Set the Net

Recipes and snapshots of life in Bristol Bay, AK

Bea turned two in March, making this her third summer hanging nets with Mama and Papa. This year she decided to try her hand at it….

Every spring we hang our gill nets to commercial fish for salmon in Bristol Bay with a 32 ft. drift gillnet boat. The hanging of the net involves tying the bundle of mesh onto a 50 fathom cork line, three meshes at a time, each knot evenly spaced apart depending on the net’s mesh size. Tying a cork into place every third hanging, and tying a weighted lead line to the bottom of the mesh, once the cork line is complete.

When the net is fished, it essentially works as a curtain in the water, with the cork line floating and the lead line holding the mesh as a sheet for the salmon to swim into. The net catches the salmon by their gills and when we haul in the net each salmon is hand picked, chilled in refrigerated sea water in fish holds onboard the boat, and delivered to tender vessels to be transported to shore for processing.

3 thoughts on “Hanging Nets

  1. Alvin Hoosanie says:

    Which is better…to hang the lead directly under the cork or between the corks?

    1. SusieBrito says:

      I am not sure what you mean exactly, are you hanging in your our lead, as in individual weights? In the Bay we hang our lead as one line (the weights are integrated into the rope, this is the line that is green in the large photo) at the bottom of our net so the weight is evenly distributed along the course of the net. Some set netters hang individual lead and it seems to be a personal preference on whether is it below of between cork hangings.

      1. Alvin Hoosanie says:

        Hi… I am using a lead line…however i was not sure if the lead shoul be placed directly under the cork or if is better if it were placed in the middle of two corks for a better result?

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