Barbed vs. barbless debate resolved?

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

  1. Irafly Active Member

    Posts: 3,618
    Everett, Washington, USA.
    Ratings: +1,052 / 1
    I didn't read the full study, did it mention which group hooked up more often? When I bass fished in tournaments I would sometimes debarb my hooks because I felt I hooked up better on the fish. Probably just my imagination, but confidence is confidence.
  2. Vladimir Steblina Retired Forester...now fishing instead of working

    Posts: 726
    Wenatchee, WA
    Ratings: +236 / 0
    Wow, shame on the American Fisheries Society for the $26 fee.

    The guy writing the article was a government employee. The state of California paid for his research.

    As a government employee you are not a for profit employee (well, unless your an elected official).
  3. KerryS Ignored Member

    Posts: 6,710
    Sedro Woolley, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +1,749 / 0
    Why? Because I don't see any reason to read a study that is going to tell me what I already know. Or is it you just want something to try and dig at me with? Likely more the reason for your "expectations". Good luck with that.

    The study has little meaning to me. I fish barbless. The only reason this study may have any meaning to me is if fishery managers use it to set rules by and once again I fish barbless regardless so it will still have little to no affect on me or my fishing methods.

    I would like to see someone post this on gamefishin.com purely for the entertainment it would provide. Those guys over there would argue this until the cows come home.
  4. Kaiserman content

    Posts: 2,612
    Ratings: +420 / 0

    Yeah, like when the news comes out once in a while:

    "Researchers have found, that eating less foods high in calories and saturated fats, along with exercise, helps counter the risk of heart attacks, and also helps you lose weight."

    WHAT?! Really?! Who would of thought?!
  5. Alosa Active Member

    Posts: 343
    Seattle
    Ratings: +142 / 1
    Relax Kerry. Have a scotch on me, alright. I'm just trying to bring some information to the table that some folks might find interesting. I like to think that fly fishers have a vested interest in the resource, and like to educate themselves about these studies...thanks for proving me wrong.

    Regarding the $26 fee for the article: yes, the government employee (Bloom) likely got funded through public money, but the American Fisheries Society is not a government organization. They charge authors/scientists money to publish their research (I know... I've paid to have my research published in AFS journals), and the cost is passed onto the consumer. This is common practice.

    On the face of it you all might think that the info being provided is obvious (the author alludes to as much), but this kind of work is needed for managers to make decisions about the fishery regulations that are published by WDFW, ODFW, CDFW, etc. each year. This stuff matters to you and I and every other recreational angler out there.

    Some other not-so-obvious things that I found interesting:

    1) anglers fishing with dry flies, regardless of experience level, did better than those fishing with either streamers or nymphs;

    2) experienced anglers did better than intermediate or novice anglers regardless of whether they fished with barbed or barbless hooks...which suggests that the more you fish the better you get at it (practice does make perfect):)
    Bill Aubrey likes this.
  6. Peyton00 Active Member

    Posts: 716
    Puyallup, Wa.
    Ratings: +293 / 0
    Its nice to have the options to fish whatever style we like. I use barbs when allowed and have no problem pinching them down when asked by boat owner( if not on my boat) or required by regs.
    Mark Kraniger likes this.
  7. Olive bugger Active Member

    Posts: 2,381
    Woodinville, WA
    Ratings: +408 / 0
    Now you guys tell me I need a hook...
  8. Old Man Just an Old Man

    Posts: 21,618
    Dillon, Mt
    Ratings: +1,656 / 0
    What good would a book do for you. You can't read the big words anyhow.
    Olive bugger likes this.
  9. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 4,009
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,592 / 0
    LOL:D

    Well, some folks or more into casting than hooking fish... we call them steelhead flyfishers:)

    Vlad, you are absolutely correct. One of my good friends and McKenzie River fishing buddies (and one hell of a fly tyer), Eric Hoberg, was on a scientist exchange program with Russia. This was looooooong before anyone thought of flyfishing in Russia. While in some remote area of the country, he tried flyfishing and caught huge trout. The locals knew nothing about flyfishing. We tried to convince him to write an article for a flyfishing magazine because he was also an excellent writer and photographer.

    He explained to us that he could not profit from his trip to Russia because it was on our government dime. So... he was one of the first Americans to flyfish in Russia and discovered the untapped resource but couldn't write an article about his experience. Now of course, you can book a guided trip to flyfish in Russia.

    When it comes to the barb vs barbless debate, I've read articles that are pro and con... both convincing. Lee Wulff did not condone the use of barbless hooks because he believed fly anglers tended to play the fish longer and thus exhausting the trout when using barbless hooks.

    If you use the new age style hooks with the tiny barbs, I honestly don't think it makes as much difference when releasing the trout as it once did when the hooks were produced with much larger barbs.
  10. fredaevans Active Member

    Posts: 3,116
    White City, Oregon, USA.
    Ratings: +118 / 0
    Just my less than valuable opin. There are so many fish/places to fish if it isn't 'Hatchery' you have to let it go. A non-barbed hook makes that pretty darned easy with out further damage to the fish. Only odd part is finding barbless hooks in small sizes is a real pain where one sits.

