Gill Net Basics
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0:40 Dave: We're in this cove over here, off the Connecticut River here and my son Colby's putting out this rubber mat that we have, our rubber bed that's actually an air blow up bed. It's very heavy plastic, works real well for putting out the gill net that we have. I've got a 200 foot gill net, very fine lining. It gets caught on anything. This keeps the net from sliding out as we pull it back in from snagging anything. It's nice and heavy. It lays on the bottom real well.
And I found a use for it. It's a hundred dollar blow up bed that doesn't blow up too well. So we slept on it one time, went right through the floor. I said, ah, cutting it up. We're using it on the boat. So we're going to give it a shot and hopefully get some bunker. And from there, we'll take them out, throw them in the tank and we'll send them down deep and drown them, hopefully feed some big bass. And I don't see any bait flipping yet. (laughs)
1:38 Matt: The one thing Dave does with this net, he talked about it getting caught on everything. He puts his weight line on the bottom, his lead line on the bottom and his top float line on top and ties them together. If you leave these things separate, finding them when you go to throw this thing out is absolutely a pain in the neck. So I haven't run this net in awhile for him and I just reached in and grab it and knew they'd be tied together and it makes it really easy so keep that in mind when you're out there running some nets. (dragging sound)
2:12 Dave: Got a lot of snags on these boats. A lot of guys will use tarps or anything, canvas. This here seems to work the best. The wind doesn't blow it in the air because it's heavy. I got cleats up there. We got running lights up there. We've got everything a net can get snagged on, it's going to get snagged on. So this thing here, it's giant. It's a queen sized bed mattress is basically what it is. It's heavy and the net slides right off it.
There's also a bow eye in the front of the boat that hangs in there as we're pulling the net in. That'll get caught on that. So it kind of covers everything.
2:44 Matt: You want to try and keep the lead line on one side of this bucket and your floats on the other. If you notice, the way Dave had this in his tote, it's going out real easy. Just by keeping them separated, if they start flipping around you're going to have weight over your floats and never get your net out right.
3:12 Dave: What we got here is we got, I got about 200 feet of net. I've got a few nets at home. This one works best in this situation. We have no current. The sun's up a little bit, not much. And it's a very fine line. Bunker can't really see it. It's a three and a half inch stretch gill net, 200 feet. We got corks on top instead of floating line.
Floating line, you get some bunker, you get 100 bunker in there, it's going to the bottom. We've got lead core line on the bottom so the net is eight and a half feet high. So we got 200 feet by eight and we're doing a pretty good job. We actually have bait at the end here now.
Back in the 80s, I was able to get my commercial license, the plate here. And since then, they put a ban on it. So I'm allowed to run any kind of net, any length, multiple nets. I can leave them out overnight which I'm happy about. They do have here in Connecticut you can get a 60 foot gill net personal use license. It's the same set up, but it can only be 60 feet for bunker only.
So this works great for us and it looks like we're ready to pull this thing here in a minute because we got the floats jiggling at the end here. We'll throw them in the tank and we'll show you the tank here in a minute here how important it is to have circulating water at all times and a good proper drainage system here because it's going to be running all day long, you know, it doesn't stop. So let's pull her in and see what we got.
4:37 Dave: Yep. We're bringing in now, you can see Matt's got one side of it. I got the other. Let's try and keep it separate. That makes it easier when we put it back out again.
Bring your line over this side, Matt. Come over here.
4:49 Matt: Yup.
4:50 Dave: (indistinct talking) I don't know we have that many bunker in here. We've got a couple at the end.
4:58 Matt: Might have one there.
4:59 Dave: And we want to get them out of the net as quick as possible. They're lively. The longer you leave them in there, you know, they're probably going to get gilled and end up dying on us. Would prefer to keep them alive.
5:12 Dave: We've got nothing? And here we go, one bunker. Woo hoo.
5:16 Dave: Yeah, we got one bunker and we're trying to get him out of here. They key with this light line is it's nice and thin. It's probably about the diameter of four pound test. I like to snap it with my fingers, out he comes. He's happy and he's even talking to us. So in the tank he goes.
5:33 Dave: What we said here Matt is we got a channel right here. It's about nine feet here. We got bait already. And it's shallow over here. It's four feet. The net's too deep for that. You can see that float's jiggling.
When there's no current, it's tough. Usually we're out here at night and it's easier at dark. When there's current, like on the main river, the net's moving down and the fish just get caught up in it pretty easy, you know. But here we're just sitting pretty dead in the water and we're just hoping that they swim into it and not see the net. Light level is low still so they still can't see it.
But if we get any bluefish or any bass in here, scaring these fish, they'll fill this net up in a second because they're running for their lives and they're not looking for no net. So obviously it doesn't seem like there's any bass in here. I don't see anything snapping on top of the water, no fish breaking this morning.
6:23 Dave: We're going to pull the net in. We only got a couple in there if that. Get them out of the net quick. Get them in the tank. Keep them alive; keep them fresh. And we'll put the net back out again.
Give me a hand here, will you?
6:39 Dave: Throw that right in there.
6:53 Colby: A few fishy fishies.
6:54 Dave: Well we got a couple of them anyhow. We got more on the end maybe?
7:04 Colby: Three of them, four of them.
7:05 Dave: Give me a hand.
7:19 Colby: Let's get them out.
7:22 Dave: Get your finger in the gill.
7:24 Matt: Run it back. I'll get the other one. There we go.
7:38 Dave: Another thing we can do too is we'll drop the net here and leave it and we'll take the boat and we'll circle the net and see if we can't not scare them into the net again, you know. Again, we'll try that in a second here. But we did pretty good right there. We got like six to eight bait right on that last drift so there's definitely some bait in the area, not a lot, but enough to go fishing with.
8:00 Dave: We're in them now. The screen is just full of fish. It's just amazing. They're stacked up in here like cord wood as the saying goes. And...Colby just had his bunker go swimming by the boat. Oh I got one knocking on right now. There we go. We got him.
And we're on just like that. All hooked up. It feels like a pretty decent fish. (reel sound) Ah, yeah. (reel sound) Yep. Well we found out where the fish are. (reel winding)
That's for the folks at home that only have a radio on. (laughs)(reel sound)(splashing) Oh! Colby's got one on top there and that bunker is swimming, holy smokes this is a good fish. (reel sound) Feels pretty good.
8:55 Dave: (splash) Got a big belly on him. You on?
9:04 Off camera: Yeah.
9:05 Dave: (splash) This fish is fat. He's got some shoulders on him. He's not that long. But look at the back on him, very thick. He's been eating good. Good, fat fish. Probably 25 pounds I'll say.
9:31 Dave: Yup, this is exactly why we got up at three o'clock this morning, getting our bait, putting in the time and the effort and here it's paying off, the dividends. Let's get this guy back in the water here and go get some more. (splash) There he goes, right to the bottom.
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