It is only the smaller game fish that are landed with a net. Large fish such as pike, muskellunge, salmon, large trout and all kinds of sea fish are drawn out of the water with a hook, known as a gaff, after they have been played to exhaustion. They are sharp steel hooks, two inches or more wide, depending on the size of fish they are to be used for, and have handles from one and one-half to eight feet long. Some of these hooks are made to lash onto a handle that is cut on the fishing grounds; others have the handle in short sections and screw together. For horse mackerel and other very large sea fish a combination of gaff and harpoon is used. The hook is barbed, and when hooked into the fish it detaches from the handle, the hook being fastened to a rope with wire leader, which is used to tow and land the fish with.
There are also what are known as automatic gaffs, fitted with barbed jaws which close on the fish when pressed against it. The Norlund is of this kind.
Brooks, Lake. The Science of Fishing. Columbus, OH: A.R. Harding, 1912. Print.
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