Q: I was ice fishing with a friend who was using a Jaw Jacker. This device will automatically set the hook based on the bend in the rod. I mentioned that in the fishing regulations, spring-loaded devices that set the hook are illegal within 60 metres of any body of water. He said the packaging on the device noted it was legal in most jurisdictions in North America, including Ontario. He also claimed that since the flex of the rod set the hook and not springs as noted in the regs, it was compliant. Is this device compliant with or a violation of the regulations?
–Dan Lymer, Richmond Hill
A: The Ontario Fishery Regulations prohibit possession of a spring gaff in any waters or within 30 metres of any water’s edge. The Jaw Jacker is not considered a spring gaff and therefore would not be considered illegal for use for angling. A spring gaff includes any device that uses a mechanical spring, other than the fishing rod under tension, to set the hook for an angler (see the Ontario Fishing Regulations Summary). The Jaw Jacker places the fishing rod under tension, and is not a mechanical spring. Although the device is lawful to use, the angler must remain within 60 metres of the device while it is in use through the ice and must also maintain a clear and unobstructed view of it.
–Brenda Koenig (Provincial Enforcement Specialist, MNRF)
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Originally published in the Jan.-Feb. 2018 issue of Ontario OUT of DOORS magazine. Ask a CO is also a regular feature in the print edition.