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Freedom81

How to gaff a fish?

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I've been ice fishing about 5 years now, and have never had to gaff a fish. I've read from people on here that they would never gaff a fish that they were going to release. So, if I needed to gaff a fish that I was planning to keep, how do you do it? Inside the mouth, on the outside of the fish, or does it matter?

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I typically use the gaff to hook the gill from the outside of the fish. In a pinch I have used the handle of my ice dipper to lift them out too. If you're careful you wont necessarily hurt the fish (also depending how aggressive they want to be)

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When I need a gaff (not often), I gaff the fish under the lower jaw and ease it out of the hole. No problem releasing them after that. Works well for lakers and big pike.

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Yup get a hook in the lower jaw and the fish will be fine.

The couple times I've needed a gaff is on pike that are wrapped up in the line and I can't get the head started up the hole. The fish all released just fine.

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If you are planning on keeping the fish it really doesn't matter if you hurt it or not right? Fasten a huge treble hook onto the end of a wood pole and rip it at the first chance.

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Some of the lakes I fish for pike have slot limits. It's hard to know sometimes whether you're going to keep a fish or not until it's up on the ice so you can better see and measure it. That's why I'm in the habit of trying to keep a gaffed fish alive, in the unusual situation where a gaff is required.

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