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Bamboo for a gaff shaft

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Old 02-11-2007, 09:36 AM
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Default Bamboo for a gaff shaft

Im the kind of guy who likes to build evrything myself. I know gaffs arent expensive to buy but Id like to know if anyone has owned a bamboo shfted gaff and how did it hold up. I would set the hook in the shaft with a thickened epoxy mix and then wrap it with rod wrapping. Im more concerned with the strentgh of the shaft itself.
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Old 02-11-2007, 09:46 AM
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Default Re: Bamboo for a gaff shaft

I've been on party boats that have used bamboo gaffs that looked to be about 8-9' long. They looked like they they saw lots of fish too!
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Old 02-11-2007, 09:55 AM
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Default RE: Bamboo for a gaff shaft

Coat it in fiberglass to make it waterproof. It might weigh 30 lbs when you are done with it, but it'd last forever.
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Old 02-11-2007, 09:59 AM
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Default Re: Bamboo for a gaff shaft

NJFISH - 2/11/2007 9:46 AM

I've been on party boats that have used bamboo gaffs that looked to be about 8-9' long. They looked like they they saw lots of fish too!
When i was a kid i used to go out on party boats from Atlantic Highlands to fish for blues. My recollection is that they all used long bamboo shaft gaffs. Should be okay to use on fish <20# or so, but might be a little dicey on bigger ones. A shorter shaft would probably be able to handle more weight of course. Go for it!

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Old 02-11-2007, 11:54 AM
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Default RE: Bamboo for a gaff shaft

Saltwater Sportsman had an article on making. I tired to locate it but had no luck. It said to get a certain bamboo at the garden store. Basically epoxy the shaft in and wrap with strong cord.
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Old 02-11-2007, 11:59 AM
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Default RE: Bamboo for a gaff shaft

eddy2419 - 2/11/2007 10:54 AM

Saltwater Sportsman had an article on making. I tired to locate it but had no luck. It said to get a certain bamboo at the garden store. Basically epoxy the shaft in and wrap with strong cord.
I have about 80 nice pieces for a gaff shaft. When I remodeled my surf shop last year I found that bamboo lumber is b ig business now ,do a google. We all know about flooring but fencing is huge and they claim it will outlast treated lumber. Anyway I ordered from a place in NY of all places and they made you buy big bundles of each size you were wanting.
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Old 02-11-2007, 07:54 PM
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Default Re: Bamboo for a gaff shaft

It's in the Jan. 2007 issue of SWS
Said to use a Calcutta reed for the shaft.

Can't find the article on their website, maybe the issue is still too new.
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Old 02-11-2007, 08:05 PM
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Default Re: Bamboo for a gaff shaft

I have an 8' calcutta bamboo gaff and have used it for over 15 years. They were very popular for jetty striped bass fishing in NJ, they will pull in fish much larger than 20# as I have gaffed a fair number of fish over 40#. Finding a source for the bamboo is the biggest problem (mine was cut from a 22' shaft, and there is no need to epoxy the whole piece other than aesthetics as mine is as strong as the day I made it.
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Old 02-11-2007, 08:49 PM
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Default Re: Bamboo for a gaff shaft

bamboo has insane tensile strength. if you use a gaff like it was intended to be used -- as if the shaft were made of rope, not steel -- bamboo should work fine. OTOH, if you like to use your gaff like a pitchfork or jack handle, bamboo may not be up to the task.
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Old 02-11-2007, 09:00 PM
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Default Re: Bamboo for a gaff shaft

You have to use the calcutta bamboo (actually rattan) as it is solid throughout. The hollow bamboo doesnt work well for large fish. I use them almost exclusively. They are very strong. Just drill the hole for the hook tang, epoxy it on, wrap with boat cord (called "dock cord or flatline cord as well) you can finish with flex coat, but i use spar varnish. Last a long time
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Old 12-02-2018, 04:44 PM
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I know it is an old thread...But winter is coming and sounds like a fun project...what diameter bamboo should be used....target fish: mahi, black fin and here's the bugaboo... wahoo.
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Old 12-02-2018, 05:13 PM
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If you find a good source post it up. I’d like to make one as well.
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Old 12-02-2018, 06:17 PM
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I made a few with bamboo I picked up off the side of the road, not calcutta. Have had them about a year and made some for a friend, so far, so good. I like the flex in them and they have held up fine. I set some in epoxy and some in 5200, wrapped them with 80lb braid and then heat shrinked. Not the prettiest, but I have been happy with them.
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Old 12-03-2018, 11:07 AM
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I have bamboo growing in my yard and some of the longer, straighter pieces I've looked at and thought "ya know, I bet I could make a kickass 8 foot pick gaff from one of these". I might give it a shot one day.
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Old 12-03-2018, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by ychtcptn View Post
If you find a good source post it up. I’d like to make one as well.
Bamboo Poles

Still would like to know the best diameter for this.
BTW don't tell Marsh Tacky, his shop is around the corner from me, I will be checking with him for the gaff hook though!
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Old 12-03-2018, 01:55 PM
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They use them on the San Diego Long Range boats pretty exclusively. You can get an idea of shaft diameter from this picture, looks like an about an inch, and cured/dried.
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Old 12-03-2018, 02:51 PM
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I use hardwood handles from rake size to shovel size. Mustad hooks and small electric motor copper winding.
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Old 12-03-2018, 02:55 PM
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Not all bamboo is the same, I have nephew that grows a few different varieties, all the clumping kind. Some of them are almost solid when you cut them. He even has a black variety that stays that color after cutting, he gave me a pot of that, I can't wait till it grows bigger. He's in the nursery business and is always looking for new things to grow.
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Old 12-03-2018, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by N2theblue View Post
They use them on the San Diego Long Range boats pretty exclusively.
Yep. All of the SoCal sport boat fleets have used bamboo gaffs since like ... forever. They still do. Naturally, I emulated them and made my own for my own boats. I would drill the hole for the attachment point, and position the hook with electrician's tape, merely to hold it in place while I wrapped it with heavy cordage. The great strength to diameter ratio of bamboo allows it to move through the water with less resistance (when necessary), plus it floats, and they're badass.
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Old 12-03-2018, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Gary999 View Post

I use hardwood handles from rake size to shovel size. Mustad hooks and small electric motor copper winding.

Using copper in salt water seems less than ideal
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