Is There Any Way To Use A Gaff That Will Still Allow A Fish To Survive

Is there any way to use a gaff that will still allow a fish to survive if released?

Using gaffs in general, and flying gaffs specifically, has become a common practice in the world of sport fishing.  If you are fishing for large game fish such as shark or other large game fish, it could be the only safe way to get your catch from the water to the boat deck, but the use of a gaff is frowned upon by most organizations advocating the humane treatment of fish.  Indeed, many such organizations frown on fishing altogether, so it is up to you to do your homework, and then decide which side of the fence you are on, and act accordingly. 

Still, using a gaff is a dangerous undertaking, and personal safety as well as safety of other members of your fishing party, as well as the humane treatment of the fish you catch, should always be of the utmost concern. 

If you are using a gaff, please use it under the supervision of an experienced fisherman until you are used to the practice, and never attempt to use a gaff on a fish you plan to release after you catch it, because it normally kills the fish, and throwing a gaffed fish back only causes the fish to die a slow, agonizing death as opposed to a quick, relatively painless one.

Don’t fret though.  Plenty of anglers out there will encourage you to use them.  Do it right, and with some practice, and you will benefit from the method.  Just plan to learn the correct methods before heading out.

Daniel Eggertsen
Dan Eggertsen is a fellow saltwater fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on saltwater fishing since 2004.

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