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Thread: Square Vs. Round Nets, finally answered

  1. #1
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    Thumbs up Square Vs. Round Nets, finally answered

    I've had discussions with folks over the years about the contrast between the two different styles of nets. Finally, here's some science to clear the air a bit:

    This is a comparison of the square footage of each net style given the maximum span of 5 feet is being used for each.

    For a 5' hoop, the rough circumference of the hoop needs to be about 15 feet; this give you a surface area in your net of just over 19 square feet.

    For a square net (3'x4') this give you a "carpenters square" of a 5' diagonal span and you only end up with 12 square feet.

    Clearly you get an additional 4 square feet of net exposure area giving you a bit of an advantage over the square net.

    Personally, I use a "fly-swatter" ultra light net that my father in law built (i contributed very little to the construction, lol) and works famously. We both usually haul em in pretty good but our main advantage is staying in the water.


    So there ya have it. Round's vs. Square's = Rounds win.

    Good luck to all this upcoming season, I'm getting antsy already and dreaming of the upcoming bouncing nets and wobbling handles.
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  2. #2

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    Thanks for the math lesson.

    I always liked the way the round dipnet looks and that is why I bought one years ago. It's good to know that I'm fishing better with it than with a square dipnet.

  3. #3
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    I bent mine up from 1/2" conduit and made it an octagon. Unless you have a tubing bender it's pretty tough to make a nice circle, and the octagon's area is pretty close to that of a circle.

    Of course one could contend if the fish are running at a certain depth the rectangular net will provide more area at a given depth.

    All that said I really don't think the size of the hoop matters that much. If the fish are running, you'll have little problem limiting out. If they aren't, no matter how big your net, you'll have little to show for the effort.

    On the Copper I use a landing net, the current is simply too strong for a larger frame, and you can get 30 fish in a few hours when they are running strong.

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    I'll challenge your "logic" with practice. (p.s. I've built several hundred dipnet frames, nearly all of them 3x4 rectangles).

    A 5' diameter circle requires ~17' of bar stock to make the frame. A 3x4 rec takes ~15' of bar stock. Bar stock comes in 12' lengths (unless custom ordered at considerable cost) so a weld or joint is needed. The extra ~3' needed divides into 12, therefore you have zero waste and get 4 complete frames out of 5 bars of material. The round version takes an extra 5' per unit, meaning you get 2 frames out of 3 bars with 2' of waste. Welding together several smaller pieces is not an option as the weld creates a weak spot.

    On a rectangle, the joint is on a flat and allows for a low stress area for the weld. The round hoop must have the weld bent during the rolling process, which can further weaken the weld. So the way around that is to special order your longer length stock and spend more money to make a circle. Even a pentagon or octagon shape allows you to put the joint on a flat section. And the weld can actually be done after bending. Rolling a circle is difficult. Bending out a rectangle on a jig takes seconds and is nearly fool proof.

    So, after all that, yes your rectangle has a 12 square foot opening and your hoop has a 19.6 square foot opening. However, when you go down to the beach (Kenai or Kasilof) and look at the perfomance between the 2 styles, you'll note that the rectangle puts the entire net under water. Nearly everyone I see fishing a 5' hoop has about 2/3 of the net under water with a big chunk of hoop sticking up in the air not catching anything. You can submerge the rect in 3' of water, but who wants to wade out to 5' of water to get the whole hoop under? Those I see who try this have all the fish jumping behind them in shallower water. So try doing the math to see what the surface area of your 5' hoop is when you're in 3' of water. Also, the rectangle puts the wide part of the opening along the bottom where it seems the fish like to run. The hoops put a narrow edge of the circle down there with the widest part of the net closer to the surface.

    I've repeatedly outfished 5' hoops all around me with a 3x4 rectangle. However, for my personal net I've switched to a pentagon shape that basically adds another triangle of opening to each end of the 3x4 (cut just right to keep the straight-line opening under 5'). All the bennies of the rectangle with a bit more opening area. Takes more effort to build than a rectangle, which is why we never went commercial with those (and the fact that the dipnet market pretty much dried up a couple years ago).
    Winter is Coming...

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    Member Berto's Avatar
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    Question ah, i sense much knowledge

    so i will hijack this thread

    since i am not a welder and have no access to a welder of any kind anyway, i am considering building my first dipnet out of 1/2" diameter copper pipe. i can sweat copper pipe with the best of 'em

    do you think 1/2" copper is stiff enough to withstand current AND struggling fish or will it bend and cause me nothing but frustration?

    thanks in advance for your input!

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    I'm assuming we are talking about the Kenai, as the copper is a different animal, much harder on gear due to the current.

    This frame was bent from 1/2" conduit, I welded two sticks together then bent them with a conduit bender. It's held up fine for the past 5 years, and has had as many as 6 reds in at a time. 1/2" copper should work at least as well. I used a closet rod for the handle and through bolted with two 1/4" bolts.


