Whitebait dragnetting

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  • #7218
    ripshitandbust
    Participant

    I Just found Allans short video on drag netting at the waimak mouth. It has fired me up to make a net and give this a try. This leads me to a heap of questions

    How does this method stack up against other techniques? What time of the tide is favoured?

    What type of net bag is best, will a cheap one be OK? What dimensions should I make the frame? In the video it looks about 1.8X0.5M? He states that about a 1/2 a KG of lead should be glued in the bottom piece of pipe. This doesn’t seem like much. How do people add weight? I was thinking of getting a piece of No8 wire and threading some net weights on it and squashing them with a hammer and then sliding this into the pipe. I thought if I attached the bottom piece of pipe with silicone and self tapping screws I could always dismantle it and add more weight if it was needed.

    #21410
    Miliwolf
    Participant

    In my experience, the cheap nets are much tougher to push through the water then English Ulstron mesh. So I say it would be worth while to purchase the more expensive English Ulstron. In saying that I have only used pole nets. Hopefully Allan would add a bit of first hand experience.

    #21423
    yellowfin
    Participant

    The best way to do it is check with DoC to make sure the opening of your net is within the regulations. Secondly most guys use a commercially available Ulstron mesh sock, or bag, for their drag net. So if you get the bag first you can make a frame to fit the opening. Get the biggest bag you can. Put some lead sinkers in the bottom tube to keep it on the bottom.

    At the mouth of the Waimakariri River the beach is sandy and shallow. Therefore a net which is wide but not that high is better suited. In a different spot where the water is deeper a different shape might be better.

    The pipe frame nets are good in the wind as there isn’t much sticking out of the water. However fishing a drag net can be tiring as you have to pull it along all the time – or at least hold the rope. I think one of the big advantages with this type of drag net, particularly at Canterbury’s Waimakariri River mouth, is that when there are many whitebait set-netters in the narrow part of the mouth, there will always be plenty of space down in the surf zone, and so arguments are avoided. No need to get there first and stake a spot. You also get first go at the little fish which must get past the drag nets first even though the river is much wider. When the bait are running you can get plenty with this method.

    Generally the best time to fish a river mouth for whitebait is on the first push of the incoming tide. You often find West Coast rivers like the Hokitika deserted on the out-going tide. Then just as the tide is turning the locals appear from everywhere!

    #21424
    ripshitandbust
    Participant

    Thanks guys much appreciated. When I have looked on line I have seen that all the ulstron nets I have seen have traps. Do you guys use traps in this kind of net?

    #21425
    yellowfin
    Participant

    You sure do. The trap is already sewn into the net bag when you buy it. It is also a good idea to tie a 3oz sinker to the end of the drag net as well to keep it in the bottom.

    #21427
    yellowfin
    Participant


    You should be able to get some ideas for making a drag net from this picture.

    #21428
    ripshitandbust
    Participant

    cheers yellofin. I live in otago and would like to try this technique at Taieri mouth. There we tend to use two person dragnets, but it is very hard to do in the surf zone although at times it does yield bait. I thought I would try your approach with a cheap net bag first to see if it has potential and if it works out I would buy a nice bag.

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