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High Plains Drifter

My new mouth gaff for surf fishing

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I've struggled with a practical mouth gaff for surf fishing. We catch a lot of 50# plus roosterfish in the big surf in Mexico. You can't drag these big fish up the steep beach by their tail because the gill hooks into the sand like an anchor. This not only prevents dragging the fish, it also fills their gill with sand which increases mortality. We also catch big cubera and there is no handle on a cubera (they are like greased pigs).

You should understand that on the tropical Pacific big waves break right on the sand edge and run way up the steep beaches. The fish is usually thrashing on very temporarily dry sand. It's imperative that you run down when a wave recedes, make a very quick accurate stick in the thin groove next to the tongue on a thrashing fish, and dash back up the beach (frequently 15-20 yards) before the next big wave arrives. You can't do that with a boga type grip (believe me I have tried). Also fine wave suspended sand washes into the sliding collar of a boga type grip and jams the spring loaded feature. Then, it becomes an awkward two handed proceedure.

I've tried several gaffs with varying success. They helped me determine the parameters of a good surf fishing mouth gaff. First, it's gotta be short enough to clip on your belt.

 

525

 

It's also gotta become long enough (24 inches) to get a good angle on things and keep your hand a safe distance from a moving thrashing target full of sharp hooks.

 

525

 

It's gotta have a hook no bigger than 2.5 inches. It can't have a large tube handle near the hook that obscures vision of what you're doing. It also can't have a large diameter tube handle that catches on the mouth while sliding the hook sideways into a mostly closed mouth and prying it open.

 

This is what I've got now. It's a telescopic gaff from BassPro. This item is very poorly described by them. It also needs to be modified. First, the sliding shaft locking system consists of jamming a metal pin into one of two grooves. This is totally ineffective.

 

525

 

I widened the grooves a bit and drilled/tapped a set screw in. I welded a large wing nut onto the set screw. This works VERY WELL and is rock solid with no twisting or sliding in both the retracted and telescoped positions.

 

525

 

The outer tube is two inches longer than it needs to be. The inner stainless steel rod will still retract fully when 2 inches are cut off the outer tube. The stock cheezy hook guard is dangerous! I replaced it with a very heavy duty reinforced 1/4 inch ID vinyl hose. There is no way the hook is going to penetrate this and it won't accidentally slip off. A couple of zip ties and a carabiner makes it easy to carry on your belt.

 

Maybe this isn't the ticket for striper fishing but perhaps someone can make use of this. I know I will!! It's going to be a great aid for getting a big thrashing roosterfish quickly up the beach for a quick hook out and rapid live release (and those slippery cubera too)! - HPD

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What is the set screw tapped into? The wall of the tube is very thin. Is the plastic bushing that the gaff rod slides in strong enough to maintain the threads?

Nice idea. Like Steve said; one for each beach runner. biggrin.gif

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View PostWhat is the set screw tapped into? The wall of the tube is very thin. Is the plastic bushing that the gaff rod slides in strong enough to maintain the threads?

Nice idea. Like Steve said; one for each beach runner. biggrin.gif

 

 

You are correct. The aluminum tube is very thin. But the plastic insert is tough and thick. It fills the entire space between the tube and the stainless steel rod. I tapped threads through the aluminum tube and the plastic insert. I can't strip out the threads no matter how hard I twist the wing nut.

 

I didn't make this obvious in the inital post but the small steel cross pin engages in the slots on the plastic insert. This prevents twist and it doesn't take much set screw force to prevent sliding up and down of the two sections.- HPD

 

View Post1 for each sandsled right? wink.gif

 

 

Steve - As you know...You are never sure what's going to appear in the wash after a battle. The gaff has to be at hand at all times (not on the ATV). We tend to fish in pairs and I think one out of every pair of fishermen aught to carry one on their belt. It doesn't do any good if it's not right there when you need it!

 

OR........You could do the pro-wrestler thing and body slam 'em in the wash...rolling and biting trying to get a head lock on 'em....spinnin' firemans carry 'em up the slope and pile drive 'em on the sand cwm31.gif !! - Gnacho Libre

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the first one worked well for a while.these look more durable and you should learn more from the second generation.the gaff was a big help and put less stress on landing big fish.you need to hook the fish and get out of the wash before you get swallowed up yourself.good job todd.

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View PostHPD- If this were Jeopardy, would I buzz in and respond,"What do hardcore fishermen do in the winter?" Thanks for yet another good tip.

 

Yeah.

What do we do in winter?

As I drifted off to sleep early this morning, HPD's gaff design floated into my last moments of consciousness.

I once operated a push button knife.

The blade did not pivot.

It deployed by pushing a button.

Push the button, the blade was pushed straight out of the hollow handle enclosure.

Push the button a 2nd time, and the blade retracted back inside the handle.

Blade deployment and retraction was powered by a spring.

A mechanism like this on HPD's gaff would make for one handed extension/deployment.

And one handed retraction after the fish was removed.

A dream design or a nightmarish contraption?

cwm40.gif or headscratch.gif ?

I'll let you decide.

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