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    I have a round net and on the kenai a short guy like me has to get up to his arm pit to get a 15 foot net out far enough to be submerged. And if you are as stuborn as me and insist on not waisting net space then you find that you have to jump when a wave comes in to avoid getting soaked. Good work out not a lot of fun though.

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    Okay, I should have clarified this from the beginning. I have a round net and only use it from a boat on the Kenai. I haven't tried anything else so I can't compare it directly to a rectangular/octagonal net. I'm happy with it and so is my wife who does all the canning.

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    I wear a wetsuit, and float out a bit past where the folks with the long poles have their nets. I have no problem fully submerging the net.

  10. #10

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    I have a 5' diameter round net that is 15' long from tip of handle to far end of hoop. I have only dipped the south side of the Kasilof so far. Maybe once tide swing there was 6-8" of my hoop out of the water, but otherwise it was fully submerged without wading out much past my waist. I think the above statement about when the fish are running, it doesn't much matter is right. We were catching them as fast as we could empty our net and get them back in the water on our last trip. On our first trip (July 3rd) it was slow for us and everyone else (net shape didn't seem to matter). I did notice that most of those fish were coming in up high during that last trip, I can see where a rectangular net suspended just below the surface may have given you a bit of an advantage. But the ultimate factor for me: I paid $140 for my round net last year, I'm not about to go get a rectangular one

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Default Bingo

    You use what you've got and they'll all do the job. The net mesh/color and fisherman's strategy play much more important roles than the shape/size of the frame.

    I like the Kasilof myself. I prefer to use a shorter handle of about 10 feet and wade out to about belly deep, which puts all of the frame well underwater. Using a wire cable fish stringer, I won't leave the water and quite often catch fish while I'm pulling fish out of the net. Just pull the net back to me, work the fish out of the mesh, slit the gills and stick 'em on the stringer. Then work out the next one. When you finally get an empty net, just push it back out in front of you.

    I find it humorous to watch guys with 15-20' poles drag the whole operation 25-30 yards back to the beach with every fish. That's a lot of time not fishing.

    1/2" copper tubing will work just fine. I've seen many frames made from it and they do well. I would suggest that you leave means for the tubing to easily drain to keep water from being trapped in it.

    An easy way to strengthen tubing is to fill it with 2-part expanding foam. You mix 2 liquids together (like epoxy) and pour it into the tubing of the completed frame such that the open ends are up and the liquid will run to the opposite side of the frame. It will soon begin expanding and fill the tubing completely with foam. The result is a very strong piece of tubing, however I think this is way overkill for a dipnet frame. So I guess I'm just rambling now...
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    it's not the size of the net hoop that matters it's how you use

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by JOAT View Post
    You use what you've got and they'll all do the job.

    I like the Kasilof myself.

    I find it humorous to watch guys with 15-20' poles drag the whole operation 25-30 yards back to the beach with every fish. That's a lot of time not fishing.

    ...
    I like the Kasilof too,for several reasons.I like south peninsula better,and I like the more layed back atmosphere and view.But I find the fish quality less than kenai or chitina(not talking size,just tastebuds).

    The less round frame idea makes sense,but Im not going to put much effort into changing from a round frame.Although I would like to have a custom frame made for the chitina,a small oval /round frame that looks like a seine boat brailer.
    As far as backin up the beach goes,Im always looking for an excuse to get out of the water and move around.I lose very little "fishing time" and I like my fish a bit fresher than most.

    ak4195

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    Not to steal the thread, but perhaps this question will help some of us new folks to dipnetting out...

    "I like the Kasilof myself. I prefer to use a shorter handle of about 10 feet and wade out to about belly deep, which puts all of the frame well underwater. Using a wire cable fish stringer, I won't leave the water and quite often catch fish while I'm pulling fish out of the net. Just pull the net back to me, work the fish out of the mesh, slit the gills and stick 'em on the stringer. Then work out the next one. When you finally get an empty net, just push it back out in front of you."

    How do you empty your net without leaving the water? Perhaps I'm just too uncoordinated, but last year I tried and there was no way I could man-handle my net while still in the water to remove a fish without fear of losing the fish. I even bought a Kenai Keeper thinking I could stay in the water fulltime, but I just couldn't handle a flopping fish, moving current, and 15' of net and hoop all at once. When the fish were really running, I mostly stayed on the shore removing fish from the net while my wife dipped. She'd come in with a fish, I'd hand her the empty net and she'd go back out (she didn't have to walk far). Any tricks of the trade to un-net a fish while up to your waist in moving water? Thanks.

    Jeff

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    Member big_dog60's Avatar
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    I too found this extreamly difficult and eventually gave up because I lost almost all the fish that hit my net. I found I could only get about 1 in 10 trying to do this. When I drug the net in to shore I got around 60% of the fish that hit my net.

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    Is your net a gilnet? Most of the fish get well tangled with the net, you'll loose the occasional one, but not most of them.

    I've dispatched the occasaional fish while floating, but find if it's a decent run I'm best to just continue my float and hopefully get a double or triple.

