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Thread: Dipnetting-lesson learned

  1. #1
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Dipnetting-lesson learned

    Lessons learned:

    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.

  2. #2
    Member thewhop2000's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Nice post 6X// other info

    Nice touch kiddo! I and many others believe that Black anything turns reds away quick. What do seals look like to fish? Sea lions also or maybe killer whales? Those predators are black so reds respond accordingly. We experimented last year, put one black net and one translucent green out on the boat. Caught 37 in the green and zip in the black. So heads up everyone.

    An easy way to bleed when you are really busy catching fish is to grab a couple of the gills and rip them with two fingers. I find this works really well.

    Ice is always a must!!!! Gotta take care of your catch!!!!

    One other method of filleting--- I use is an electric carving knife from Wal-mart or Fred Meyers. The kind your Dad cut the Easter Ham with years ago. 10 Bucks every year is cheap for new Blades and a new motor. Don't gut your fish, leave them whole and fillet just like with any other knife. Start from the head, cut down to the backbone and then follow the backbone to the tail. Flip and do the other side. What you end up with is two fillets of meat and the carcase consisting of a head, a tail and a backbone still containing the guts, all in one piece. I bought an inverter(750 watts) to run the knife off of my Pick up battery or I attach to the Battery on the boat. It works slick.

    It's getting closer every day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. #3

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    What has been your experience dipnetting from a boat? I'm thinking of trying it this summer, trying to weigh the odds between getting dropped off somewhere or doing the boat thing.

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    Member alaskanmoosehunter's Avatar
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    Default

    Don't forget to bring more than one net and bail.

    Zipties make for a fast net repair if needed when the fish are running.

    If you fish from a boat during the king season a hand gaff can be useful so you don't loose a monster king. (Learned that lesson once, the king actually turned the boat around, got him to the sidewall and he man handled his way to freedom.
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  5. #5

    Default Really?

    Quote Originally Posted by 6XLeech View Post
    Lessons learned:

    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.

    We filled up a cooler the other day with 2 black nets. I don't think they are that smart. Its more about technique. Long consistant sweeps that don't bottom out on the rocks thereby dumping your net.

  6. #6
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Really? Where?

    Aktrouttamer - That's great. Were you dipnetting at Chitna?

    Interesting to hear others maybe do better with black mesh.
    That was our first net, which we fished one day before buying replacement with translucent green mesh. We've noted since then that anyone who shows up with black mesh seemed to do a lot of watching.

    I wonder if Kenai, Kasilof and Copper have similarities, but also differences.
    It also seems boat vs shore dictates some techniques/equipment that work better. What do you think?

    We dip only at the Kenai. I guess that could be a factor, but great news for you and others who might have better know-how.

    This technique/lessons learned thread might give newcomers and others still learning (like me) the benefit of others' experiences.
    I will scope out the regs for gaff suggestion, and maybe use electric carving knife this year. Good ideas.

    Thanks, man.

  7. #7
    Member AKArcher's Avatar
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    Default

    I have used a standard landing net from Fred's , black mesh and landed my 30 salmon in just under and hour at Chitina. Granted the run was hot, and darn near every time I put my net in I had one and sometimes two fish in the net.

    I think the chocolate milk colored water throws out the mesh color dictating success. I have used black, forest-green, and clear... all have taken fish just as fast as anyone else standing next to me.
    When all else fails...ask your old-man.


    AKArcher

  8. #8

    Default

    I have always used black nets in Chitna and I have always caught my limit, sometimes in less than an hour. Considering that there is probably more silt in the Copper river than water I dont think it matters what color the net is.

  9. #9
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Black mesh rocks at Chitna

    Looks like black mesh is not a factor (maybe helps?) at Chitna.

    Definitely my experiences, seeing black not work, were at the Kenai.

    Could it be the visibility in the water? The Copper is much more turbid with silt. Do you think the Copper River fish might even move toward black mesh, maybe thinking it resembles cover?

    Here's the forum-amended version from my initial post:

    "Been dipnetting four years now, far less than many here...these are my -a n d o t h e r s'- suggestions for a "lessons learned" list":

    1. U s e b l a c k: if you're on the Chitna and want to score fish! On the Kenai or Kasilof, black might not work as well as clear or translucent net mesh (read experiencess of others on this thread).

    Thanks for the information. Good luck this year to all.

  10. #10

    Default

    Tying off can sometimes be a good thing...I waded out too far once, the ground started to slip away from under me, and for a moment I was a little bobber in the copper river.

