It’s about the simplest piece of kit that any fishing vessel can have on board, but there’s more to a gaff than just a length of wood with a nail through it, as Erling Brim is happy to explain.
Based in a unit a street back from the port of Njarðvík in south-western Iceland, Erling Brim at Ísgoggar (goggur = gaff) makes gaffs that are his own variation on classic design. These have been successful enough to be exported to Norway and elsewhere, and to have also spawned a rash of cut-price copies.
‘I’ve been making these for seventeen years now, have seen customers go for the cheaper alternatives and then come back to us,’ he said. ‘The cheap imitations don’t last and the fishermen don’t like to use them. We supply our gaffs to fishing gear suppliers VT Fishing Supplies and Ísfell to sell, and these are the ones the fishermen prefer as they last longer.’
Erling Brim’s gaffs depart from the traditional design, with the spike securely attached, fitted into a groove cut into the shaft and bolted through the wood to make sure it stays there, with a blob of sealant to keep the water out. Plenty of thought has gone into getting the spike right, and after having been cut and carefully shaped, there’s an additional steel strengthening wedge welded into the crook to give it a longer working life.
The standard gaffs come in 45, 65, 75 and 85cm sizes, as well as extra-long-reach 120 and 150cm sizes.
As well as gaffs, Ísgoggar has other activities, from making broom handles to upholstery for a variety of customers at sea and ashore, and producing steel and lead sinkers for jig fishing, but the gaffs are where Ísgoggar has made its name.
Full report in the latest issue of Hook and Net