    Anyhow, with gloves on run your fingers into the gill plates and firmly hold the fish while ripping a gil with the other hand. Then untangle the fish with one hand while firmly holding the fish and clip in onto your stringer.

    You'll tear your hands up something fierce if you don't wear gloves, but with decent neoprene you'll have no problem holing the fistiest red by the gils.

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    Pretty much the same here. I really like the latex dipped kevlar "gripper" gloves for this work (used in canneries and commercial fishing boats). You can get a really good hold onto the fish's body with them, but the primary spot to grab them is the gill plates. I also keep a small pair of heavy duty, round-nosed, scissors (the kind that will cut a penny in half, similar to EMT shears, but much heavier) hanging on a loop of 550 cord. These serve to help snip hoplessly tangled net if needed and I will also use them to make deep slices in the gills and to clip the tails before I leave the water.

    I very rarely lose a fish once it's in the gillnet, but when a fish hits the net, the first action is to scoop the net to a horizontal position by rotating the bottom of the frame toward the direction the fish came from. Then I pull the net back to me and do most of my work on the fish underwater. After getting the wad of fish and net in hand, find a gill plate and shove the entire thumb through to the mouth cavity while allowing the fingers to grip around the bottom of the head and over to the opposite gill plate. Those fingers will then slip into the opposite gill plate from behind so that my index & middle fingers are inside the opposite gills in a pinching grip. The fish is now mine and cannot get away if I maintain this pinch from both sides into the gills.

    At this point, you've got to get the tail and all the body fins clear of gillnet. They are usually trapped from behind due to the fish rolling in the net. That part clears pretty easily. Now you should have just the head in the net. Look to see what's going on with the net and use the free hand to start backing the net, one strand at a time, off of the fish. Occasionally you'll get a small fish that will be past the gills into the net. The easiest way to take care of that is to grab those scissors and snip one side of the diamond opening mid-point between two knots. Such damage is easily fixed tomorrow back at the house by tying the strings back together. I figure a piece of gillnet is going to last no more than 1 season anyway, so why fight it? Just cut it and move on.

    Anyhow, as you work the net off the front, usually you'll have to change your grip at some point as you'll have net trapped under your fingers. Take your other hand, and slide it into the same kind of hold, but with the palm wrapped over the top of the head. You slide up from the rear and shouldn't have any net trapped under this hand as it takes over. Never release the first grip until the second hand has firmly taken over the grip. Now used the freed hand to clear the rest of the net.

    Be careful not to lose your whole dipnet at this point. I installed some floatation on my handle to keep a dropped net from completely sinking to the bottom (won't float the whole net, but with the frame on the bottom in waist-deep water, the handle will stay floating with the end out of the water). I usually try to lay the bottom of the net frame on my toe and trap the top of the frame against my body with the elbow of the arm holding the fish. The other hand now grabs the spikie end of the fish stringer and shoves the fish on there. If the cable on your stringer is long enough, you can put fish on there and bring the spike back up to your belt or tucked into the loop of cable on your waist or whatever. The fish will be in the center of the loop and you'll have both ends at you. Makes it much quicker to grab the spike as opposed to having to work your way down the whole line to find the end.

    Easy enough? This summer I should remember to bring the video camera along and try to film the whole process. It would be much easier to show it than to describe by text.
    Winter is Coming...

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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    Default good info

    I can't wait to dipnet this year after I have been here for a year. I don't think that last years catches are going to make it until spring.....

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    wow JOAT, that was good and detailed, thanks.

    i too am preparing to dipnet for the first time this summer. i just never carved out the time last summer...this winter i am making a couple nets and doing some work on my boat motor to ensure i am ready by July!

    this site is an excellent resource, so thanks to all who contribute here.

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    Default Dipnet for 'Sweeping' i.e. low resistance

    Perhaps a little off topic but...I have only dipped at Chitina and will continue to. At 'my spot' there is a combination of semi-steady back washes or eddies and an area of good production but which involves 'Sweeping'. What I wonder is could the frame of the dipnet be made of sheet aluminum or what have you? Reason being that Sweeping involves pushing or pulling the net downriver, so to keep net from wrapping around the frame. And at nearly 50(ouch, thats hard to admit) Sweeping is very hard work. Lots of leverage involved and usually on uneven footing. I've spent a fair amount of time wondering if there is a set up which would involve less resistance as one tries to keep the frame ahead of the net, which the current is moving rapidly as the Copper River moves swiftly in Woods Canyon. Try sweeping for a couple hours and you'll be pondering the same thing. Rather than tube aluminum could ribbon aluminum work? And what kind of net would give the least amount of drag? Steel has crossed my mind. Piano wire type stuff would be very thin and easy to lead through water. Of course it might also cut anything one would catch. I'm sure I'm not the only one to have given this some thought and curious if anyone has tried to reduce the amount of drag one gets trying to pivot through the water at a good pass pace.
    Paul Holland
    Board Member Chitina Dipnetters Association
    chitinadipnetters dot com

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