3 Best Gaff Hooks for Deep-Sea Fishing

Hey there my fellow fishing enthusiasts and welcome to my post where we will check out my three best gaff hooks for deep-sea fishing this year.  We have all been there, managed to catch ourselves an absolute monster only to have it snap the line as we try and get it into the boat.  If only I had hooked it as soon as it was up before it could give that last shake.

Hence for any serious deep sea angler, a fishing gaff hook is an essential piece of equipment when out on the boat. So for those of you looking to get yourselves a gaff hook for deep sea fishing, I have had a good look around and come up with three decent options below. 

Let’s check them out…

My three recommended gaff hooks for deep-sea fishing

I will review these in more detail below, but if you just want to get moving without all the carry-on, my recommended products are listed here for your convenience: 

09/21/2022 05:07 am GMT

What are gaff hooks?

A gaff is a handheld pole with a sharp hook or sideways spike on the end that is used to swing and stab into the body of a large fish to help pull it out of the water.  The reason for this is that once a large fish is brought to the surface, it will usually give one last buck which is often enough to snap the line.

There is also the option of a good net, however if the weight of the fish exceeds the strength of the rod and reel, then a gaff can get it under control a lot faster than trying to guide it around whilst it is giving that last fight. This technique is also employed when commercial fishers harvest their fish products.

Best Gaff Hooks for Deep Sea Fishing - gaff hook

What should you be looking for?

The following factors should be considered as you look for a good gaff hook for your deep sea fishing needs.

  1. Type
  2. Length
  3. Handle material
  4. Hook size
  5. Additions

Type

The gaffs used by experienced anglers may be fixed or flying, depending on their preferences. Here’s how you can identify the difference between the two:

  1. Fixed: As the name implies, this fishing gaff’s head (hook) is permanently attached to a fixed length or telescopic pole. Fixed gaffs are the most common type and are almost certainly what you are looking for.
  2. Flying: A flying gaff has a head designed to detach from the pole once it is embedded in the fish. A strong rope up to 30 feet long is attached, which is the maximum allowed by the International Game Fishing Association rules. These gaffs are designed to catch giant game fish, such as marlin.

Length

The length of a gaff is usually determined by the size and gunnel height of the vessel where the angler will use it. Because of their close proximity to the water, anglers fishing from small boats and kayaks can usually get away with gaffs measuring 2′ to 4′ in length. Longer gaffs are more challenging to store and handle on smaller skiffs and kayaks, and most fish are gaffed close to hand.

Gaffs from 4′ to 6′ in length would be appropriate for medium-sized skiffs and boats ranging from 18′ to 30′. In most cases, a 6′ gaff is ideal for gaffing smaller Tuna, Mahi-mahi, Halibut, Bass, Snapper and other species.

Gaffs measuring 6′ to 8′ in length should work well for fishing boats measuring 30′ to 50′ and above. Fish can be easily gaffed from the lower stern and up in the bow where the gunnel is higher off the water. 

Handle material

Modern gaff handles are made from one of three different materials, each of which is rust-resistant as follows.

  1. Aluminum: This material is lightweight, strong and reasonably priced. Because it can bend under heavy load and is difficult to straighten, I recommend that you look for a decent wall thickness. 
  2. Fiberglass: This material is extremely strong, lightweight and relatively rigid. It can however shatter under heavy impact and tends to cost a little more.
  3. Carbon fiber: Carbon fiber is up to three times as strong as aluminum and twice as strong as fiberglass at a quarter of the weight of the same size. The only disadvantage is that it is very pricey.
Best Gaff Hooks for Deep Sea Fishing - gaffed mahi

Hook size

Usually, the size of the gaff (hook) is primarily determined by the fish you seek to seize. 

In general, fish under 50 pounds require only a gaff hook with a gap of 2″ to 3″.  However for some species such as Mahi-Mahi (Dolphin fish), King Mackerel, Barracuda and other slim-bodied species, a 2″ hook is almost always the best choice. Fish weighing more than 50 pounds should almost always be gaffed with a hook size of 3″ or 4″ and larger species would require hook size above 4”.

