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Evolution of an Alaskan DipShip

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Well, this is my first real post.
Here in Alaska we have what’s known as dip net season where residents converge on one of only a half dozen streams in the State where it’s legal to dip net Salmon out of a river. In my case; it’s Fish Ck which flows to Cook inlet about 5 min from my house. You can google “dip netting fish creek Alaska” if you care to watch a mud riddled, combat fishing escapade. The majority of the folks fish from shore but there’s no shortage of boat people as well. The legal area is from the Inlet to the bridge 1/2 mile upstream and all but the last 100 yards at the bridge is in the tidal affected zone and the swings in Cook Inlet are some of the largest in the world with 20 ft not being uncommon! I’ve fished it several seasons but just recently began “perfecting my presentation” and this latest outfitting project should bring me to the pinnacle as i ply those waters next season in “The Alaskan DipShip”.
Humor aside, heres what I'm working on. I’m starting with an Old Town Discovery133, which has been heralded by many as too heavy, too short, too wide, wont track etc. etc. In her defense let me point out why she’s perfect for my purposes.
She’s too heavy; yep, i’ll agree at 78 lbs. that’s a bit much to lug very far. However, i only need to drag it 50 ft to an entry point and im making numerous efforts to lower that weight as i go about setting her up for solo dipping.
Too short; at 13ft she fits perfectly in the bed of my truck with the tail gate down, eliminating racks or other contrivances that would make loading difficult for a mature fellar.
Too wide; at 40 in. I will feel comfortable in her while frantically maneuvering a 4/12 ft dip net and handling the catch. There’s about a 2 hour window when the fishing is usually great and it can get somewhat frantic; with lots of un-orthodox canoe moves being displayed!
Won’t track; that’s not a problem because with my limited skill set i wont know the difference! I’m certain i can move her 1/2 mile each way just fine especially with the pair of high tech paddles i’ve got, and will discuss later.

At this point the center seat has been removed, cutting the weight by 5.7 lbs! It was replaced by an ultralight weight balsa thwart skinned with 3 layers of carbon fiber sleeve material. The thwart weighs 1 lb and will give me an attachment point for a pair of soft fish kill bags. I chose the kayak model bags which are 20 wide and 36 long. A pair of these tapered bags fit nicely from the mid ship thwart up to the bow seat and only standing 9 inches tall they’ll help with the center of gravity thing. I’m allowed 35 of these Salmon, which takes a bit of cooler space. Not having a cooler standing above the gunnels will be a plus while maneuvering the net too.
Currently i’m building a replacement stern seat, a webbed seat of greater size than the original and sporting a Carbon frame as well.

This is probably a good place to mention; i’m a wee bit off with a penchant for chasing butterfly’s and reason is something i usually reserve for more serious matters in life. My new seat may beat the 2lb original but that’s not a goal. Comfort is, and along the way if i loose a bit of weight, great. For me the fun is in conquering all the little challenges!

I‘ve machined a thru hull fitting from Acetal (delrin) that pokes out the stern where my anchor line will pass. That line will be held by a small Harken cleat mounted on my seat frame and i’ll have full control of the anchor from the seat, without even looking back.

when i get a little farther along on the seat i’ll post some pictures of these items and would encourage your feedback. Sometimes while chasing a butterfly; ive been known to stub my toe.

Mike
 
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That sounds like a good practical project Alasgun. Do you usually get your 35 fish and how many times going out does it take?

Fish creek may have been the first place I fished for salmon up here, I got skunked.
 

Glenn MacGrady

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I'm confident that we've never had this particular canoe outfitting for this particular purpose on this site, and I too am looking forward to some pictures as the project and fishing progress.
 
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Typically all 35 can he caught if a fella pays attention to the tide AND there’s fish in the stream. ADF&G wont open the fishery until 35,000 have passed the weir. Last year i was fishing my new Carbon Fiber dip net and the hoop fished real well, the bag not so much. Initially i had a 3.5 inch size net and missed far more than i caught. At one point i missed 16 in a row! However i still ended up with 26 which suited me just fine. There’s only 2 of us eating them these days, and they’re 2 meal fish so it’s just about perfect. Of the ones i boated none were gilled either. I have the replacement bag in the 4.5 inch size ready to sew on the hoop and i’ll be ready next season.
That Carbon net is one i made and with a bag it weighs less than 3 lbs. !! I’ll get a picture of the complete net for you directly.
 

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Mike,
Thanks for those pics and the descriptions of the Dipship and salmon netting.
Too cool that you're making your own specialized gear...
BTW, I recognize those vee blocks, I'm a former apprentice toolmaker turned toolmaker turned technician turned engineer turned entrepreneur turned retired old dude.

Nearly 20 ft tide has gotta be quite a ride...
 
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Pro fillet job there Mike, I guess you've done it a few times. You're lucky to have that resource right there, it's become a madhouse down the Kenai. I'm very lucky to get a lot of free fish from friends and neighbors.
 
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I’ve made some progress on the stern seat and should have an “assembled” picture directly. Here are the main frame members.

Also a picture of the carbon fiber dip net (minus the bag) used in the pursuit of the Sockeye’s.
 