    I get mine out of the UK, there you have a hell of a lot of choices. The mailing costs will freeze your heart. Postage for a .75 oz package was (roughly) $5.00 USD.
  11. Krusty Active Member

    Posts: 908
    Spokane, WA
    Ratings: +600 / 0
    This is why I am actually relieved when I hook a fish, and it manages to escape the hook without me handling it...while I enjoy getting it close enough to see, I often release line tension to aid its escape. On those few occasions when a fish takes my barbless fly (and I don't fish any barbed hooks) too deep to rapidly extract the fly, I have no problem nipping off the tippet. IMHO the value of an unharmed fish is far greater than the negligible cost of a fly I tied myself.

    Of course, this is easy for me, since I never eat the damn things anyway. For me, it's the challenge of getting the fish to strike via the right presentation (which is a shitload more than just a good cast and the right fly) and to react fast enough to set the hook. It's especially satisfying when the fish's take of the fly (especially wetflies) is very subtle and easy to miss. Anybody can set the hook on fish hitting aggressively on dryflies.
  12. rockthief Fly fishing = food for my soul

    Posts: 204
    Brownsville Oregon
    Ratings: +29 / 0
    First thing I do before I tie is to smash the barb. It is automatic now. That's for me, maybe not for you.
    Krusty likes this.
  13. Olive bugger Active Member

    Posts: 2,381
    Woodinville, WA
    Ratings: +408 / 0
    Well at first, I didn't buy into the barbless idea. I figured that if a fish was caught, it was much easier to throw the hook. I don't catch all that many fish. I didn't want to lose one. It is still that way but that is another story indeed.

    But some soul searching and introspect, I began to see that if the fish escaped, it was still good for fishing. After all, I was not going to eat most of the fish I caught anyway, but release them back. So, for me, barbless is the way to go. That may not work for you.

    On the other side of the coin, I must say, that from watching videos, other fishers and listening to some of the descriptions of fishing trips, I believe that more fish are killed by improper handling than barbed hooks. I cringe at the videos of people handling fish out of the water, and even in nets. I guess if you throw the fish back and it is still alive when it hits the water, you are good. Maybe the fish isn't so good though.

    I suspect that removing the barbed hook from the fish has something to do with the rough handling of the fish. Just my $0.02.
    I believe that the smaller barb is a good thing and step in the right direction. I do not think barbless hooks will solve all of our fishing problems. I think a person should have a choice. I also think that the choice puts a responsibilities on the individual to properly handle the fish if it is released. If you plan to eat the fish, then the bet is off.
    Bill Aubrey, Mark Kraniger and Krusty like this.
  14. Gary Thompson dirty dog

    Posts: 3,891
    East Wenatchee, WA
    Ratings: +131 / 0
    This is how it works for me.
    If I want to kill fish I use a barbed hook, If I don't want to kill fish, barbless. Simple
  15. Kelly Michelsen Active Member

    Posts: 163
    Wenatchee, Washington
    Ratings: +39 / 0
    So much is opinion, and everything has been pretty much covered
    I am with the barb less side I have been for many years.
    Kelly Michelsen
  16. Krusty Active Member

    Posts: 908
    Spokane, WA
    Ratings: +600 / 0
    I agree...excessive handling is probably the biggest contributor to mortality, along with unnecessarily having to extend the time spent playing the fish if very light tackle is used. A fish fighting to escape can easily build up sufficient levels of lactic acids from which it will never recover.
    Bill Aubrey and Olive bugger like this.
  17. zen leecher aka bill w born to work, forced to fish

    Posts: 3,152
    Moses Lake, WA
    Ratings: +963 / 1
    I went barbless somewhere around the mid 80's. I don't think all flies used were barbless but the 5 or so that I stuck in myself turned out to be. Probably in the early 90's I'd gone to all barbless and don't feel I lost any fish in the ensuing years because of the hook not having a barb. Before I went barbless I can say having a barb caused me to lose some nice fish that were so active I couldn't get the hook set properly. I had one big trout hooked on upper Hampton that was beat and laying on it's side. A touch of slack and the hook dropped right out. I felt I never had it set in above the barb.

    I did lose some fish earlier this year but it wasn't because of no barb. It was because the fish broke the leader.
  18. Olive bugger Active Member

    Posts: 2,381
    Woodinville, WA
    Ratings: +408 / 0
    Leader failure is a major cause. I suspect that UV exposure and smaller than necessart tippets are to blame.
  19. freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

    Posts: 4,006
    Edgewood, WA
    Ratings: +722 / 1
    Pulling out chunks of flesh, be it the fish or my own, is not fun. And, as an added bonus, barbless is easy to remove from clothing, fanny pack, boot laces, boat anchor line and my old school mesh net (come on, admit it you've hooked one or all of those at one time or another). I buy barbed hooks and use my pliers to mash it flat when I get ready for the vise. That little bump, IMO helps keep them connected, but works same as true barbless if done right.
    Bill Aubrey, Lugan and Krusty like this.
  20. Richard Olmstead BigDog

    Posts: 2,486
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +786 / 0
    The only problem with barbless hooks, imo, is everytime I stick some flies in my shearling patch either to dry or for later use, and then beat through some bushes, I lose half of 'em.

    Then again, that's just another excuse to need to tie some more flies...

    D