Gaff like a pro with these five tips
To gaff or not to gaff? That is a question faced by many anglers and especially those aboard a Carolina Skiff.
A gaff is handy to have aboard when skiff anglers hook into a fish too big for a net, yet not small enough to bring aboard by hand, like many inshore species.
Gaffs can help eliminate injury by minimizing handling and the time it takes to return the fish to water. For larger fish, that can also mean less chance of angler injury.
A boat designed and built with all the features needed for landing gaff-sized fish is the Sea Chaser 24 HFC by Carolina Skiff. The HFC fittingly stands for Hybrid Fish and Cruise.
What that means for boaters is a rig with the ultimate fit and finish for a family cruise or a serious fishing outing. You get all the features and more with this center console model built with 30 years of design and manufacturing excellence that only Carolina Skiff delivers.
Heavy duty, stainless steel fold-down cleats give an indication of the attention to detail, from bow to stern. That detail continues with an abundance of LED lighting below the gunwale. Cup holders, rod holders, and storage compartments and have LED lighting. LED blue underwater lights add to the style.
LED lighting beneath the gunwale and in cup holders adds style and functionality, while a stainless steel anchor chock proves the boat is sea ready.
Spacious describes the interior that comes with abundant storage, from recessed anchor storage in the floor to fully insulated and lockable fish box at 32 gallons in size. Up front is a bow compartment with 52 gallons of storage space for keeping gear stowed and ready for anytime use. The rear storage compartment also sports 52 gallons of space.
Comfort abounds on the 24 HFC, with a Deluxe upholstery package that covers the rear bench and other seating.
The 24 HFC is 23′ 9″ with a beam spanning 101 inches. It comes with a 100-gallon fuel capacity and is rated for a maximum of 300 horsepower.
Check out all the details of this full-featured boat here.
With so many standard fishing features all this rig needs is bait, tackle and of course, a gaff. Choose a short-handled or rope gaff for most fish, or a pole gaff for larger fish and those with teeth.
The short handled or rope gaff is simply a large barbless hook with a loop of rope for a handle. The rope functions like a hinge, should the fish thrash or jump and prevents injury to the angler and catch. For pole gaffs select a length long enough to grasp it by both hands, otherwise, you risk not having tight enough of a grip and can lose fish and gaff.
Improve your gaffing game with these five tips.
1 Wear gloves
Nothing can spoil a day like fighting a trophy fish or food for the table and have it get away at the boat. That can happen if the fish shakes free of the hook or worse. By worse, that means losing a pricey gaff after the fish thrashes at the surface and you loose the grip. Avoid that disaster by wearing fishing gloves so you get a tight, firm grip on the gaff.
2 Don’t be a loner
Never try to leader a fish with one hand and gaff it with the other. It’s a two-man job. Have someone else aboard the boat leader the fish while another lines up the gaff shot.
3 Size matters
Gaffs come in different sizes and so do fish. Keep at least two gaffs aboard to handle the jobs both large and small. A short gaff with a 3-inch gap hook and a 6-footer with a 5-inch gap hook provide a good balance for handling most any fish. Just remember that 8 feet are the maximum pole length for boating potential record fish by the International Game Fish Association.
4 Head shot
There is no shame in aiming for the head with a gaff shot when the intent is to put the fish on ice for the dinner table. The head shot is also best since it won’t spoil the prime steaks or fillets.
5 Cover up
Gaff hooks are sharp and dangerous, both to fish and crew. Use a safety spring, wine cork, tennis ball or other material to keep hooks covered up until ready for use.
Original Source: Sportsmans Lifestyle.com