Author: Chester Gamble
The Gaff Question
Good afternoon America! Chester here from American Yakers Inc. I believe I have a tool for everything. Example, is that I have 9 different hammers in my garage. Each one has a different purpose. But ultimately have the same goal and function. Below you see some different gaffs I use and I will write about how I use different tools to kill and/or release my fish.
This is what I call my left hand. This gaff allows you to pickup large shark baits to move them from one place to another. Or if you have a large fist to get over the side of the boat. This will give you the grip without ripping a huge hole in the fish.
The almighty pier gaff. Having a treble hook shape allows for error. When making or picking out your pier gaff ensure you have a heavy or solid center. This will keep the gaff still when putting it down 30-50 feet to get to the water.
Smaller pier gaff. I have this one for them Bonita, Spanish mackerel, etc. I don't want to put a large whole in. Works great for stingray!
Boat gaff has a long shaft (Giggity). This allows you to get that little extra reach into the water. The longer you go the less accurate I find the person manipulating. When I was teaching my son at the age 8. I would put a piece of foam in the water and have him get it.
Kayak hook gaff. This one is shorter and doesn't take a lot of space on the yak. again it takes some practice.
Straight gaff. Another go to gaff on the yak. When targeting pelagic fish having this sharp straight gaff will come in handy. With a fast and relentless fish. You can hit a quarter on the date! The sharp barb on the end will ensure the gaff stays in the fish. Back in Navarre FL I had the King of a lifetime. After fighting him 30+ min. He was at the yak. I put the gaff just behind his gills. The fish decided he wasn't done. He took off again. I fought the fish for about 5 min with my gaff hanging in his body. I got both the fish and gaff back.
Harpoon gaff. Earnie Polk from Team True Blue got me on these about 7 years ago. They are my go to for harpooning stingray. The line attached to the dart stays in the fish and the harpoon come out. Making for a fun fight. I use the 400lbs. Mono attached to tether to my weak hand.
For sharks I release 99% of all I catch. To increase survival it is vital to get the hook out and the fish in the water as fast as possible. Having a good de-hooker will enable this. I always have one on the carry.
Once a month I make it a point to sharpen all my gaffs. I never want a gaff bouncing off a fish causing same to break off or damage meat. Lastly, always rinse your tools when exiting saltwater.
As always if you have any questions or would like to kayak, shark or surf fish San Diego area hit me up on American Yakers on Facebook. Thank you for reading and keep ya lines tight.
Chester W. Gamble
American Yakers Inc. Co-founder and VP
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