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Today was a good day; any day i can spend much time on a project like this, is a good day😉

The assembled stern seat frame was hard and ready for the risers. During my quest for comfort, i’d read a couple places about canting the seat forward a bit to help reduce back strain so i did just that. The articles said ”up to an inch” which seemed a bit excessive to me so i set the frame up with a 1/2 inch drop front to back. Part of the set up included some blue poly and it was real easy to tell when the end mill had penetrated the skin on the off side. I used a carbide, center cutting mill that gave an excellent fit on the 1/2 inch Carbon tube, used for the risers. Doing the work in the mill assured me everything is absolutely plumb. Each riser was bedded to the frame with G-Flex.
I’d also machined 4 transition spacers out of Acetal (delrin) to give a decent look and provide a wide surface where it engages the underside of the gunnel. If further adjustment, up or down becomes necessary; i can machine replacement spacers to what ever dimension i want. The spacers are a snug slip fit on the tube but easily removed.
 

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@lowangle al, i can understand the confusion of the photo, there’s a lot more “set-up” showing than seat! This coming week is a biggy for me but i should have it completed directly. Then we’ll both know what it’s going to look like. I did mock it up in the boat this morning and am happy with the fit and seat angle. Finishing the carbon and webbing remains.
Thanks for the interest.
 
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To propel this thing i’ve purchased a couple paddles. First one is a carbon fiber Greenland paddle, which i believe i’ll really like. I’m ok with kneeling for short stretches and im looking forward to trying the double in this rig. I really like the carbon fiber and even though it seems somewhat fragile right now; i believe it can be reinforced a bit in the blade tip area and still be very light.
The other one is a Ray Special that was bought for it’s narrow, long design but its entirely too heavy for my liking and i’ll probably replicate the design in E-glass/Carbon.
This is a combat fishery and the paddles will have to be tough to survive, which i can make happen.
 
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A little bit of a side track here; but this is the “hunting & fishing“ section.

This little guy has been hanging around for the last couple days, helping me clean up garden residue!
 

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Things are coming together and i wanted to share some progress.
i figured out today how handy my engine lathe can be for certain fiberglass chores as i begin glassing the forward thwart. Between centers i can rotate it and not get sticky or leave marks!
The stern seat is mostly in place as I wait for some longer hardware; you’d think a Machinist could get good measurements the first time.😳 The OEM seat has 155 sq.in of seating surface, the new one 216!
I like the look of the smaller webbing but if i ever do another one i’ll use full frame members all around. It would give a better look IMO. The carbon side tubes protrude thru the back frame member and MAY give a good mounting point for a back rest; at some point.
The Harken cleat is in place and my anchor arrangement’s going to work fine. During this fishery; folks mostly use a tire chain for an anchor. The bottom is pure silt/mud and a hard anchor can become stuck fast if it’s not moved often. Tire chain seems to lift a little at a time and are much easier to work with. In either case the anchor IS NOT something you’d wanna bring in the boat. That ball of muddy chain will hang off the stern until i return to the flowing water of the upper stream. (the take out) All it’s doing is holding me against tidal movement so i can raise and lower it without even looking.
The Carbon center thwart is in place, taking the place of the OEM center seat.
 

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Today I made a mobile cleat that can be positioned on either end of the center thwart, dependent on which side I'm fishing. A length of paracord will connect the net to the boat, via my cleat. This fishery can be quite intense sometimes and once i have a fish picked out of the net it’s pretty easy to let the net back over the side while i bonk, bleed and bag that fish. Many times there’s another fish in the net when you come back to it And if nothing else the net’s out of the way while you’re dealing with a fish.
i also installed 4 nice “d” ring pads to the undersides of the thwarts as an attachment point for the fish bags.
 

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Starting tomorrow and into most of next week i have a side of Yak and a side of Beef to put up so today i played in the shop a bit. I’m currently waiting for some hardware to finish up some of the open ended stuff so i decided to go ahead and start a seat back. Using the carbon tube’s that protrude from the seat frame as a mount i decided a simple ball socket would make an easy hinge AND make the back easy to remove. Those black Acetal nuts screw on and off of the mount so backing them up a half turn allows the ball to come out easily.
I used a piece of Cherry vernier as a form for the back and after positioning it on the mill with blocks etc, it has a nice shape. I used 24 oz woven roving for the core and to give it some bulk. If it’s not rigid enough i‘ll add layer‘s of carbon. It will have a 1/2 inch foam face and the usual side straps running to d-rings for support.
 

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Thanks for indulging me for a wee bit. I’d of thought outfitting and using a canoe as a tool (much like the forefathers did) would have generated more interest.
I enjoyed some of the stories etc but won’t continue to stoke the fire in this stove now that i’ve realized “the damper’s shut”!
i do appreciate the level of craftsmanship exhibited by some!
 
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Some threads are like that. I have one building a reflector oven, not many comments or whatever. You don’t have to leave, it’s just what you are doing doesn’t really relate to me here in Maine (and probably others) but I’m following along nine the less.
Jim
 
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Outfitting a canoe for dipnetting might not be interesting for a lot of us. Because, except for a handful of us that are Alaska residents, they will never get to dipnet salmon under the personal use or subsistence regulations. A lot of us just read about your way of putting food in your freezer. We have no meaningful comments, so we are just readers. I could have expounded on the different ways that I have dipped salmon, but they had nothing to do with canoes or canoe tripping.
I read every one of your posts as I did Jim’s reflector oven build posts. Most of us are not all that handy with building things, but we admire those that do.
Tell us what your favorite coffee is and way of preparing it and you will get lots of replies.
Woops, time to put the kettle on for a cup of “Sleepytime Tea” before bed.
 
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