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Alaska Dipnetting (A Story In Pictures)

This is a story about a dipnetting trip in Kenai, Alaska. It was the first time I’d ever gone dipnetting so I took tons of pictures. Go ahead and click on any picture if you want to see a larger version of it. All right, lets go…
 

Duct Tape And Giant Nets


Dipnetters camping on the beach in Kenai, Alaska.

Alaska dipnetting is something that’s only open to local residents at a certain part of the year. It’s a huge deal for some families because they can stock up on fish for the whole winter. Most camp on the beach…



A giant tent.

…some go all out with the super hardcore camp setup…



The cooking area of our camp.

…our group just had a bunch of tents set up with a common eating area on the side facing the water.



Duct taping waders to make them more waterproof.

Getting ready to go fishing. If your gear has a problem duct tape will fix it!



Woman in waders holding fish bonker.

The club Linda’s holding is a fish bonker, more on that later.



Woman fixing dipnetting pole with duct tape.

Half of Alaska is held together with duct tape.



Two women creating a float for the dipnet.

Jennifer and Linda securing the float for the dipnet.



Woman standing with dipnetting pole.

“Why’s everybody taking so long? Let’s go!”



Man holding a giant dipnet.

The key piece of equipment for AK dipnetting is a big ass net.



Man holding a dipnet standing amongst crowd at beach.

About a bazillion (rough estimate) people are crowded onto the beach. Many are just spectators, families of the people out in the water.



Woman on four wheeler and crowd at beach.

A lot of people use four wheelers ’cause it’s a pain to haul everything to and from camp across the sandy ground.



Woman wading out into the water to dipnet.

So the first step is to wade out into the cold cold water…
 

People standing in water trying to catch fish.

…as far out as you can.
 

Guy with giant net walking through water.

Brrrr.



Man finding a spot in line to dipnet.

Then find a spot in line, a lucky spot…
 

A line of people dipnetting.

…then you wait.



People looking jealously at someone who's caught a fish.

And when someone gets a fish everybody stares at them enviously.



Guy in water dipnetting and scowling.

Or they stare at the person taking lots of pictures :D.



Man bringing in fish while dipnetting.

When you get a fish you twist the pole and drag it back to shore where the it’s promptly bonked on the head…
 

Woman untangling fish from dipnetting net.

…untangled from the net…
 

Woman taking fish caught while dipnetting to cooler.

…and taken to the nearest cooler.



Man killing fish with rock.

If you don’t have a fish bonker ready then a rock works too.



People standing around watching others dipnet.

Lots of people just stand around taking in the day.



Bloody fish on a sled.

Somebody drug a sled with a dead bloody fish right in front of us and just abandoned it there. So I had a bloody fish eyeballing me the whole time. o_0



Skyline at the beach while dipnetting.

This was the view from my spot on the beach (minus the bloody fish head). Click the picture to see a much better version of this.



Church on a hill.

There were people going around inviting others to come and get ‘free’ hot dogs and sodas at a tent down the beach at a certain time. Turns out that it was a religious service, no such thing as a free lunch I guess lol. I assumed the people were from this beautifully placed church that was perched over the area.



Camera with shutters stuck.

This is the point that a camera that I’d had for years and years started to die. It had survived all kinds of abuse all the while taking great photos and videos but it finally said enough was enough after being subjected to the mix of cold, sand, water, and wind. RIP.



Man carrying buckets of water to wash fish after dipnetting.

Bringing up water to process fish.



A woman taking pictures of people dipnetting.

Jennifer taking pictures for some friends of ours.



Man filleting fish that he caught while dipnetting.
 
Closeup of a man filleting fish after dipnetting.
 
Man washing fish after filleting.
 



 

Knocking Out Fish


Girl with fish bonker and crowd watching dipnetters.

The girl in the yellow life vest’s name is Fallon and she was with our group. She’s very much a person that cares for animals so I was wondering how she’d react to the whole fish bonking thing.



Girl knocking out fish that someone caught dipnetting.

But actually she went around helping everybody knock out their fish.



People looking at fish caught while dipnetting.

Whenever somebody drug a fish in she’d go right up and ask if they wanted help.



Man cutting the head off a fish he got while dipnetting.

This guy caught a lot of fish and would process them right in the water.
 
Man gutting fish that he caught dipnetting.
 

Man processing fish that he got dipnetting.

Not squeamish at all, who knew?



A boat used to transport people and gear while out dipnetting.

Random picture of a boat.



Picture of a woman waiting to catch fish while dipnetting.

Brenda (middle with the brown hat) braved the icy water in jeans and a sweatshirt.
 

Woman reacting to someone calling her name while dipnetting.

We’d just randomly yell out her name and she’d be like ‘Wtf?’
 

Woman dipnetting out in the water.

‘Oh it’s you bastards again!’



Woman untangling a fish she caught while dipnetting.

Got one.



Girl and woman out dipnetting.

This was Fallon and her mother’s first dipnetting trip.
 

Woman holding fish she caught dipnetting.

…and she wanted to help her mother.
 

Child helping with dipnetting.

This is what she had been practicing for the whole time.
 

Mother and daughter giving a high five while dipnetting.

Awww.



 

Tents And Bathrooms Try To Take Flight (The End)


Picture of a four wheeler used while dipnetting.

Jennifer loved loved loved this four wheeler.



Man holding up the fish he caught while dipnetting.

This guy (can’t remember his name for the life of me) was from our group, this was his first dipnetting trip too.



Bathroom tent twisting in the wind.

So the last day of the trip it got very windy out. This is a bathroom tent (yes they do sell those apparently) in a neighboring camp twisting in the wind. Literally a shit storm waiting to happen.



A tent used while out dipnetting.

This is Jennifer’s and my tent which was about to take flight.



A tent almost being blown away by the wind.

There it goes! I have video of this somewhere, maybe I’ll post it later.



Woman making an apple pie after dipnetting.

Some people are hardcore and can make homemade apple pies in cast iron pans…over a campfire…on the beach…at the last minute.
 

Closeup of apple pie being made while camping.
 

Apple pie made camping, after it was cooked.

It was good, we happily ate it while waiting for our stuff to be hauled back to our cars.



Four wheeler and trailer being packed up with dipnetting gear.

Packing up one of the last loads. I had a great time but by the end of the trip the drizzly cold conditions had wore me down. I looked forward to getting back home to Anchorage and spending some quality time sipping hot cocoa in a cozy warm bed.



Picture of empty campsite after dipnetting.

The end :)


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07/29/2010