Ask a CO: Are Jaw Jackers legal?

by Editorial Staff | January 30, 2020
A tension rod to aid in ice fishing

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.

Please check the most recent Ontario fishing regulations summary routinely, as rules and regulations can change.

For more instalments of Ask a CO, click here

Comments

  1. BEN GIGNAC wrote: Why is it neccessary to carry your plastic outdoor card when all the info is on your licence summary.
    • Meghan Sutherland wrote: Thank you for your query Ben, we'll have more information for you soon.
    • Meghan Sutherland wrote: Ben, we've had a response back to your query: A: If you have a three-year fishing licence that is embossed on the back of your outdoors card, then you do not need to carry a licence summary in addition to the outdoors card while fishing. The same is true if you have an outdoors card with a valid one-year fishing licence embossed on the back; during the year that that licence is valid, you do not have to carry a licence summary with you while fishing. However, if you have a valid outdoors card with an expired fishing licence on the back, then you would have to carry your outdoors card and the new licence summary showing your valid fishing licence with you while fishing. Similarly, if you have a valid small game licence embossed on the back of your outdoors card (either current one-year licence or a three-year licence) and you are hunting only small game that does not require a tag (i.e., you are not hunting wild turkey or wolf or coyote in the areas where a tag is required), then you only need to carry the outdoors card with the licence on the back. If you are hunting wild turkey, wolf or coyote in an area where a tag is required, or big game (moose, deer, elk or black bear), then you would have to carry your outdoors card and your licence summary. Answers by: David Critchlow, Provincial Enforcement Specialist, MNRF
  2. Ron Forster wrote: Is the Jigging Jaw Jacker legal in Ontario? Thank you for your reply Regards Ron Forster
    • Meghan Sutherland wrote: Ron, from the story: "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."
  3. Ron Johnson wrote: I know auto hook set "jaw jackers" (or similarly designed units) are allowed when ice fishing but I'm curious if these units sold on Amazon.ca (link below) are allowed as there still is fishing rod in play (with tension on its line) but there is also a mechanical spring. Any feedback would be much appreciated. Thanks https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B08695TQVK/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_image_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    • Alesha Howran wrote: As noted in the story, “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.” As this product has a spring mechanism as the sole method for setting the hook, unlike jaw jackers - which use a rod under tension - it would not be legal as per the Ontario Fishing Regulations Summary.