Best Boat for the Kenai and dipnetting?
I've been fishing here since '82 and have a 14' Achilles. I've been all over in that boat. PWS, Katchemack Bay, Cook Inlet, Kenai River, Gulkanna River, Seward and Day Harbor, Copper River several times & on and on.
Caught a lot of fish in that boat. Still works as good as new.
I want to move up to an affordable river boat I can run the river with but mostly can dip net out of.
Seems like two characteristics are desirable;
2. Fairly high sides and gunnels.
Can you guys give me some recommendations as to what you figure is the best boat to get for dipnetting and then for river fishing on the Kenai?
One effective boat that I've seen work is the 18-19 ft jon boat. A wide, flat bottom makes a stable work platform in generally calm water conditions. Two guys/ladies tie off nets to the bow and work both sides while 3rd person drives the boat. With crew of 3, depending on variables/proxies, etc, you're talking about an eventual load of easily 100 or more fish, so a wide, stable boat with good weight-hauling capacity is safer. Plus with crowds at the launch/recovery ramp/s, you'll have more room for food and other supplies to sustain you through the waiting... oh well. Good luck.
I've used 3 different types, styles of boats to dip net the mouth of the Kenai.. my first was an 18ft Flat bottomed Smoker craft, it worked very well.. 2nd boat was an 18ft Hewescraft (River Runner) it did very well... and lastly I have an 18ft SeaArk which is a flat bottomed jon boat.... The last two boats have had windshields and rag tops on and they always get in the way of the dipnet.. This is no problem on a nice sunny day, but if it's raining... break out the grundens... Because the Hewescraft had a modified V bow/bottom, you had better control (steerage).. both the flat bottomed jon boats you really had to have a dip net on each side of the boat otherwise the boat swung or pulled to the side with the net in the water.. on the Hewescraft it wasn't so bad... All 3 boats gave us the stability so that we can stand up to dipnet... most of the V bottomed boats you see everyone setting down.../John
What size outboard on your achilles for the copper? Wonderin whether my 15' zodiac with a 40 would do it. Will probably just take the charter down to the rocks though if we go this year.
Thanks fro the advice.
I went last year in a jon boat. Net each side seem to work well. Not much pulling either way.
I'll check out that SeaArk.
Originally Posted by Bullelkklr
I have a 18-HP Tohatsu thats like new but is a '87+/- year model. It skims over the boiling water and you can do real sharp turns & almost skid. The v-hull stops the skids tho.
Goes thru the canyon like a bansee. That's with two 200-lb guys and gear.
It will do 22-knots in Cook Inlet when it's flat. Launches from the beach and off a bank almost anywhere.
It's a short shaft. Even so, I've had 3-prop strikes on the Copper. If yours is a long shaft you prob will get prop strikes. Just make sure you can row.
Once the water came up over a gravel bar that was not covered goin down. Coming back It mangled the prop. Engine shook but it got me back.
Season before last we had one and had to pull over on that long gravel bar on the left. Changing the prop was easy but we had to drag it all the way to the north end of the bar to get to deeper water. It took awhile and a little sweat. Got back ok tho.
Two problems you will/could have;
1. Prop strikes..A jet wld solve that problem. Be prepared with extra props & tools.
2. Too large a engine for the boat. I have enough freeboard at the transom with the 18-HP motor. I can pick it up and carry it on my shoulder. If you have a 40 I fear you may not have freeboard there. This is or can be a very dangerous situation. If you get into a situation where the boat is stopped and the raging Copper is hitting the back of your boat you may swamp. It will happen so fast you'll be swimming before you can react. If that happens you will probably die.
Chances of getting out of the Copper with the super cold water and it's speed are very very small. If your at a place like the canyons there's not many places to swim to.
You could wear a dry suit and flotation device. Not sure being tethered to the boat wld help. It might.
Don't forget that auto-cutoff switch in case you get tossed out.
Hope this helps some.
Happy boating and hey.....let's be careful out there Ha!.