Monday, July 23, 2012

5 Ways Dopes Dipnet on Kenai Beach

I was all set to write the much anticipated Last Frontier Garden edition of “Advanced Rules for Dipnetting,” as promised last year.  Then I went dipnetting last weekend and discovered that a good 25% (the Last Frontier Gardener only uses made up statistics) of people on the beach either had never dipnetted in their life or were under the impression that dipnets were weapons and we were attending the beach version of a jousting tournament.

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Instead of roses and handkerchiefs being thrown around, it was red salmon, fish bonkers, and epithets. I feel I must, for the sake of posterity (or at least my dental work) put off the advanced rules and go with bare bones basics (again) because somebody is going to get maimed.  Surely you intermediate dippers can wait another year.

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Ways to ensure your neighbors on the beach will be miserable and that you are a first class dip:

  • don’t prepare beforehand. Forget about packing extra gear for a change in weather or in case you fall into the water, firewood, dipnetting accessories (i.e. empty milk jug, rope, pliers, socket wrench, filet knife, ice, cooler, fish bonker). You can beg for what you forgot. We had two beggars solicit us this trip: firewood (“grandma is getting cold”) and empty milk jug (“I can see I need one of those things for my net. You need yours?”). Um, yes, but go ahead, we have an extra.

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chest waders, you will want these

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  • don’t look around before you insert your net into an opening on the beach. Just haphazardly jam that thing into a 6-inch space between people, if the current is strong and dragging the nets into each other, so much the better. Points for standing still if you are in a walking area or trying to walk in a standing area. Bonus points for ignoring swearing of neighbors or ugly glances in your direction.

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  • have no idea how to process the fish once caught. Ignore those that look competent, especially those that have bled the fish by yanking out some gills and are gutting fish within hours of capture. By all means forget to put fish on ice as soon as possible after gutting.

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  • be unfamiliar with the dipnetting regulations. Opening and closing times, harvest limits per person/family, allowable fish species, tail clipping requirements, who needs it?

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  •  be absolutely as loud as possible as late into the night as possible. Extra points for drunken, expletive laden rants near tents with children’s toys nearby. More bonus points if you leave litter behind. Beer cans, water bottles, and disposable gloves were biggies this year. You win the dip award if you drive a four-wheeler around tents after midnight. Be sure and shine your headlight directly into the tents for a minute or two. Rev the engine.

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Reading this list over, I can see it may come off a little grouchy. (Well, I feel like a saint seeing as how I wrote nothing about a request to clean the outhouse seat off if you’ve been on a bran binge as a courtesy to those behind you, dancing in line.) But things just work better when everyone is on the same page. One hopes fewer threats of violence and accidental impalings at the very least. The Last Frontier husband started getting into arguments with egregious dips and we were only on the beach for 22 hours. Time to go!

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(for a general idea of what dipnetting is, see here)

Slipped up on a rule? Want to add one? Just glad you’re not Alaskan?


garden girl in SA said...

It seems like every public event / activity is bound to attract some idiots. One wonders where they grew up that they do not know the rules or have any concern for anyone else. I think this is why every year we avoid more and more public outings and become more hermit like! Very sad that a few can spoil the fun for many.

janice said...

You are my hero! 22 hours in that crowd should earn you a week-end at the Alyeska Prince or whatever they are calling themselves now) AND dinner at The Double Muskey!

croftgarden said...

Can anyone join? Would be a winner for package tours.

Reed Pugh said...

Learn something new every day. I had no idea!

Christine B. said...

I think any type of gathering/category of person has it's fringe dip element: politicians, pet owners, parents, to name a few. Hopefully, the proportions are decent, say 3% dips, 97% observant, responsible persons. But there, I'm a wishful thinker....


Christine B. said...

Ironically enough, I have a gift certificate to stay there. Will wait til berry picking season though, there are some nice walking/ hiking areas there. Double Muskey sounds nice, their DM pie is terrific!

Thanks for the hero mention. Next time I will bring a bottle of ibuprofen and a large quantity of caffeinated soda. That should improve my mood during fishing. Of course, that may lead to increased trips to the most foul of all outhouses in Alaska (perhaps the entire world), so scratch the soda bit I guess.


Christine B. said...

Glad to spread the grumpy rant posing as information around. Just tell yourself Alaskans are cuckoo and you'll about have it.


James A-S said...

The fish must be possessed of an extreme death wish to hang around that beach.
Fish bonker I understand
Ice I understand.

The socket wrench and the milk jug, I confess I find a trifle confusing

I need to go a read up on the definitive rules.
Just in case.


Well, now that we've cleared that up. I will make sure to NEVER go dip fishing. But if I do, I will be sure to take extra everything for my needy neighbors; ear plugs and a midnight racers; my own bathroom with Harry Potter's invisibility cloak draped over it so I don't have to share and let's see, a full body armor to avoid being impaled. That should about cover it. Pun intended. On the upside I see from your weather widget that you're having sunny weather. Sunshine cures many a woe. Enjoy.

Christine B. said...

Ah, but Mr. A-S, it's the wish to pass on the genes before death that drives them. Past the commercial fisherman, salmon sharks, and seals into my big net. There is a sonar counter up the river that makes sure a suitable number make it through the gauntlet to breed each year. If not, limited fishing to outright closures.

Socket wrench and milk jug are tools of the dipnet adjustment trade. One must be Alaskan to understand the minutae of the business. Like the English and tea, I think....


Christine B. said...

Haven't you realized we're all a bit bizarre up here, Grace? Part of living in a frontier state, maybe.

As for the sun, I am unable to fully enjoy it as I have a bad cold. Which is just wrong. Colds are for winter and rainy days! Oh well, I did get a lot of reading and loafing in.


Kenai Fishing said...

I always go dipnetting on Kenai. Nobody counts the number of people who head to the popular fishery. Hundreds of tents pop up on the grass along the south shore during peak weekends in a scene reminiscent of a gold rush boom town. It's really fun!


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