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Thread: Gaffs for salmon.

  1. #1

    Default Gaffs for salmon.

    So for my kayak, I have a medium net, a large net, and a buoy and harpoon system. I was thinking about adding either a hand gaff or lip gripper. Lip gripper is good for releasing fish but I don't think they will work for salmon or halibut over 25 pounds. For harvesting, I can see a gaff being effective.

    I always thought gaffs were illegal for salmon anywhere. But all I can find in the regs are:

    "Gaffs prohibited: A gaff may not be used to puncture any fish intended to be released."

    The "gaffs prohibited" seems contrary to the clarification after the colon.

    So if I am keeping it, I can gaff a salmon? Anyone else see anything in regs. Sorry scouring reg books from a smartphone.

    If I am releasing, I don't even want to net it.

  2. #2

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    I won't speculate about the legal side, but I can speak from the practical side. In my youth I used nothing but a "bat" gaff while working on a commercial salmon troller, always aiming for the head. It worked well there because the fish popped right off when we swung them up onto the deck. The straighter shaft on a wooden "bat" gaff is going to allow the salmon to flip off really easily once you stop your swing, which would be problematic on a kayak. The deeper hook of a traditional halibut gaff would be better for sure. But I have to ask why bother when space is at a premium on a kayak and you're already packing two nets? Heck I'd even do away with the medium net.

  3. #3

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    Good point. Thanks. I don't carry them all with me. The gaff I'd use mainly when going for halibut. Buoy harpoon for anything over 35lbs. A gaff for smaller fish.

    I wish I could say I was a pro at this but I caught my two kings while fishing for halibut as the primary species. I caught my halibut while trolling for kings. Lol.

    A net is the best, but everytime I use a net on a decent fish from a yak. I am out of the water 30 minutes digging out the hooks, dealing with fish, putting the net back, etc. Also a net "grabs" EVERYTHING on the yak.

    So just looking at options. I have to admit directly being attached to any fish over 30 pounds seems a little scary. A net gives and the fish can thrash in the bag without transferring any of the motion to me or the boat. That's not going to be true with a gaff.

    Looking for alternate solutions for different expected catch.

    My last vid, I started in Seward targeting rockfish and halibut so I had my medium net and harpoon. Should have had the larger net but still got it barely to fit. Good thing. I am proficient at grabbing kings to land them if I can get to the gill plates, that would have been very bad. The hooks was under the chin and my trailer was on the gill plate. Would have been no fun to hook my hands and then have the fish take off! Lol. Man overboard!!!!

  4. #4
    Member Cliffhanger's Avatar
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    Rudy-
    I used a hand gaff for salmon before I bought my new boat with high sides on it. Now I have to use a net all the time.

    I can confidently say that there is no legal problem hand-gaffing any fish if you are retaining it. A short gaff (the kind with the cross-ways orange handle) will work best, as the shortness of the gaff allows for better control once the gaff is in. You really want to hit it hard and fast, and lift quickly...

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    Member Frostbitten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cliffhanger View Post
    Rudy-
    I used a hand gaff for salmon before I bought my new boat with high sides on it. Now I have to use a net all the time.

    I can confidently say that there is no legal problem hand-gaffing any fish if you are retaining it. A short gaff (the kind with the cross-ways orange handle) will work best, as the shortness of the gaff allows for better control once the gaff is in. You really want to hit it hard and fast, and lift quickly...
    Careful about gaffing "any fish"!!! You cannot gaff ling cod, even if you intend to retain it.

  6. #6
    Member Cliffhanger's Avatar
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    Nope. Page 57 of the SC Regs reads: "Lingcod which are gaffed must be retained. A gaff may not be used to puncture any fish intended or required to be released."

    So, no gaffing ANY fish if you are going to release it (no brainer). And you may gaff a lingcod, but you have to keep it.

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    Member Frostbitten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cliffhanger View Post
    Nope. Page 57 of the SC Regs reads: "Lingcod which are gaffed must be retained. A gaff may not be used to puncture any fish intended or required to be released."

