Barbed vs. barbless debate resolved?

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Alosa, May 31, 2013.

  1. Alosa

    Alosa Active Member

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    Every once in a while the debate over barbed vs. barbless hooks rears it's ugly head. This can often lead to heated exchanges between individuals with differing views/opinions, usually with no factual basis other than personal experience. Well, we finally have some objectively collected data to truly consider the costs/benefits of fly fishing with barbless hooks.

    A new study in the North American Journal of Fisheries Management, a peer-reviewed scientific journal that is well respected in the field of fisheries management, has just published a study on the 'catch efficiency' (CE) of fly fishing for trout in California using barbed and barbless hooks.

    http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02755947.2013.769920

    In the interest of self education I encourage you all to read it. I found it very interesting. If you cannot access it, PM me with your email and I will pass it along.
     
  2. Derek Young

    Derek Young 2011 Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide Of The Year

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    "Results show that anglers using barbless flies landed proportionately less trout than when they used barbed flies."

    Not having read past the Abstract, the questions that first come to mind; First, angler skill/ability. Second, flow rate of water fish were played/retrieved in.

    I'm also not ready to start measuring the success of the day in factors like 'catch efficiency." That's missing the point - pun intended.
     
  3. Alosa

    Alosa Active Member

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    Derek: read beyond the abstract to see the nuances like angler experience, etc. If you take the time to read it I think many of your questions will be answered.
     
  4. Lugan

    Lugan Joe Streamer

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    Interesting report, and matches my own rough approximation. Maybe I think the same as Derek, but to me landing the fish is just a bonus. The main goal I have is fooling a fish into hitting my fly. Hooking and landing them are just a pleasant aperitif & dessert.

    Though I have to admit I hate being skunked. So, I guess I stand by the above AFTER the first fish is landed.

    Anyway, I use 100% barbless hooks, but not just to help protect fish. It also protects me from my own fumbles. Just last summer I back-cast a fly into the top of my rod hand due to a stiff breeze causing my fly line to drift back into me. I just popped it out and kept fishing. If it had been a barbed hook, I might have had to visit a doctor to have it removed (as I've had to do twice in my life). Now I also have 3 young boys who have just started to fish. You can imagine the four of us crowded into our Derek Young-supplied Streamtech raft, rods and lures/flies flailing, kids forgetting the instruction to watch the back cast, then hitting each other and daddy -- and you bet your bottom dollar it's barbless all around in that boat.
     
  5. Gary Knowels

    Gary Knowels Active Member

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    Thanks for the heads up on the article!

    So every angler was given a 4 hour fishing block, divided into 8 30 minute segments. For 4 of the segments they angler blindly used a barbed fly and the other 4 a barbless fly. Having every angler in both groups can eliminate the concern about variability between groups in regards to angler skill.

    I think the study is well designed and well done. I would suspect that most of us already thought that using barbless hooks decreased our catch efficiency. I personally think the benefits of using a barbless hook, easier on fish, faster hook removal, easier to remove from my skin when I accidentally hook myself, never in violation of tackle regulations, far outweigh the few extra fish that I might have caught with a barbed hook.
     
  6. Cruik

    Cruik Active Member

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    I'd love to read it and see which variables they controlled for, but I'm probably not going to pay $26 to do so.I do think that angler satisfaction is an important aspect for policymakers to consider, I just think it would be difficult to draw conclusions as to angler satisfaction based upon catch efficiency. Not that I'm saying the article states this, as I also haven't read past the abstract.
     
  7. GAT

    GAT Dumbfounded

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    Legally use barbed or barbless hooks as you'd like. It makes no difference to me so I don't try to convince anyone to use one hook over another.
     
  8. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

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    There is no debate for me. Barbless is and will continue to be the right way for me for reasons only important to me.
     
  9. Skysoldier

    Skysoldier Trout Hunter

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    I will stick with barbless hooks, after all catching is a very small part of the experience.
     
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  10. Gary Knowels

    Gary Knowels Active Member

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    PM me your email address and I'll email you the PDF full article
     
  11. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    I'd also like to read the article, but not for $26. If someone has it and will email it to salmo_g@hotmaildotcom, with a . in place of the dot, I'd appreciate it.

    Sg
     
  12. Old Man

    Old Man Just an Old Man

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    I've had barbed hooks taken out of me and I have pulled barbless hooks out of myself. The barbless hooks came out a lot cleaner than the barbed did.. I seem to stick a fly in my hand and fingers almost every time I go out.

    Here in Montana you don't need to pinch your barbs down, but I do out of practice.
     
  13. KerryS

    KerryS Ignored Member

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    I didn't read the study at all, not even the abstract. Doesn't interest me in the slightest. Post the study over on gamefishin.com. Those guys will have a field day with the study no matter what conclusions it suggests.
     
  14. Gary Knowels

    Gary Knowels Active Member

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    Sent
     
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  15. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    Thanks Gary!
     
  16. Alosa

    Alosa Active Member

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    Come on Kerry S. I expect more from you...maybe not...
     
  17. Kaiserman

    Kaiserman content

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    I forgot to pinch one of my barbs two days ago. First time in a long time that's happened. It took a little extra time to get it out, no bleeding, fish swam off just fine. I fished a little longer, then made my way back to that same spot. There was the fish I caught... dead.

    Apparently (without even noticing) I must have gripped the fish too tight, and killed it. How many fish that are accidentally mishandled (because of a barbed hook, or a "glory shot" picture) swin off just fine... and then die?

    I bet it's way more than you and I would like to admit.
     
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  18. Jim Speaker

    Jim Speaker Active Member

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    I'm 100% with the comments re catch efficiency not being part of the goal being on the water.

    Funny thing is, when I do fly fish areas where gear fishers or bait fishers are present, they're typically looking over at me like WTF because: I'm presenting natural looking food source imitations not some chunk of metal or worm or power bait blob. Despite losing some to barbless hooks - kudos to the nice move from the fish - I still land more than the chuckers by far. Oh yeah and I don't tear their lip off in the process.

    Useless study with regards to the group on this forum.
     
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  19. SteveA

    SteveA Gnu to the board

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    It's not all about catching for me but about 60% of it is. When fishing I want to catch fish, and I do so with barbless hooks.

    With that said, "News flash! Barbless hooks catch less fish!" Seriously?

    Sent from my KFTT using Tapatalk HD
     
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  20. dryflylarry

    dryflylarry "Chasing Riseforms"

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    Years ago, when barbed hooks were more common, I could drop my rod tip and let the line go all slack when a fish broke the surface, then raise the rod back up and continue to fight the fish. I don't remember ever losing fish. I pretty much do the same now, but tend to keep the line a little taunt if I can.
     

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