Barbed vs. barbless debate resolved?

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

  1. Krusty

    Krusty Krusty Old Effer

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2011
    Messages:
    1,738
    Likes Received:
    1,657
    Location:
    Spokane, WA
    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.
     
  2. rockthief

    rockthief Fly fishing = food for my soul

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2011
    Messages:
    239
    Likes Received:
    63
    Location:
    Brownsville Oregon
    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.
  3. Olive bugger

    Olive bugger Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2009
    Messages:
    3,058
    Likes Received:
    634
    Location:
    Woodinville, WA
    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.
  4. Gary Thompson

    Gary Thompson dirty dog

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2007
    Messages:
    3,955
    Likes Received:
    162
    Location:
    East Wenatchee, WA
    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
     
  5. Kelly Michelsen

    Kelly Michelsen Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2010
    Messages:
    165
    Likes Received:
    38
    Location:
    Wenatchee, Washington
    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
     
  6. Krusty

    Krusty Krusty Old Effer

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2011
    Messages:
    1,738
    Likes Received:
    1,657
    Location:
    Spokane, WA
    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.
  7. zen leecher aka bill w

    zen leecher aka bill w born to work, forced to fish

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    Messages:
    3,821
    Likes Received:
    1,389
    Location:
    Moses Lake, WA
    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.
     
  8. Olive bugger

    Olive bugger Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2009
    Messages:
    3,058
    Likes Received:
    634
    Location:
    Woodinville, WA
    Leader failure is a major cause. I suspect that UV exposure and smaller than necessart tippets are to blame.
     
  9. freestoneangler

    freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2006
    Messages:
    5,891
    Likes Received:
    1,522
    Location:
    Edgewood, WA
    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.
  10. Richard Olmstead

    Richard Olmstead BigDog

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2005
    Messages:
    2,848
    Likes Received:
    1,361
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    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
     
  11. Itchy Dog

    Itchy Dog Some call me Kirk Werner

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2005
    Messages:
    3,914
    Likes Received:
    558
    Location:
    Doo-vall
    Home Page:
    Fishing barbless affords me an excuse otherwise lacking with barbed hooks.
     
    Jim Wallace and Kcahill like this.
  12. Dave Boyle

    Dave Boyle Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2005
    Messages:
    230
    Likes Received:
    41
    Location:
    Seattle, Wa
    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.​
    Freestoneangler
    Me too, I've tagged myself and my clothes enough to know barbless is the way to go, I've seen some horror 'hook ups' when sea angling and pics of flies in eyes to know barbless is the way to go. If it does go badly wrong in a sensitive place it can slip out again if there's no barb, otherwise its the emergency room.

    Dave the barbless
     
  13. generic

    generic Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2010
    Messages:
    3,575
    Likes Received:
    921
    Come on Richard... be honest now. You have the tying addiction like the rest of us. :p
     
  14. Richard Olmstead

    Richard Olmstead BigDog

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2005
    Messages:
    2,848
    Likes Received:
    1,361
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    I often tell my wife, after returning from a day of fishing, but little catching, "at least I lost a few flies..."

    D
     
  15. orangeradish

    orangeradish 1/2 an Ira

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Messages:
    2,594
    Likes Received:
    719
    Location:
    Capital City
    Home Page: