Do you routinely go fishing for large trophy fish?
If so, you need to have a fishing gaff on your boat.
A gaff is a pole with a shart hook on the end that you use to stab a large fish and lift it into your boat.
Ideally, you’ll be able to hook your fish under their backbone. Any angler who routinely reels in fish that has a weight that exceeds the line’s breaking point uses a fishing gaff hook.
We’ll outline what you want to know before you buy one, several different options you have, and more below.
Things to Know Before Buying a Fishing Gaff
There are a few important points to consider when you shop for your new tool. Using the short guide will ensure you buy a product that fits your fishing style and lasts for years.
- Material – The material is very important to the tool’s longevity. You want something that is lightweight but durable, like aluminum. It should resist rust, corrosion, and general wear and tear. Additionally, the material should be strong enough to withstand repeated use with heavier loads.
- Length – Do you need a long or short gaff? The answer will depend entirely on personal preference. Some people like a longer gaff, but this can make it more prone to breaking.
- Cost – Your budget will factor into which gaff you get because they come in a large price range. It’s smarter to spend a little more upfront for a durable option. Set a budget before you shop and stick to it.
- Saltwater Versus Freshwater – Where do you do most of your fishing? Saltwater gaffs have to withstand more corrosive elements than freshwater ones. This can make the saltwater ones more expensive.
Fishing Gaff Versus Net
Should you use a gaff or a net when you fish?
On one hand, a well-placed gaff makes it easy to leverage your weight to get bigger fish in the boat. However, it’s generally easier to subdue a big fish when they’re tangled up in a net.
Consider your jigs as well.
Jigs will get tangled in nets much easier than they will in your gaff. Additionally, fish with teeth are more difficult to get in a net without them tearing it. Think about the type of fishing you do and how large your boat is when you make the final choice. You may want to have both.
Best Fishing Gaff Hook Reviews
This simple fishing gaff hook features a stainless steel hook with a thick wooden handle. There is a protective tip cover for the hook when it’s not in use. The rubber handle gives you a firm grip, and the hook connects to the handle with a stainless steel ring. The nylon rope hanger on the end of the hook makes it easy to store it between fishing trips.
- Comes in five different sizes
- Has a protective cover for the hook
- Very simple and durable design
- Too lightweight for bigger fish
- Handle is difficult to grip
- Nylon is flimsy
This gaff has an aluminum handle that is lightweight, resistant to rust, and durable enough to haul in big fish. The handle will telescope and get longer as you need it, and you can shorten the handle for easy storage. It comes with a stainless steel hook with a hook cover for safety. There are several points where you can grip onto it along the handle.
- The handle telescopes
- Aluminum handle is very lightweight and durable
- Has a thick handle
- Hook isn’t attached well
- Can be difficult to retract the handle
- Aluminum is thin
You’ll get an aluminum alloy handle that adjust up to 79 inches for maximum reach without sacrificing durability. The dismountable hook makes it safe and easy to store this gaff between uses. It has an EVA handle that is durable enough to withstand saltwater and freshwater, and you get an ergonomic grip that helps you haul in your fish.
- Hook detaches between uses
- Extends from 29 to 79 inches
- Works well in saltwater and freshwater
- Hook tip can roll
- Aluminum isn’t strong enough for big fish
- Time-consuming to lengthen
The gaff hook has a thick design with a stainless steel material that is durable and slightly heavier. It comes sharpened and ready to use out of the box. The EVA foam grip on the handle helps the gaff float if it falls into the water.
- Has a safety gaff hook cover
- EVA foam handles float
- Ready to use out of the box
- Rubber handle may slip
- Difficult to slide open
- Handle may not be thick enough
These gaffs come in three different lengths with three different hook sizes. The epoxy coating on this gaff protects it from wear an tear in both saltwater and freshwater. There is a large butt cap on the end of the handle, and it has a no-slip coating.
- Uses N50 stainless steel
- Has an epoxy coating
- Available in a few sizes
- Epoxy can flake off
- May not float for long
- No hook protector
1. What do you use a gaff hook for?
You use a gaff hook to haul larger fish onto your boat that have a higher weight than your pole or line is rated for. You hook the fish behind the spine and pull them in. They’re popular tools in both freshwater and saltwater fishing applications.
For fish with teeth, gaff hooks are a good option because they can tear through a traditional net. Since you hook through the fish with the hook, it’s almost impossible for them to get away.
2. What size gaff do I need?
Consider the size of your boat and the size of the fish you want to haul in. If you fish from a kayak or skiff, you can usually get away with a two or four-foot gaff because you’re right on top of the water and fish from a very close distance.
If you’re on a medium-sized boat between 18 and 30 feet, consider getting a gaff hook between four to six feet. For vessels larger than 30 feet, you’ll need a gaff hook that is between six to eight feet long.
3. Where can I gaff fish?
You can gaff fish just about anywhere, but it’s more popular for anglers who go after bigger fish out on the ocean. Ideally, you’d bring your gaff hook with you on any fishing adventures where you may catch a fish that has a bigger weight than your pole or line can hold without snapping.
If you get a gaff hook that is compact but can extend with a holder, it’s easy to take it with you everywhere you choose to fish. Make sure it’s lightweight as well.