Once upon a time, in what now seems to be the dim and distant past, virtually all sea fish were expertly landed by the boat Skipper wielding a wickedly sharp gaff.

Nowaday’s almost the only time that you will see a gaff used regularly is aboard a conger or shark boat and even then, most small/medium sized fish will have the hook removed whilst they are still in the water returned little the worse for their experience.

But every now and again the cry goes up "get the gaff" then you know that someone has a serious fish coming to the side of the boat, this is a fish that is not going back. This is a fish that is going to be weighed, photographed with its captor and talked about for years to come.

Keeping a gaff in good condition, safely stowed, yet ready for instant use seems almost an impossibility aboard some boats. Yet the occasional squirt of WD40 and the use of a length of plastic tubing to protect against a nasty accident is all it takes.

If a length of tubing is simply pushed onto the point it is inevitable that the first time the gaff is used the length of tubing will be lost. But if the tubing is notched and a short length pushed onto the metal of the gaff, the other length of tubing can be pushed onto the point, yet can be removed and easily swivelled out of the way when the gaff is used in anger. Yet when the gaff has been used the plastic tubing can be swivelled back and pushed onto the point again.

Any questions: russ@reelfoto.demon.co.uk