Additions

Other potential additions include:

  1. Tip cover: This item keeps you safe from wounds if the gaff is not in use.
  2. Adjustable length: In some cases, you would need to adjust the length of the equipment to better serve its purpose.
  3. Warranty: Products with a warranty are guaranteed to have undergone strict quality control, which is advantageous to any buyer.

FAQ

What is a gaff hook used for?

A gaff hook is a long pole with a large hook on the end that is used to hold the fish once it reaches the surface so that it cannot break the line as it thrashes around. They are also used to ring the fish into the boat so as to not place too much pressure on your rod, reel and line.

Can you release a gaffed fish?

You can, however care is needed to ensure that you don’t damage the fish in the process of bringing it into the boat. If you wish to release the fish, then take care to ‘hook’ the gaff up under the gills. This will usually allow you to lift the fish without causing it any damage.

My three recommendations broken down

So based on the information above and my own experience, I recommend the following options:

1. SANLIKE Telescopic Fish Gaff with Stainless Sea Fishing Spear Hook

This first option offers an affordable deep-sea fishing gaff without compromising functionality.  Made from durable materials, it is long lasting and storing it is no problem at all thanks to its telescopic design. See its specifications below:

  • Brand: SANLIKE
  • Type: Fixed
  • Length: Folded – 17.32 inches; Expanded – 55.11 inches
  • Handle material: High-density rubber
  • Hook size: 4.9 inches
  • Weight: 0.55 pounds

Other inclusions:

  • Telescopic pole
  • Easy-storage
  • Tip cover

Why have I chosen it?

This gaff does the job of hooking big fish with a telescopic design that gives you various lengths allowing it to adapt based on the condition. A firm grip is also provided since the handles are made from anti-slip and durable rubber.  This is a great option for those using over a number of different vessels and locations.


2. Shurhold 1804 Stainless Steel Fishing Gaff Hook

This next product is a solo hook that is durable and perfectly sized for fish of all sizes. This item is an excellent add-on to the brand’s bestselling handle.  See its specifications below:

  • Brand: Shurhold
  • Type: Fixed
  • Length: *This is an add-on hook for Shurhold handles
  • Handle material: Durable stainless steel
  • Hook size: 4 inches
  • Weight: 9.6 pounds

Other inclusions:

  • Spring guard for tip cover

Why have I chosen this?

The product’s material ensures it can handle the harsh environment of deep-sea fishing while retaining durability. It has a straightforward construction and a spring cover that effectively secures the sharp tip when the gaff hook is not in use.  Use this with the Shurhold handle for all of your deep sea fishing needs.

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3. Promar GFE-543 Elite Series Carbon Fiber Gaff

My last recommended gaff hook for deep-sea angling a top-of-the-line carbon fiber option that is easy to use.  It comes with a design that delivers optimal performance with highly durable construction material that will last for many years. See its specifications below:

  • Brand: Promar
  • Type: Fixed
  • Length: 4 feet
  • Handle material: High-density rubber
  • Hook size: 3 inches
  • Weight: 2.4 pounds

Other inclusions it has:

  • Tapered carbon fiber
  • Lightweight yet heavy-duty

Why have I chosen this?

This lightweight and durable gaff is made of solid carbon fiber and is equipped with a tapered design that allows for good maneuverability through the water. In times of high-speed action with a fish on the line, the butt cap included in this design protects your boat from unintended scratches and damage to your cockpit.  This is the option for those who fish out on the ocean a lot!


Conclusion

There you have it, my three best gaff hooks for deep sea fishing. I would be pleased to know how this article helped you, and as usual, let me know of your experiences with them.

Also, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, corrections, or would like me to check anything else out for you.

Until next time.

Have fun

Paul

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Hi, I'm Paul

I am a passionate fishing, camping and four wheeled driving hobbyist who researches, tests and educates around issues and equipment relevant to them.

I am by no means a professional however my passion is to assist you in making informed decisions about buying and using awesome gear that will give you the best chance of success at whatever you are doing for the best price.

Please get in touch if you have any questions.

Paul