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Old 03-31-2008, 09:53 AM
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Default Barbless or Barbs?

I took up fly fishing last year and starting tying flies over the winter. One of the instruction books I purchased starts off all fly instructions with a note to bend the barb to make the hook barbless. Do most folks fish with or without barbs? What are the pros and cons? Any recommendations or advice?

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Old 03-31-2008, 10:58 AM
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Default Re: Barbless or Barbs?

It really depends on what you want to do.

I don't tie my own, or even fly fish (yet). But I've got dozens of fly-spinners I use on some ultra light rigs for trout. I crimp the barb on all of them. Where I usually fish is catch-and-release. AND, unless you plan to keep the fish, it makes it easier to remove the hook. This gets the fish back into the water quicker, which is good for them.
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Old 03-31-2008, 11:08 AM
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Default Re: Barbless or Barbs?

Barbless... much better for the fish... there's some good reading on the FFF site on the topic. Fly fishing information for everyone

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Old 03-31-2008, 11:41 AM
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Default Re: Barbless or Barbs?

barbless
+ much nicer to the fish for catch and release, if you set the hook properly and keep your line tight, the fish will stay on the hook
- can be difficult to detect a strike unless you know what to look/feel for and also how to properly set the hook, fish can still throw the hook if you don't set the hook or keep your line tight

barbed
+ even a beginner can hook a fish and land it without the fish throwing the hook--the fish will usually set the hook itself, if you plan on eating your fish, it doesn't matter how much the barb hurts it
- comparatively much more detrimental to the fish to remove the hook if you are fishing catch and release

If you're catching a lot of fish and throwing them back with barbed hooks, you may realize this eventually, but you can really eff up a fish's mouth pulling out a barbed hook. You're also more likely to destroy your flies with your pliers if the fly doesn't come free easily.
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Old 03-31-2008, 12:21 PM
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Default Re: Barbless or Barbs?

You will bring more fish to hand with barbed hooks; however, as previously mentioned, barbed hooks are harder to remove and cause more damage to the fish. If you are fishing for food or trophies, use barbed hooks. If not, use barbless.

I use both. Most of my trout fishing is done in catch and release streams where the largest fish I will ever encounter is 18". No food or trophies, so I use barbless.

When I took my first trip to Andros, I started out with barbless (can't eat 'em and trophies are rare). However, I lost many fish before getting them to the boat so I switched to barbed. I didn't pay to go to Andros to simply hook bonefish, I wanted a few pictures of me with fish. On my Andros trip this year I caught my first fish with a barbed hook and then switched to barbless.

I also fish for striped bass on Cape Cod. If I am fishing in a location where I a pretty certain I will only hook schoolies I will use barbless, but if there is a chance of running into a keeper (28") I will use a barbed hook because stripers taste great.
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Old 03-31-2008, 01:26 PM
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Default Re: Barbless or Barbs?

The overwhelming majority of my fish are released. In fact, I kept (and ate)
a fish for the first time in 30 years two months ago!

Barbless works fine for me, and since we're waving hooks past our faces,
consider this video: YouTube - My Attempt At Fly Fishing Gone Bad....OUCH!! The
good part comes near the end ! Squeezing barbs down on #6 and
smaller hooks is pretty easy with hemostats or small needle-nose pliers.
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Old 03-31-2008, 04:30 PM
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Default Re: Barbless or Barbs?

Almost forgot about that. The back cast can be treacherous with a barbed hook.
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Old 03-31-2008, 05:19 PM
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Default Re: Barbless or Barbs?

Barbless hooks come out of you and fish easier. Barbless hooks also penetrate into a fish's jaw better. Its kinda like the difference between the force needed to drive a finishing nail instead of a framing nail.
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Old 04-03-2008, 10:18 AM
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Default Re: Barbless or Barbs?

I have swung back and forth on this issue even going to semi-barbless(bent the barb to retain a bump but the barb is down) that seemed like a nice compromise. I have however decided that deep hooking a fish for catch and release is much trickier even with nice long hemostats/needle drivers. The effort of de-hooking a deeply hooked fish is traumatic and will kill some fish I don't plan to keep. So I'm back to barbless...
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Old 04-03-2008, 01:05 PM
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Default Re: Barbless or Barbs?

I feel i hook more fish with the better penetration offered by a sharpened barbless hook. For the most part, if I lose a fish "due to" a barbless hook, it is "after" the fight, right at the side of the boat or as I try to bring it to hand...in both cases just using a net usually prevents the loss. I just spent my lunch break sitting in my car, bending down some barbs and re-sharpening some hooks. Everyone is free to make their own decision based on experience, but i think most agree that in general, catch and release fishing with barbed hooks is not the best way to go.
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