Netting and Gaffing Fish
If you can keep this up long enough you are sure to tire out the fish sooner or later. As a rule, the larger the fish the longer it will take to tire him—this applying to fish of the same species, for some species fight harder and longer than others.
When the fish grows quiet and shows his side, he is tired and you can reel him in but must be careful in landing him. If you have no net or gaff, and the fish is not too large, you can get hold of the line with your hand, but make no quick moves, and slipping the hand down to within six inches of the fish, lift him into the boat or onto the bank by a steady, quick lift, swinging him sideways as you lift him. If you are using an artificial bait you should have the line doubled back at the end about six or eight inches, so that it will be stronger. If the fish is very large and you have neither net nor gaff you are likely to lose him, and you should never fish with light tackle unless you have a landing net or a gaff hook with you; both if you are fishing from a boat where large fish are caught sometimes. In using a landing net you should submerge the net and lead the fish over it, then raise the net . In gaffing a fish, if not very large, put the hook in his mouth. It is best to shoot a large pike or a muskellunge before you attempt to gaff him, using a revolver or .22 caliber rifle. Otherwise set the gaff into the underside of the body well back towards the tail.
Brooks, Lake. The Science of Fishing. Columbus, OH: A.R. Harding, 1912. Print.
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