5. Take a Flyer
When targeting makos, 250-plus-pound tuna and swordfish, a flying gaff (the head separates from the pole and is attached to a 15-foot line cleated to the boat) is a must for crew safety. Target the upper back area just aft of the dorsal fin so the hook will sink into something solid. When the fish calms down, straight gaffs are then used to control the subject to attach tail ropes.
6. Plane ’Em Up
Head into the sea at idle speed to “plane up” your leadered fish. This allows the gaffer to take aim at a more stable target for that “perfect head shot.”
7. Dedicated Functions
Never try to leader the fish with one hand and gaff it with the other. To maximize chances for success, have one dedicated crew member leader the fish while another lines up the gaff shot.
8. Cover Those Hooks
Gaff heads are sharp and dangerous, both to the fish and the crew. Be sure to cover up all exposed hook points with a safety spring, cork, tennis ball or PVC tubing until you’re ready to put them into action landing fish.