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> > hooksets and barbless hooks...

RogueratMay 7th, 2018, 4:37 pm
Posts: 467
Good news/bad news thing here,

I was able to get out today and spent some quality time on the lower Rogue, consistent Caddis activity and 4 smallish Rainbows and a nice 12-14" Brown for the effort. I'm having trouble with 'long-distance releases' and I can't figure if its the hook-set or using barbless hooks or a combination thereof. Two of the 'Bows got off as I was bringing them to net- they just shook the hook and took off. I know to keep the line tight and avoid any slack if possible but I'm losing too many fish this season...same thing last time out when a couple smallish fish just shook loose.
This could be topic for a whole 'nother post as well- barbless vs. micro-barb, does barbed up the chances of netting a fish, which causes least injury to a fish, lots of stuff there.

Anyway, I'm 2-for-2 on my Monday Fishing thing and so far so good!


'Less is more...'

Ludwig Mies Vande Rohe
PartsmanMay 7th, 2018, 6:14 pm
bancroft michigan

Posts: 368
Roguerat, I to smash the barbs on hooks, I have some troubles with hooksets, but I'm willing to lose some fish for the ease of a quick and safe release of the fish. Congrats on your success so far this year, I'm heading up in the morning, hope the water is little more fishing friendly.
WbranchMay 8th, 2018, 1:47 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2701
I never use barbless hooks unless it is a requirement of the venue I am fishing. The only two places that come to mind are a section of the Yellow Breeches called "Allenberry" and possibly the FFO section of the Little Lehigh river near Allentown, PA. Two areas I seldom fish. I don't like losing fish. I do not believe micro barbs hurt fish anymore than barbless hooks. Actually I do use barbless hooks when streamer fishing because I use much bigger hooks, #6 - #1/0 where the fish strike aggressively and sometimes inhale the fly deeply into the mouth area. Barbless hooks in those instances do less damage and I don't care if a fish gets off because I have a high success ratio.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Jmd123May 8th, 2018, 2:08 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2509
"I never use barbless hooks unless it is a requirement of the venue I am fishing....I don't like losing fish."

That pretty much sums up my attitude. I lose enough with barbed hooks! My fear with barbless hooks is, what happens if the fish gets some slack in the line? Admit it, you've all had fish run straight at you, especially rainbows which will go in any direction, including UP, and find yourself stripping madly trying to get all of that loose line under control... Having said that, once in a while a barbed hook gets stuck really good and I find myself wishing it didn't have that barb, but fish hooks rust so you can always cut the leader. And with most of the dry fly fishing I do they are not stuck with anything larger than a #10 or #12.

Also helps with that fly you stick in your ear (did that last year for the first time). If it were a big old # 4 or #2, that might need a ride to the doc. But hey, a #12? Just yank it, spit on it and keep fishing! I suppose if you have a habit of doing that, you should definitely go barbless!

Since I do not have much experience with the barbless kind, I am curious to know if my fellow Troutnuts feel they do or do not lose more fish with barbless. ?????

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
StrmanglrMay 11th, 2018, 3:56 pm
Posts: 156
I'm part of the barbed crowd. I agree w Jmd.

It always seemed to me as much as trout "boil" upon being hooked they would throw the hook easily.
Jmd123May 11th, 2018, 7:53 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2509
Imagine trying to go barbless on largemouth classic head-shaking dance and he launches your popper into the pads! Rainbows and smallies, same thing. And even the occasional brown goes aerial, typically with much thrashing ain't pretty like a porpoise! Had a 14-incher almost land in an alder tree a few years ago. I can't imagine these violent motions wouldn't throw at least the majority of barbless hooks involved.

Heck, this past summer I watched a rainbow trout knock a grasshopper imitation two feet into the air! Fish went one way and the fly went the other...pretty funny actually! Fish thought: "I'm gonna KILL that thing!"

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
AfishinadoMay 13th, 2018, 4:39 am

Posts: 75
I pinch down the barbs on all my flies before I fish them.

I find using barbless hooks make it a lot easier to unhook and release fish and unhook and release me when I stick myself with a hook.