  11. #11
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    Default my little trick

    When shore fishing from the Kenai or Kasilof, use some kind of stringer to save your fish - and your place in the water. It's a big advantage not to have to slog to the bank and back for every fish and loose valuable fishing time. I use plastic clothesline because it's small diameter, strong, and slick. There's a commercial alternative called (I believe) "The Kenai Keeper", which is very high quality, efficient, and looks like it would last an eternity.
    I keep a fish whacker attached to the stringer, which is 12-15 feet long (although I start off with it shortened up). When a fish hits:
    1. Pull in the net
    2. Bonk and gill the fish
    3. Put the fish on the stringer
    4. Run the net back out
    5. Repeat
    Dress warm, and pee before you go, because you can fish non-stop this way! Enjoy!

  12. #12
    Member thewhop2000's Avatar
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    Default net color for south-central

    Guys, dipnetting for Salmon on the Kenai/kasilof, it is imperative that you don't use black nets. At Chitina, the water is ssooooo very different. dark, Muddy, etc. that I believe that it doesn't matter. We are all talking different places and different water conditions. Just remember/ southcentral- no black. I have been doing this for 30 years and different locations, call for different techniques. At Chitina also, the water moves a lot faster and is muddier. I did that for 20 years and finally moved to the Kenai @ 7 years ago. Dipnetting that is. Shorter drive but more people , oh well. Good luck

  13. #13
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Good point: At Chitna - definitely tie off

    Quote Originally Posted by bobblehead View Post
    Tying off can sometimes be a good thing...I waded out too far once, the ground started to slip away from under me, and for a moment I was a little bobber in the copper river.
    From ADN story last year, this guy survived because he was tied off (there's a fee for the whole story, but as I recall, he tied off, but with rope long enough that his legs were in the current. Several harrowing minutes before he got out with help of others):

    Dipnetter wins fight for life after Copper River slip


    Author: S.J. KOMARNITSKY
    Anchorage Daily News Staff
    Date: June 17, 2006
    Publication: Anchorage Daily News (AK)
    Page: A1
    One minute, Patrick McPherson was slinging a chrome-bright Copper River sockeye salmon into his net. The next he was in the 40-degree water, being tossed around like a rag in a washing machine by a current that roars and churns through Wood Canyon at 10 mph..

    "I remember thinking, 'That's it, I'm gone,' " McPherson said this week.

  14. #14

    Default freezing your fish

    The last three years I have first frozen my salmon filets, then dip them in water (I like to do it twice) so I get a nice ice glaze on them and finally vacuum seal the filets adding a piece of coated butcher wrap on the flesh side to help prevent bones from puncturing the vacuum bags. The filets will last a year and look like the day you froze them. Little extra work but for the freshness longevity, well worth the effort.

  15. #15

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    Yeah, I've read that freezing in blocks of ice is the best way to preserve fish. I still just vacuum pack because a limit of reds, a few halibut and kings all frozen in blocks of ice would take up more room than I have. I found that the fish stayed firmer if I didn't rinse before I vacuumed and froze (I rinse after I thaw before I eat).

    Are you rinsing before you freeze, before you dip in water?

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by 6XLeech View Post
    Aktrouttamer - That's great. Were you dipnetting at Chitna?

    Interesting to hear others maybe do better with black mesh.
    That was our first net, which we fished one day before buying replacement with translucent green mesh. We've noted since then that anyone who shows up with black mesh seemed to do a lot of watching.

    I wonder if Kenai, Kasilof and Copper have similarities, but also differences.
    It also seems boat vs shore dictates some techniques/equipment that work better. What do you think?

    We dip only at the Kenai. I guess that could be a factor, but great news for you and others who might have better know-how.

    This technique/lessons learned thread might give newcomers and others still learning (like me) the benefit of others' experiences.
    I will scope out the regs for gaff suggestion, and maybe use electric carving knife this year. Good ideas.

    Thanks, man.
    I was at 20 mile. I also agree with bleeding and icing your catch. As far as filleting the lil guys...seems like alot of work plus I prefer not to eat their bones, which would occur if you use an electric knife. I always use a standard fillet knife and follow on top of the ribcage bones for salmon. With hooli's a standard fillet knife would probably cut through their ribs as well. If you leave the heads on you can usually pull on it and the whole skeleton will come out in one peice (after there cooked of course). I've fried them with flour coating, salt, and pepper in olive oil. Also smoked them and it is quite easy to remove the skeleton. For a good smoke recipe check out coaldust's in the holligan thread. Good luck!