    So, no gaffing ANY fish if you are going to release it (no brainer). And you may gaff a lingcod, but you have to keep it.
    I stand corrected. Thanks for the info!

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    Member cod's Avatar
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    Kard.......I thought I saw a bit of hesitation when u landed the last king on video about putting your hand near its mouth after cutting your line. I suggest u get rid of that mesh net u have and get one of the rubber mesh nets available. I just bought one for releasing fish...its nicer for the fish's complextion. The 'rubber' mesh will not tangle on everything in your boat. I hate the line mesh nets in my achilles. As u have found, every time u put it down it tangles. The rubber mesh will not. By the way I also have a short orange handled gaff but have not used it yet.
    Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine!

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    Member Cliffhanger's Avatar
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    Show me The Love, Baybee! (and to my rep points please...)

    ;-{)

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    Member Cliffhanger's Avatar
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    I absolutely agree with the use of rubber mesh net ,but they can be a little hard to find for 25-35lb - sized salmon.

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    Member Frostbitten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cliffhanger View Post
    Show me The Love, Baybee! (and to my rep points please...)

    ;-{)
    Now, now, no begging!!!!!

  12. #12

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    If you are even thinking about releasing the feeders, you can't touch them. They shed waaaaaay too many scales. I don't think a fish could survive it. Am I wrong?

    The fish was still kicking when I got on shore and took this pic. As "naked" as any salmon I have ever caught.

    All an evolutionary process. But I am going to pick up a rubber net for my smaller fish like cohos though. I agree with all the stated advantages.

  13. #13
    Member polardds's Avatar
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    I have used the short handled green floaty gaff before from a kayak in tropical waters. It worked really good. Also if I dropped it, it floated and could be retrieved. Forget who makes them but they are the bright green and blue ones. It does not hurt to have a leash on your gaff as well from a kayak.

  14. #14

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    One thing on shorty gaffs and fish as light as salmon- you want them sharper than sharp so it doesn't take a big swing to set them, and with the shaft to the bend polished real smooth. I like a "triangular" point for sharpening. And if they're not smooth the fish doesn't go down to the bend as easily.

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    I rarely gaff halibut due to their tendency to flop around and get off/away. I lift the small ones in by the leader, net the medium sized ones, and use a shark hook on a rope for fish over 50#. I woud think a shark hook would work well from a kayak. I have never tried to use the shark hook on a salmon. It might work?

    Big_E

  16. #16

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    I've gaffed over a thousand kings, and an untold amount of cohos. No big deal. Aim for the head, give it a bonk, and toss it aboard. It's easier to lose a king netting it than bonking it.

    In my area, you get made fun of for netting a coho... (sport fishing) Nets only fly for kings.

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    Member fishNphysician's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kardinal_84 View Post
    If you are even thinking about releasing the feeders, you can't touch them. They shed waaaaaay too many scales. I don't think a fish could survive it. Am I wrong?

    That fish is deader than a doornail, RT... even if it were to swim away.

    The massive de-scaling and de-sliming would soon result in overwhelming infection. That level of immune compromise would be the equivalent of contracting full-blown AIDS.
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
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  18. #18

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    To "shake" a king, do it with a gaff. Grab the line, slide the hook down to the hook. Lift and twist, while moving your hand with the line down to the fish. Hard to describe. You don't touch the fish though.

    You can't net a salmon and release it. Scale loss would kill the fish.

  19. #19

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    I agree with 270 and the doc. I was amazed at the scale loss on the feeders. As I stated I have handled thousands of king off this beach commercially and nothing was ever like this. Even after 40 years of fishing ya learn something new.

  20. #20
    Member JR2's Avatar
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    I don't know about a gaff in a Kayak. The only time I have lost a King using a gaff was when I picked it up to haul it into the boat and it flipped its tail in the water. It lifted itself right off the gaff and splash it was gone. Since you would be more dragging it on board I would worry about a similar event.

    I think you should harpoon one and see how that goes..or a use a miniature flying gaff.
    2007 Kingfisher 2825 - Stor Fisk

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