Top Shot Tackle Australia
Unit 1 / 42 Bacon Street, Hindmarsh South Australia 5007
Phone: +61 (8) 8346 8088, Fax: +61 (8) 8346 8166
Proud Corporate
Members of the IGFA

Major Sponsors of
Annual Lizard Island
Black Marlin Classic
Types of Gaff & Their Features
More often than not the majority of gaffs that are
available on the market today are relatively cheap (in
terms of price) compared to other tackle equipment
such as rods and reels. Despite gaffs being one of the
most frequently used items on a boat it is the most
neglected and overlooked piece of equipment in a
fisho's repertoire. Despite this fact just about every
boat carries at least one or more somewhere.
The first thing you need to handle the fish of the
day or even the fish of a life time is the gaff; but it is
the last thing you think about when your getting ready
to go fishing

The origins of the gaff reach back as far as fishing
itself; man soon realised that fish do not come ready
made with handles on them and they are also quite
slippery! To overcome this problem man first bound a
"C" or "J" Type shaped meat hook to a pole as a
means to an end i.e. to be able to control a fish that
were too big or were too dangerous to handle. Unlike
other equipment such as rods, reels etc the gaff was
never a purposely designed item.

Lip Gaffs
This type of gaff is a relatively new member to the gaff
family. The lip gaff generally consists of an extra
strong, small gaped hook that is affixed permanently
to a personalized handle. This handle and shaft would
only be between 12 and 18 inches in length. It's
development has been largely due to the overhelming
world push towards catch and release. As its name
states it is generally utilized one handed to hook a
fish in the mouth when handling or restraining fish that
are too big to lift or have unfriendly sharp objects such
as teeth, spines and bladed gill rakes. The lip gaff is
easily stored and carried when travelling. It has
become a tool used extensively by guides and charter
operators when C&R'ing for clients.

Fixed Gaffs (also known as stick gaffs) -
Consist of a hooks made from various materials such
as everything from bent wire, hybrid stainless steel
and even titanium. These hooks are permanently
attached to a shaft. These shafts are made from a
variety of materials such as wood, Rangoon cane,
aluminium, fiberglass and in some cases stainless
steel tubing. The make up of these gaffs vary
dramatically according to price, quality and

Fixed gaffs are categorized by the length of their shaft
and the hook attached e.g. a 6 foot 4 inch would
denote a shaft length of six feet and a hook with a
gape of 4inches (with the gape being the distanced
measure between the point and the main saft.) The
accepted length size of fixed gaffs varies from 4 foot
in length and anything in between and upto 12 foot.
They also come with a wider range hook size range -
gape size can vary from anywhere between 2 and 8

The fixed gaff is the most commonly known and used
gaff worldwide. From freshwater land based to
commercial and heavy game fishing the fixed gaff will
always play an important role when landing or
restraining fish.

Calypso Star Charter
Eyre Peninsula, SA
* Dive with Great
* Long-Range Fishing
Hand Gaff
This type of gaff has been around a lot longer
than the lip gaff. With its length being over 18
inches and less than 4 foot and with a smaller
sized hook range this gaff is known as a hand
gaff. It is too short to be termed as fixed gaff
and too long to be a lipping gaff. It is
predominately used for in shore or estuary
fishing from a small boat.

Flying Gaffs
As the name indicates these gaffs are not
attached to poles permanently. They are
designed to fly/release from the pole when the
gaff is set in a fish. Fly gaffs are normally
referred to as gaff heads (rather than gaff hook).
The accepted fly gaff head size range is from 4 -
14 inches. The gape measurement is obtained
using the same method as fixed gaffs. These
heads are attached to one end of a rope through
the use of a D shackle while the other end is
secured to a bollard or to a game chair post.
Once the gaff head has been set in the fish (i.e
gaffed) the head is released from the pole.
Through the use of the rope the controlling and
restraining of the fish is achieved. For both the
crew and the fish itself this system is a safer
method of handling large fish.

Fly gaff heads come in three variations:
1) Standard Flyer ice pick point: the
conventional C or J shaped hook
2) Standard Re-inforced flyer ice pick point: a C
or J shaped hook with a reinforcing bar along
the outside curve of the hook
3) Standard Flyer with barb: conventional C or J
shaped hook with a sharpened barbed point
similar in shape to an arrow head.
4) Standard re-inforced flyer with barb: a
combined configuration of versions 2 and 3.
5) Heavy duty Hybrid with barb: These are the
latest version to hit the market. These heads
have been exteinsivley researched and field
tested. Thay have been developed using the
efficient attributes of previous versions combined
with the use of technical results, modern
materials and shaping. These heads are now
safer for the angler and fish, have increased
strength, are lighter and more efficient in their
holding capability causing less damage to the
fish. These hybrid versions are the ultimate
addition to today's gaffing systems.

Specialised Gaffs
These versions are known as rock, rope or drop
gaffs. They are mechanical in design and are
not truly gaffs as defined by the Collins
dictionary...."a large hook on a pole for landing
fish" Their only similarity to the gaff family are
the C or J shaped hooks used in their
construction. These versions look more like a
giant squid jag or large lure retrieving device.
Although we view this design to be the black
sheep of the gaff family we thought we better
mention them to complete the overall gaff family