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Home » Blog » How to Choose Saltwater Fishing Pole Gaffs

How to Choose Saltwater Fishing Pole Gaffs

Choosing a saltwater fishing pole gaff involves considering several factors to ensure that you select the right tool for your needs. A gaff is a fishing accessory used to secure and land large fish. Here are some key factors to consider when choosing a saltwater fishing pole gaff:

1. Material:

Saltwater fishing pole gaffs are typically made from materials that are resistant to corrosion and can withstand the harsh conditions of saltwater environments. Common materials used for saltwater fishing gaffs include:

Stainless Steel:

Stainless steel is a popular choice for saltwater gaffs due to its corrosion resistance. It is durable and can withstand exposure to saltwater without rusting or corroding.


Aluminum is another material commonly used for saltwater gaffs. It is lightweight, corrosion-resistant, and durable. Aluminum gaffs are often chosen for their balance between strength and weight.


Some gaffs feature shafts made of fiberglass. Fiberglass is known for its strength and flexibility, making it a suitable material for gaffs used in various fishing situations.

Carbon Fiber:

High-end gaffs may use carbon fiber for its strength and lightweight properties. Carbon fiber gaffs can be more expensive but offer excellent performance and durability.

2. Size:

Gaffs come in various sizes, and the right size depends on the type of fish you are targeting. Consider the size and strength of the fish you expect to catch. Smaller gaffs are suitable for smaller fish, while larger gaffs are necessary for bigger game.

Hook Size:

Gaff hooks can range in size from a few inches to over a foot. The size of the hook should match the size of the fish you are targeting. Smaller hooks are suitable for smaller fish, while larger hooks are necessary for bigger game.

Handle Length:

The length of the handle is an important factor in determining the overall size of the gaff. Gaff handles can vary from a few feet to several feet in length. The choice of handle length depends on the type of fishing you’re doing and whether you’re fishing from a boat or from the shore.

Small Gaffs:

Gaffs with smaller hooks and shorter handles are suitable for smaller fish or situations where a compact and maneuverable gaff is required. These are often used for inshore or light offshore fishing.

Medium Gaffs:

Medium-sized gaffs strike a balance between handling smaller and larger fish. They are versatile and can be used in a variety of saltwater fishing scenarios.

Large Gaffs:

Gaffs with larger hooks and longer handles are designed for larger and more powerful fish. These are commonly used in offshore or deep-sea fishing where you may encounter big game fish.

Telescoping Gaffs:

Some gaffs have telescoping handles, allowing you to adjust the length as needed. Telescoping gaffs are convenient for storage and can be extended when you need the extra reach.

3. Hook Design:

Gaffs have different hook designs, including single hooks, treble hooks, and flying gaff hooks. Single hooks are common and effective for many applications. Treble hooks provide additional holding power, and flying gaffs have detachable hooks that can be thrown at the fish.

Single Hook:

The single hook design is straightforward, featuring a single pointed hook. This design is commonly used for general-purpose gaffing and is suitable for a wide range of fish sizes. It provides a secure hold on the fish without excessive damage.

Treble Hook:

Some gaffs come equipped with treble hooks, which have three points. Treble hooks provide additional holding power and are often used when dealing with larger, more powerful fish. They can be effective in preventing a fish from slipping off the gaff.

Flying Gaff Hook:

A flying gaff is a type of gaff where the hook is detachable from the handle and is connected to a rope. The hook is thrown at the fish, and once it hooks onto the fish, the angler can retrieve it by pulling on the rope. Flying gaffs are commonly used in offshore and big-game fishing.

Swivel Head Gaff:

Some gaffs feature a swivel head design, allowing the hook to rotate. This design can be advantageous when trying to secure a fish in a specific way, especially if the fish is fighting.

Barbless Hook:

Some gaffs have barbless hooks, which can make it easier to release the fish after gaffing. This can be useful in catch-and-release scenarios or when regulations require the release of certain fish.

4. Handle Length:

The length of the gaff handle is crucial. A longer handle provides more reach, which can be helpful when landing larger fish from a boat. However, a shorter handle may be more manageable when fishing from a smaller vessel or in tight spaces.

Short Handles (2-4 feet):

Gaffs with shorter handles are suitable for inshore fishing, where you may be dealing with smaller fish and need a more maneuverable gaff. Short handles are also practical when fishing from smaller boats or in tight spaces.

Medium Handles (4-6 feet):

Gaffs with medium-length handles provide a balance between maneuverability and reach. They are versatile and can be used in a variety of fishing scenarios, making them a popular choice for general saltwater fishing.

Long Handles (6 feet and longer):

Gaffs with longer handles are often used in offshore or deep-sea fishing, where you may encounter larger and more powerful fish. The longer handle allows you to reach out and gaff fish from a distance, which is particularly important when fishing from larger boats.

Telescoping Handles:

Some gaffs come with telescoping handles that can be extended or retracted as needed. Telescoping handles provide flexibility, allowing you to adjust the length based on the fishing conditions. They are also convenient for storage.

5. Telescoping Feature:

Some gaffs have telescoping handles, allowing for easy storage and adjustment of the length. This can be advantageous when you need to reach out for a fish but want a more compact gaff when not in use.

6. Grip:

Look for a gaff with a comfortable and non-slip grip, especially if you anticipate dealing with powerful or slippery fish. Rubberized or foam grips can provide better control.

7. Floatation:

Some gaffs are designed with floatation devices attached to the handle. This can be helpful if the gaff accidentally goes overboard, as it will make it easier to retrieve.

8. Legal Considerations:

Check the fishing regulations in your area, as some locations may have restrictions on the use of gaffs. Make sure your chosen gaff complies with local regulations.

9. Brand and Quality:

Stick to reputable brands and read reviews to ensure that the gaff is durable and reliable. A well-built gaff can last longer and withstand the harsh conditions of saltwater fishing.

10. Budget:

Gaffs come in a range of prices. While it’s essential to stay within your budget, try to balance cost with quality to ensure you get a gaff that will perform well and last.

Before making a final decision, it’s a good idea to visit a local fishing tackle store, talk to experienced anglers, and get hands-on experience with different gaffs to find one that feels comfortable and meets your specific needs.



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