KDLG Header Banner Image
Public Radio for Alaska's Bristol Bay
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Set netting is a 'mud experience' and these fishermen can't get enough of it

Austin Fast

Mud is the tie that binds all set netters together, but some are better than others at traipsing through the gloop. We found three fishermen who couldn’t stop gushing about it.

Alana Kansaku-Sarmiento has left set netting (somewhat reluctantly, it seems) to drift with the fishing vessel Marion-Ruth. We also heard from Matt Crimp who set nets Upper Coffee Point and Karyn Marxmiller who fished at Clark’s Point in 2017.

The fun song featured in the piece is “Miles and Miles of Mudflats” by Jon Broderick and Jay Speakman.  


Kansaku-Sarmiento: I love, for some reason, the mud. And that's a very personal reason that I would love Nushagak Point and set netting, but I happen to be one of those people who just loves walking in it, picking fish in it, dragging s**t -- stuff -- through it. I don't know what it is. It's just a visceral sensation that's really satisfying to me, and it probably also has to do with the fact that it was my first experience here, and it was special to me. 

Crimp: Part of set netting is getting up close and personal with the mud. It's a mud experience. We take turns. It's not always Piper (setting the net). [Piper: Feels like it's always me!] That's what set netting is all about is building character. Piper's got the right attitude, I think. Anybody who can run back through the mud with a smile on his face is OK in my book. 

Marxmiller: I was unable to make my way through the mud as nicely as some practiced individuals. I took a roll or two, but what an adventure. What an opportunity!

Kansaku-Sarmiento: So, Nushagak Point -- there's a sparkle to that spot. The people that go there generation after generation and year after year make the community really super. Being able to, if you want to, knock on your neighbor's cabin door after a tide and have dinner, play dinner or take a walk on the beach is really amazing, and it's not something that's really afforded the drift community. The drift community gets their community time here in the boatyard, which is fun, but not nearly as beautiful, and also it's a lot more temporary because we go out on the water. From there, it's mostly radio talk and waves from a distance.

Crimp: You kind of lease a spot of mud here. If we're not fishing here, someone can come here and set a net out, but if we come up and say we want to fish here, they have to leave basically. So we’ve gotten to know this patch of mud here pretty well.

Marxmiller: As I've shared it with my siblings and people that are closer to me and really know that I am a city girl. This is not my persona, and how out of the box this was. What a fabulous experience!

Kansaku-Sarmiento: That doesn't mean I don't absolutely love drifting, but for me, set netting is like my first love. There's a place and a nostalgia held dearly for first loves and hometowns and things like that. For me, that's Nushagak Point and set netting.

Related Content