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Picture of How to build an Extreme Fishing Gaff
So you finally went and did it… you broke your fishing rod. Your buddies told you to relax and take it slow but no, you couldn’t let the big one get away and you snapped the rod in two. Now the fish is gone and you have two pieces of a fishing rod. You can stick a metal rod or other type of dowel in it, but you would lose its natural flexibility rendering it unfishable. Or maybe you had a lot of good memories with that old rod your father gave you, but is no longer fishable. Well, I have the solution for you. It will let you keep that fishing rod around for many more years of EXTREME fishing service…build a fishing gaff!

As an avid angler, I like to target larger game. And hooking up a big fish is only a fish story if you can’t land it. This instructable will guide you in your endeavor to building an extreme tool that is both extremely reliable and great looking. On top of making this an extreme tool, all of my projects are done with saving money in mind. A comparable Aftco Gaff with foam grips and not customized can run in excess of $80 plus shipping. This gaff build cost a total of $20 granted you have a broken or trashed fishing rod and some basic tools.

Tool Used:
1. Dremel (or hacksaw)
2. Dremel 420 Cutting Wheel
3. Dremel Polishing Wheel (elbow grease)
4. Hobby Knife
5. Flat Head Screwdriver
6. 100 Grit Sandpaper
7. Vice
8. Drill (with 1/4" drill bit)
9. Ruler or tape measure
10. Dremel Grinding Wheel (grinding stone)
11. Permanent Marker
12. Needle (or something else that is small enough to scratch away paint)

Materials List:
1. Rod Blank (salvaged)
2. Tarred Cord ($11 for 1lb of size 18)
3. 3 inch Gaff Hook (salvaged but can be purchased for ~$8)
4. Black Spray Paint (left over from bike project)
5. 2 part epoxy (dollar store happens to have some decent stuff)
6. Super Glue (8 for $1)
7. FlexCoat Rod Finish ($6/leftover from another project)
8. Masking Tape (dollar store)

Step 1: Strip the Rod Down to a Blank

After inspecting the rod blank and its components, I decided I was going to keep the reel seat, both lock nuts, and the butt cap. The nuts were going to be used as decorative accents, the reel seat would give us a break in the monotony of the grip as well as providing a Daiwa emblem, and the butt cap would keep the blank from loosing integrity from being banged around (not to mention mine had a cool D on the bottom… score!).

With a sharp blade, begin to strip the guides off of the blank. Do so by sticking the blade parallel to the blank underneath the guide feet and cutting down enough to expose [the guide feet]. Once you do so, the guide will become loose and you can simply pull it off. Repeat the process for the rest of the guides.

I kept the under wrap since it had a coat of varnish on it and would provide some decoration. NOTE: If you have a rod that has been exposed to the elements and has a weathered look, the section of the blank that is covered with the under wrap will be a different color, so it is best to keep the under wrap.

To remove the tip top, try a firm twist and pull. If that doesn’t work, you can heat the tip with a torch or lighter to melt the glue used on the tip top and pull it off with a pair of pliers. Some companies will use a heavy epoxy, if this is the case cut off the tip with a Dremel.

To remove the broken part of the reel seat I used a flat head screwdriver and simply pried it off. It was in bad enough shape that a harsh wind would have probably blown it off. Normally I would use the Dremel to score it deep enough to cut through without damaging the other components and pry it off with a flat head screwdriver. Score the other part of the reel seat and remove.

In the middle of a hot barracuda bite, I find there is not enough time to wash off the slime from your hands in between fish, so we are going to be removing the EVA Foam grip, which I find becomes too slippery with ‘cuda slime. Some companies use glue that will soften with heat, and if you want to salvage the foam you can boil a big pot of water and dip the foam in it once it boils. I simply cut the foam grip with a sharp blade and pulled it all off. Once the foam was off the rod, I used 100 grit sandpaper and sanded off the bits of foam and glue that were still stuck to ensure the grips would lay even.

Using the Dremel with a polishing wheel I polished the irrelevant information off of the blank but stopped short and kept the brand and series names. I use a lot of their fishing gear so I thought it to be a good idea to sport my one of a kind Daiwa Sealine fishing gaff. I then removed the tarred cord that was on the blank (boat rail guard) as it was worn and wouldn’t match the new tarred cord I was going to use for the grip. A blade under the first wrap was enough to make quick work of the existing cord. I then cleaned the reel seat with the Dremel and a polishing wheel.
Josupbee9 months ago
What do you call that knot?? How to do it??


Thank you.


Now I'm looking for a busted tuna rod.

Do more.

Great work.

Fish on!

LiftAndLove6 years ago
Me and my friend are making gaffs in shop right now. Got some metal rod, cut it, sharpened it to a point, and used a torch to heat it up and bend it. Gunna make the handles next week.
wire-nut7 years ago
Cool bean man.