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2017 AOTY/DOTY Entry

Topic: Gaffing/Retrieving Fish Caught from a Pier  (Read 68 times)

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Hojoman

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November 2, 2017

Question: I purchased a telescoping pier net to land large fish (striped bass, salmon, etc.) from municipal piers in the Bay Area. It is still not long enough to reach the surface of the water, especially at low tide. Would a pier gaff be an acceptable/legal method to land these fish? (Mitch R., San Jose)

Answer: A pier gaff would be legal as long as you are certain the fish you plan to gaff is a legal fish and one that you intend to keep. Keep in mind that it is unlawful to use a gaff hook to assist in landing or to land a fish less than legal size (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 28.65).

A safer and probably easier alternative is to lower a hoop net down via a long attached rope, get it under the large fish to secure it, and then hoist it up safely to the surface. Then, once you have the fish in hand, you can keep it if it’s legal and desirable, or if you choose not to keep it, simply remove the hook and send it back down via the hoop net “elevator” to the water below. Then you can allow it to swim out and watch as it swims back to where it came from.