so if it's a red inside I can lift the net two or three feet UP with the opening facing the sky, and allow the fish to swim a little while still trapped in the net. This way I can walk on the rocks while the salmon helps me move itself toward the stringer a couple of paces away. It does not make sense to lift it out of the water and then walk all wobbly on the rocks risking a fall. If it's a king, then I lift the net out of the water by pulling on the shovel handle, and then grab the hoop.

b. The solid aluminum hoop tears the net's cord around the opening to ribbons. It means that one must wrap perhaps a rubber hose or tubing around the hoop to protect the net. The net itself costs around $24.00 locally, and two trips to the copper, dipping from shore (not sweeping nor drifting from a boat) destroyed the net's opening. The rest of the net is fine, so I plan to repair it, and then wrap narrow bands of rubber tire inner-tube around the hoop.

c. The net's "rope" nylon is a little too thin. This is not a problem when catching reds, and even dough I caught two kings without any problems, its cord broke much faster than the average Copper River dip-nets.

Summary: I like this new net much more than the smaller dip-nets I have, but plan to build my own hoop from a 12-foot solid aluminum 5/8" in thickness. But first I will have to make sure that the socket or hoop's base is made to fit a 5/8" piece of aluminum. I can buy the nets locally, from $24.00 to $34.00.

I hope that my review will be of help to some of you, and also to the designers of the Kenai dip-nets. The better they are made, the better for us