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> > To debarb or not to debarb, Page 3

MartinlfMay 13th, 2012, 3:34 pm
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3233
Thanks, Spence. Because I'm not confident that I can do it right, I don't typically take photos of fish, as I've noted elsewhere. However, for the one I did post my friend and guide John Miller kept it in the net fully underwater as he set up, took the fish out for less than 15 seconds for the shot, then we released it hale and hearty. We discussed the whole process beforehand, and I trusted his expertise (I've known him over ten years, and he has the reputation as one of the very best guides on the river). I moved to barbless hooks to minimize harm to fish, especially the small wild ones. But I'm relatively sure that for these bigger fish, given the microbarbs on dry fly hooks I'll typically be able to unhook them with few problems. John did note that barbless hooks can even cause more damage than barbed hooks if they come out and go back in, which they sometimes do. I'll try to keep you posted on any differences I find.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
EntomanMay 13th, 2012, 6:22 pm
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604

Hook Barbs -

Whatever floats your boat. The evidence is murky over losing fish as well as mortality. After all these years, if there were any significant difference it would be obvious by now. I tend to leave the barbs on as it is just another step in the tying process absorbing time. For purely selfish reasons, I like the reg.'s though. On a few of my favorite waters, I haven't been passed by a hardware thrower in a long time because of 'em.

Of nets and other gadgets -

Nets are a pain in the butt for stream fishing. Unless I'm with somebody, I
rarely carry one. Hanging loose, they're always snagging on something. Getting shot in the back with the handle is not too enjoyable. I tried keeping it up front under my vest which works okay if your wearing chest waders I suppose, but for wet wading, not so good - unless you enjoy being soaked in wet fish slime on your left torso. The vest also starts to stink pretty bad after awhile. I never, ever like to wash a fishing vest. That's like a hockey player getting a facial or a middle linebacker getting a manicure. Besides, the dirt and stains are good camouflage. I also tried it in the vest's big back pocket. That worked fine until the day I jerked it out to land a fish and jerked a Wheatley full of flies into the river as well. Mostly I go without and just gently hold the fish against my leg while extracting the fly. A habit I picked up years ago steelheading. It works fine for good sized trout as well. The rest get ketchemed. Do more get farmed this way? Probably...

I think the Ketchum Release is the greatest trout saving tool out there. Small fish can be released quickly without touching them with either net or hand.

Boga grips? For Trout? What an indignant way for a large trout to be handled...
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
OldredbarnMay 13th, 2012, 11:20 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2608
I know we are about to stray here but the net thing is funny...I've had them get snagged in the branches of some pines I had to duck under to get through only to have to go back and find it hanging there once I had made it to the river and discovered it gone...Worse yet, as you implied, I've had it snap back at me and yes...Ouch! A couple years back I was trespassing in a spot that I hadn't in a few years only to discover my net hooked on barbed-wire...I had to snip a bit off with my snips to free myself. Then there was the horrible snapping/cracking sound when I sat down on the bank of the Madison and sat on my favorite net...Only consolation here was a bigger net for them western hogs...:)

Louis...I think you and I are no-doubt very conscientious when we handle fish...We have been doing it a while...We just need to remind the newer folk to our sport how its done...

I forgot to mention in the above post...Your guide and my guide both have vested interests in us catching fish and getting that dream photo...When it comes to barb or no barb I think they may not be the guys to ask...

I think that this is a wonderful topic but there are few real tests going on...We could use some guidance as guys who want to know that we are doing the right thing. I have to admit that I'm still running through a stockpile of old Mustads with barbaric looking barbs, compared to the newer ones...I carry on my vest a pair of pliers to flatten the barbs...

Keep me posted...

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
ShantiMay 14th, 2012, 5:11 am

Posts: 95
I spent my high school years at the Academy of Sportfishing, there some friends of mine made a study over two years comparing barbed to barbless hooks.
The study was real serious and was conducted during their whole three-year stay at the school. And yes, they did get a scolarship for it.

One of the results they found was that 10 % more fish was lost on barbless hooks.

The study was made some ten years ago now, and there are more barbless hooks on the market now. At least here in Sweden.

9 out of 10 hooks I buy are barbless, I fish some waters where barbs are banned.
Somewhere, right now, a fish is rising.
And youre at the computer..
WiflyfisherMay 14th, 2012, 9:19 am

Posts: 663
Without getting into a big discussion, I think you also have to take into account the size of the fish, how they are feeding, the type of hook and the hook gap. For example: some of the curved hooks we tend to use today for emergers have a smaller hook gap.
John S.
EntomanMay 14th, 2012, 1:39 pm
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Good point, John. The 200R style is notoriously poor at hooking and holding, barb or no barb. Guys out here have been grumbling about them for years but because they make such cool looking flies, they're still fairly popular.:)
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman

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