Should gaff's be banned?
I don't think you people understand the intended use, or perhaps you have observed a few people who didn't.
Getting a large pike's head started into the hole is the first application. Large pike often roll in the line, and if the line is coming off the fish behind the gill plates, it can be nearly impossible to get it turned without some assistance.
The second application occurs when you attempt to get a large pikes' face out of the hole. If you are fishing flouro, you hate to put a lot of pressure on the line to get the fish out of the hole and onto the ice - particularly if the water level in the hole is well below the ice surface.
In either case, the proper use of the gaff is to insert the gaff into the fish's mouth, and push the point thru the membrane of the lower jaw. Pull the fish out of the hole, on to the ice. DO NOT hang the fish from the gaff hook, obviously.
We actually rarely use the gaff, but when it is needed, we have it available - along with jaw spreaders, long needlenose, forceps, and wire cutters.
Ban gaffs? I think they should ban your guns, because you might mis-use them. Same idea, right?
I have a small gaff that I made out of a piece of dowel and a large stainless salmon hook that I use when I'm fishing for whitefish. I have lost so many of those in the hole due to their squirming and sliminess. I have no intentions of releasing any whitefish unless it's small but then I don't need a gaff or care if it falls off in the hole.
1. They are stoopid. 2. They are very drunk. 3. They were taught this by another stoopid person.
And possibly all three at once. Yep. Kinda idiotic actually.
I don't think they should be banned. If you have a nice, and obviously legal fish in the hole that you fully intend to harvest, then it is a wonderful tool.