How to Make a Gaff Hook

Written by joy prescott
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How to Make a Gaff Hook
Gaff hooks are used in sport fishing. (Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Gaff hooks come in many shapes and sizes depending upon the variety of fish to be gaffed. Many fishermen make their own gaffs to save money, to create a custom hook not attainable commercially or based on personal preferences. There are a wide variety of materials available such as hooks in various sizes and shafts in various lengths for building your own gaff hook.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Steel gaff head in an appropriate size
  • Shaft material such as wood or aluminium
  • Wrapping material such as rigger cord or masonry string
  • Duct tape (optional)

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  1. 1

    Choose the proper materials for your gaff. The size of gaff head required depends on the size of fish being gaffed. A large stainless steel gaff head is appropriate for large ocean fish such as king salmon. Use a large fish hook for smaller fish. The material for the shaft should be strong yet light enough to manoeuvre easily.

  2. 2

    Choose the proper shaft length. The length of the shaft required depends upon how far you need to reach to gaff the fish. Gaffing a fish in the water from a boat necessitates a shaft long enough to reach the height of the boat's gunnel. Gaffing a fish landed with a net usually necessitates a shaft only about 4 feet long.

  3. 3

    Attach the gaff head to the shaft. The method of attachment depends upon the shaft material and the size of fish being gaffed. Attach a large steel gaff head to the shaft by wrapping with cord. Some gaff heads can be attached with screws before wrapping. Use a modified gallows knot to wrap. Make a loop in the end of the cord and lay along the shaft of the gaff hook with the top of the loop protruding past the top of the gaff and the tail just past the base of the hook. Wrap the long end of the cord tightly around the loop starting just above the tail of the loop and stopping at the end of the gaff. Cut the cord and insert the end through the top of the loop. Pull on the tail of the loop until the top of the loop and the cut end of the cord are pulled into the wrap. Use pliers to crimp a shaft made from copper pipe around the eye of a large fish hook.

  4. 4

    Finish the shaft as desired to create a good gripping surface. Metal pipe shafts can be slippery especially when wet and benefit from a wrapping of duct tape. Wrap multiple layers near the end of the handle and then just over a hand width further down the shaft with a light wrapping between. Round the ends of wooden shafts with a sander and score the handles if necessary. Score handles with a criss-cross pattern using a router or score parallel concentric rings with a router or lathe.

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