In fishing, a gaff is a pole with a sharp hook on the end that is used to stab a large fish and then lift the fish into the boat or onto shore. Ideally, the hook is placed under the backbone. Gaffs are used when the weight of the fish exceeds the breaking point of the fishing line or the fishing pole. A gaff cannot be used if it is intended to release the fish unharmed after capture, unless the fish is skilfully gaffed in the lip, jaw, or lower gill using a thin gaff hook.
A "flying gaff" is a specialized type of gaff used for securing and controlling very large fish. The hook part of the gaff (the head) detaches when sufficient force is used, somewhat like a harpoon's dart. The head is secured to the boat with a length of heavy rope or cable.