I really have never seen any difference in the amount of fish I land going barbless. It matters little anyway because I C&R all the fish I land and really don't even keep count of the number of fish I bring to hand. Besides, a long release every now and then is often welcome.

But as I said, I see no difference in landing rates between barbed and barbless hooks. In fact all the fishing comp guys use barbless hooks and they land a whole bunch of fish.

I feel the benefits to the fish as well as the ease of extracting hooks from clothes, equipment and my flesh outweigh a the possibility of not landing a small number of fish.
MartinlfMay 14th, 2018, 7:41 pm
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3125
I have heard arguments on both sides, with some even claiming that barbless hooks result in fewer lost fish because they penetrate better. I don't think there's any way to prove either position. I've started leaving the barbs on for small hooks, but I have a number of barbless hooks I also still tie on. The Partridge Surehold Lightning Dry barbless hooks have lived up to their name for me, and I've had good luck with them holding fish well. Alternately, I've lost several fish lately on barbed hooks. So I go back and forth on my opinion. If the hook is barbed out of the package, and small (not streamer size), I leave it that way unless fishing a barbless only area. But I still tie on the Partridge hook and feel like it will hold just as well as a barbed hook in most circumstances. Rogue--I've had spells of long line releases that bothered me, but they seem to pass. It may just be a patch that will pass, nothing you did, just luck of the draw. There are just too many variables sometimes. The one thing I do try to work on when I feel I've been to quick on the draw is to be sure the fish takes the fly before setting. I do know I've had bad hooksets due to rushing it.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Jmd123May 16th, 2018, 12:18 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2509
A bad hookset is likely the reason for 90%+ of "long-range releases". I stopped beating myself up over lost fish a while ago, because there are circumstances beyond your control. In November of 2016 I boated an 18 1/2" rainbow that was hooked by no more than 2 mm of flesh - and I could see this every time I tried to get the net under him (no eggs inside)! I did manage to eventually and when the net was in the bottom of the kayak, the fish and fly were good thrashing leap and he would have been gone. (Had the same thing happen once with a 6-pound 30" northern pike on a big 6" Daredevle spoon - out of his mouth in the net. And actually, with a 12" brookie a few years ago on the Pine...)

I've had plenty of fish just suddenly pop off for no apparent reason. Reason? Bad hookset! Just luck of the draw - some fish hit it and hook themselves, others seem like they're just holding onto it and let it go after they've gotten you all excited...

Tight lines to all, going out soon myself now that our weather has stabilized (or is at least warmer!).


P.S. Good news! I am teaching BOTH classes this summer - Field Biology AND Field Botany! Just got the word today from my boss at the college. And all classes are Tuesday/Thursday so I can work at the consulting firm (already been in the field several times with them). Maybe I can make a few extra $$$ this summer! And of course, fishing in the evenings - in June and July I don't even go fishing before 8 p.m.!
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
PartsmanMay 16th, 2018, 5:46 pm
bancroft michigan

Posts: 368
Congrats on the good news Jonathon, I have less than a year of full time work left, looking forward to being a part time old fart and more time fishing. I worked at my long releases yesterday on the rifle, I think I'm getting my technique perfected! There some nice fish rising finally, got a few, but missed a bunch. Oh well so much better than that winter crap.

WiflyfisherMay 19th, 2018, 4:11 am

Posts: 639
I have been barbless for years for trout and I will never go back. I do not feel I lose trout any more with barbless than barbed hooks. There are a lot of reasons fish get off and we can never prove why for certain. When out West hooking big hot rainbows that jump and rip line out and make your reel scream and the barbless hooks hold.

Like others have mentioned releasing the trout is sooo much easier without a barb and it saves my fly from getting wrecked when getting the fly out. Recently I had several trout hooked way inside the mouth, even though I was using a barbless hook I elected to snip my leader and let the trout go quickly rather than try to save the fly.
John S.
IasgairJune 6th, 2018, 5:12 am

Posts: 148
I use barbless hooks 100% of the time, and like you and many others I have lost a few fish as well, but that's what makes this a sport, right?

