Importance of the gaff

  • Image by Joe Belanger

Three friends and I were fishing on a friend's boat on a perfect day for tuna at the Hidden Bank. Nice seas, little wind, and saw some boils. We slid up on the fish and threw live bait. As the baits hit the water we were one — one, two, three, four. All of us hanging on a nice fish.

As the first call of "got deep color — get the gaff," we all look around as the first fish is coming to the surface. We can’t see the gaff. While fighting my fish I look of the transom and there it is — floating about 30 feet off the back of the boat. That is the only gaff on the boat, but all four of us are on fish. I had no other choice. I stuck my rod in a rod holder with my fish still on, took my t-shirt off, took my sunglasses off and jumped in the water. I swam to the gaff, swam back, handed it to my buddy whose fish was now on the surface. He did a solo one-handed gaff and I jumped back in. Somehow my fish was still hooked. I kept fighting it as the gaff was passed around and we boated all for tuna. Four for four — plus a swim.

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