Been dipnetting four years now, far less than many here. We make it a family summer highlight by camping several nights.
But for anyone thinking of starting dipnetting, these are my suggestions for a "lessons learned" list:
1. Not black: Our first dipnet had black mesh. Now I think a person can catch fish dipnetting with almost any kind of homemade or storebought net. I've seen the hillbilliest looking ones score big on fish. Probably black mesh will catch fish, but I haven't seen it happen yet.
2. Large is good from shore - and so is weight. The large/maximum diameter, fairly heavy nets with hoop made from aluminum rod do a good job from shore. The opening maximizes opportunity and the weight makes working in strong current (tide changes) much less work. We use two nets from Mike's Welding in Soldotna, similar probably to others'.
3. From a boat, some would use a lighter net - again, any dipnet can maybe work here (maybe even black mesh!), but my first net was the flyswatter-shape, extruded aluminum tubing which I bought from Soldotna Hardware on the advice of my boat-dipnetting mentor. From the boat, this net is primo. We occasionally would net 2 or even 3 fish at a time. A heavier net would only have made more work (or maybe 4 at a time!), at least the way we were running things.
4. Take care of your fish. This is our current system and seems to produce better tasting, better looking fish, especially around February coming out of the freezer:
-bleed then gut the fish,
-clean the dark kidneys from alongside the spine (an old spoon works well)
-put the fish on ice ASAP, (hauling 1 or 2 bags of ice to the beach does increase the hassle factor but ...our fish doesn't taste "off" in February like it used to).
-rub slime off with salt (Call me crazy, but saw some guys do this one year and tried it. Don't know why but the meat seems to stay brighter and better flavor the following spring).
Be interested to hear others' comments. We learn from others every year. Really looking forward to them reds! Good luck.