These 10 tips will help you become better at gaffing fish on your next trip on the water.
Sink the gaff in the upper shoulder area, a tad behind the gill plates, if you can. This renders full control of the fish and won’t damage the meat.
Lift a gaffed fish from the water and swing it into the boat in a single move, trying not to pause between one and the other.
To gaff spiraling fish, like tuna, take your shot when the fish heads back toward the boat, extending the gaff across and into its upper dorsal region, but always behind the leader.
Lead a fish to gaff by keeping the boat straight and barely underway. This prompts the fish to swim with the boat and come within easy reach.
With fish you plan to take home for the table, slip the gaff hook under their lower jaw or into their mouth to keep the meat intact.
For safety reasons, keep all gaffs stored until needed.
Never attempt to gaff a fish in front of the leader or fishing line. If you miss and the fish charges off, the gaff could tangle or break the line.
If you boat a fish that’s still green, pin it to the deck or nearest gunwale with the gaff still in it. Once subdued, transport the fish to the fish box without delay.
If a gaff is kept on deck, add a protective barrier over the point, such as a tennis ball. Should someone come in contact with the gaff or should it fall from the T-top, the ball will prevent an injury.