The Flying Gaff

What is a flying gaff?

Many avid fishermen (particularly those accustomed to attempting to cacth larger fish) are familiar with what a normal gaff is.  A gaff is essentially a pole with a sharp hook on the end.  It is used to stab large fish and then lift the fish into the boat.  The goal is to place the hook under the backbone of the fish once the fish has been hooked.  Gaffs are typically used when the weight of the fish is too heavy for the fishing line or fishing pole.  However, because the gaff will usually kill the fish, or at least mortally wound it, it is important to remember that gaffs are not used (or shouldn’t be used) when it is the intention of the fisherman to return the fish to the water unharmed. 

The flying gaff is a variation on the original gaff.  It is a specialized gaff used for securing and controlling particularly large fish.  The hook part of the gaff (known as the head) essentially detaches when sufficient force is used, much the same way a harpoon’s dart detaches.  Because of the fight and resistance that the large fish will put up, the flying gaff is also secured to the boat, which means that it’s effectiveness won’t be determined by how hard the fishermen hangs on.  More specifically described, the steel hook (the head of the gaff) is attached to a strong rope.  The pole on the gaff is used to pierce the hook into the fish, at which point it detaches.  The fish is then attached to the boat by that rope.

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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