  17. #17
    Member thewhop2000's Avatar
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    Default Aktroutt

    My electric knife works on salmon only. With the EKNIFE, you go back later and debone rib bones just before vacueam packing process. Hooligan get deheaded and cooked. The idea behind the carving knife is you don't pack home waste. Fillets only. The cooler has a lot less wasted space and the ice meets the meat, not the stuff you will eventually throw away. Hooligan and salmon are apples and oranges.

  18. #18
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    Default Agreed

    I will definently second this! I have dipnetted at both places and while you can use your Kenai dipnet setup in Chitina, but it would have to be in a real, real slow back-eddy, in my opinion. A traditional black net with a light hoop works great in Chitina if you find the right eddies(really fast ones), or from a boat, to fish in. I have had success with a big Kenai hoop with a gill net works great as well, but you just have to use it in slow back eddies, where I find that fish sometimes hit the net backwards. Great Posts! Lots of good info!

    Fish On!


    Quote Originally Posted by thewhop2000 View Post
    Guys, dipnetting for Salmon on the Kenai/kasilof, it is imperative that you don't use black nets. At Chitina, the water is ssooooo very different. dark, Muddy, etc. that I believe that it doesn't matter. We are all talking different places and different water conditions. Just remember/ southcentral- no black. I have been doing this for 30 years and different locations, call for different techniques. At Chitina also, the water moves a lot faster and is muddier. I did that for 20 years and finally moved to the Kenai @ 7 years ago. Dipnetting that is. Shorter drive but more people , oh well. Good luck
    http://www.youtube.com/growden1

    Nothing makes a fish bigger than almost being caught.

  19. #19
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    My best net for the Copper is (if you take Helms boat to a dropoff that is) the new lightweight net over at Netloft (about a 3x5), now a couple of things about that net that over this Friday I learned. If you buy one chop off the extra 3-4" beyond the bolt and then duct tape the bolt and fold the tape around the hole opening, don't try to close off the pipe, it will fill with water and needs to drain out. Reason to do that is in the backeddys the water pushes the net over the corner and it can get seriously tangled. In the backeddys it is killer, we on a very slow day got 26 Reds and two kings all but two were caught with the big net. The cross sectional area it 2-3x more than the "Costco brailing nets". I planted that net in a deep back eddy and caught one after another, roughfly two an hour . The "Costco" nets were basically worthless on slow runs. You arms would fall off trying to sweep with them. They would work great in good run but not in slow runs. We even re netted them with the small gill nets and only caught a couple of fish in the 12 hours we fished. Planed to fish longer but read the next post to find out what happened.

  20. #20
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    Ok here is what brought disaster to our planned overnighter and why we didn't limit out.
    My friend Gary was walking with the large net and slipped down a rock and broke and dislocated his ankle, this happened about 8:30 Friday night. We flagged a boat down around 9:30 and help (Mark Hem and a EMT staff) arrived at around 11pm. We got Gary to the landing at around 11:30.
    My hat is off to Mark and his family and friends for their fantastic response and great concern for my hurt friend. They are in the true sense of the word "wonderful people".
    I will always charter from them in the future and highly recommend others do too. They help me head and gut the fish and would not take a tip for extra effort. (This was around midnight they opened up the shack and ran the fresh water pump and generator too) We did this while the EMTs were examining Gary.
    They decided that either I or they needed to take him to the Glenallen clinic. They called ahead and told them I would be by and made sure I was to not go on to Anchorage, fortunately Gary has a large Dodge crew cab so he was propped up in the back full of feel good medicine keeping me awake on the drive into Glenallen.
    There they got the x rays done and found out he had dislocated his ankle and broke several bones in the ankle area. They medevacked him to Providence (funny we drove out of the clinic at 3am and with a couple of cat naps on the way set down to breakfast at Judys at 8am).
    Gary called us at 8:30am as soon as he got to Providence.
    It was zero visibility around Gunsight for about 30 miles, never seen such a pea soup fog at one point I had slowed to 30 and could only see about 2-3 car lengths ahead. Pulled in at the wayside where the informational signs are describing why the sides of the mountains are red there by Gypsum creek and slept for another 30 min or so.

    Looks like Gary will be over at Prov for another day or two.

    Lessons learned:
    1 Be darn careful when you plan an overnighter the boat traffic slows way down and you could literaly die waiting on help.
    2. Don't try to climb the cliffs, we were close enough to see guys riding their wheelers and they could not hear us screaming for help.
    3. I am going to invest in a flare gun and possibly seeing if I can rent a Sat Phone for the next overnighter. A sat phone would of been the ticket.
    4. Wear good shoes and be careful, one slip and you are in a world of hurt. Gary only slipped maybe 2-3 feet.
    Later and good luck
    Jim

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