Trial run to learn Rick's system
Kasilof Personal Use for Alaskans only. Set Net.
I promised a new member awhile back to show him how to REALLY fish for salmon. These are from this year's freezer-run. This season lasts about 10 days. I choose to set off-beach on the mud flats for two reasons. The on-shore sites are usually "homesteaded" semi-illegally (one is supposed to be in attendance at all times- if no one is there, one can legally set on the same site if no net is yet deployed) a week or more in advance of season. The "homesteading" is generally tacitly
tolerated to avoid unnecessary conflict. Nets must maintain 100 feet of seperation from any other nets
The second reason is that there is far less competition out on the mud flats. I catch several times as many fish "offshore" per tide as do the nearby beach nets. The several "first" nets on either end of the allowable fishing area are the exception. They generally clean up!
The first fish generally hit when the incoming tide is about 16 inches deep, the last fish ditto..
I was one of the first (I think the first) to set out on the mudflats years ago. It quickly became more popular for reasons above. The first year I used full-sized concrete blocks as anchors and 2.5 gallon salvaged plastic jugs for floats. I'm cheap, OK.
. The second year my "set" net, turned into an illegal drift net on a particularily strong/high tide. I solved that problem by using rebar stakes and half or 3/4 block on each end as per photo.
I tend the net as soon as I know I have several fish in it by canoe if the water allows. This way I can get them alive (usually, bonk and bleed, then immediatly back on shore fillet them and put them in an iced cooler. By that time, I usually have more fish in the net. repeat. If it looks like it is going to be or get too rough for the canoe, I don't set, or I pull the net for another day. Anything under 10mph is usually OK, somewhat depending on swells and wind direction.
I particularily like the tides that go out before the 6 a.m. start/11 p.m. fishing hours - just in case I get too chicken to use the canoe and can let the net go dry if need be. But that's chancy- one can easily exceed the limit (25 for head of household plus 10 per dependent). Since gill nets are not precision instruments, they are not picky if you go a FEW over by accident. I thought I was stopping at 32 tis year, in case my wife wanted to go dip-netting later, but found 3 dead ones in the lead-line on pulling the net, nailing my limit on the nose. Only two others were pulled in dead, one with it's head gone, thanks to Mr Seal.
This year I caught 17 the first day, 6 by high tide the second day- fishing was slow, and I had caught nearly all the fish on the previous day in the first hour, so pulled the net at high tide (2.5 hours of net-wet), processed those, and took a nap. Third day I pulled the net after just an hour of fishing, filling out my limit of 35. Often, one can catch that many or more in one tide, or even a partial, but it's a PITA processing that many at once. Alone especially.