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I recently heard that you couldn't use a gaff to land ling cod.

What do they expect you to do with a 30lb ling? Try to fit it your net?

Just curious. I've had limited experience with lings. That trip I forgot my net and gaff, so I landed by hand. They didn't have any size to them, but doing that with a big one, no thanks....
 

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Why not net them? A 30lb Ling is no different than a 30lb Halibut or a 30lb Chinook. They'll all fit in a net.
 
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I keep a gaff in the boat but i have a big a huge and medium size net. I prefer the net over gaff, #1 it doesn't ruin any meat. even on my tuna trip, there were 2 guys with us who weren't gaff savy, the fish took better pictures out of the net.
 

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From the 2007/2008 pamphlet
You May Not
Use a gaff hook, except to land legally-hooked HALIBUT, TUNA, or DOGFISH shark that will be retained.
 

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the gaff seems like the least effective method of getting a mad fish in the boat not to mention the least safe. Gaffs are better for big flat fish ie halibut. a 30lb ling presents a big target but you have to release anything of over roughly 20 anyways. the net will outdo the gaff everytime.
 

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You can pick a ling up by the gill plate if you're very careful not to touch the gills themselves. Some lings will go catatonic when picked up this way, some will squirm a bit. But if you control the head, you control the ling.....once out of the water gravity straightens them out and you can then grab the tail with your free hand. (Obviosly if the ling is way oversize (30lb would be), you just unpin them in the water)

The problem with netting them is they like to twist and roll like a snake once in the net. That does damage to the fish's skin and protective slime layer as well.

I handled more lings than i can count this summer deckhanding in Sitka. Up there they need to be between 30 and 35" and only one a year for NonRez's. Needless to say, you end up handling a lot of fish to get the legal ones. So it can be done, you just have to do it carefully and take your time.
 

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98% of my lings are hooked on jigs, we can't gaff them in Alaska now either so I usually just lift them up buy the jig, I've never netted 1.
 
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