I have switched brands though, and now buy barbless hooks that have the hook point turned up a little like the Partridge Patriot series. Notice how the point curves up. It's because of this I have lost less fish than in the past. Many who use these types of hooks swear by them.

Also, there is a new company out called Fire Hole Sticks from Montana. An American made hook, 50 in a pack for $10.00. Great deal if you ask me. And some of their hooks also have that curve at the point.

These hooks hold very well, and still, when it comes to releasing the fish, it's no different than using a regular barbless hook.
So do yourself a favor and try these hooks out.
MartinlfJune 9th, 2018, 11:39 am
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3125
Yes, I love the Partridge hooks.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
WiflyfisherJune 12th, 2018, 2:13 pm

Posts: 639
I have been using Firehole Sticks this year and they work great. I also like how "true" barbless hooks (not pinched) because they come out easier when the trout is in the net, making for a faster release. I have also been using Wizard barbless dry fly hooks and they work well too and cost less.

I still argue that there is no way of telling if a mini-bark hook would means less fish get off. Obliviously, someone using big barbed hooks, like on rapalas, looses less fish but also probably kills a lot more trout while ripping the treble hooks out of the fish's mouth.

For the small fly patterns I really like TMC #2488 and pinch the barb. They have good hook gap and the bigger fish don't straighten the hook out on me like some other hooks do.

John S.
MartinlfJune 13th, 2018, 4:38 pm
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3125
Thanks, John. I'll have to check out the Firehole Sticks. I also like the TMC 921 with small patterns for the same reasons you like the 2488. I use them back and forth, preferring the 921 when I want a straighter shank. It's also 2X short.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
MartinlfJune 15th, 2018, 8:11 am
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3125
Rogue, rereading your initial post, I just remembered a period where I was losing more fish than I thought I should. A more experienced angler told me that a softer and/or longer rod might help, and that small fish tend to "bounce" off more than larger fish. That information was helpful to me at the time. Now I almost expect some smaller fish to get off no matter what I do.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
RogueratJune 15th, 2018, 9:07 am
Posts: 467

You're spot-on noting that its the 'dinks' that aren't getting hooked entirely- if at all.
These are planters and will hit just about anything at times, even the dimple of surface-tension in the water where the line first makes contact, these little guys will swirl on it and run.
I'm using an old favorite rod lately, an 8'-0" 4wt in medium action and time will tell if I get more hook-ups. Your acquaintance's observation makes a lot of sense.
Sulfurs (E Dorothea D.) are on hereabouts and its hard to pick out a sz 16 fly floating along with all of the Cottonwood fluff, tends to get lost in the much of this the air looks like a December lake-effect flurry at times.

Tight lines, all


'Less is more...'

Ludwig Mies Vande Rohe
WiflyfisherJune 16th, 2018, 6:22 am

Posts: 639
A couple years back while out West fishing some amazing Trico hatches and spinnerfalls I was having a great time with hookups using a Hardy Zenith 9 foot 5wt, which has a soft, forgiving tip. I switched for day using my 7'9" 5wt bamboo fly rod which has a stiffer tip and I kept getting popped. So then the next day I went back to using the Hardy Zenith and had no hook up issues again. I do believe with small flies and fine tippets a soft tip rod really makes a difference in the success ratio.
John S.
GutcutterJune 19th, 2018, 4:11 pm

Posts: 470

For the small fly patterns I really like TMC #2488 and pinch the barb. They have good hook gap and the bigger fish don't straighten the hook out on me like some other hooks do.

Look into the Hanak H390BL hook. Thinner wire than 2488 and barbless. I have them down to 20 and don’t know if they go smaller.
I use the smashed barb 2488 in 22 and 24 for tricos.
I like gama C12BM for 26 and 28 midges.
My $.02
All men who fish may in turn be divided into two parts: those who fish for trout and those who don't. Trout fishermen are a race apart: they are a dedicated crew- indolent, improvident, and quietly mad.

-Robert Traver, Trout Madness
Jmd123June 19th, 2018, 6:34 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2509
TONY! Where have you been? Good to hear from you again. How's your fishing these days?

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...

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