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  • Barbs

    Just to share 2 things on this topic.

    The way I learned: I mash the barbs down on my flies. I do so because where a friend and I started fly fishing (Anchor River), we heard some of the locals/regulars there would give you the business if they saw barbs on your flies upon landing Steelhead. In a catch&release fishery, it made perfect sense anyways, so we didn't mind. In the years since, I haven't noticed much difference in fish landed - that is, when I fished spin gear in Florida with barbed hooks, I occasionally had fish spit a hook and I still do - with no notable difference in the frequency. It's not hard to keep the line tight and minimize the opportunity for hooked fish to spit. Those times when I get caught with slack line, it hasn't been a problem either. Just luck maybe, I don't know, but thought it interesting.

    A different perspective of the resource: A few years ago, Dennis McAfee told me about a weekend trip fishing the Kenai. There was more to the story, but at one point he described the trout he saw as a bit "soremouthed". Now, I didn't ask him what he meant, the point of the story was something else, but I assumed he was referring to the small lip scars I see sometimes on larger Kenai Rainbows. It gave me a new perspective on the resource. These fish are large and fierce because they live long (with great nutrition on a river ideally suited to optimal conditions), but may be hooked repeatedly over the years.

    I like mashing the barbs down - doing something for the resource. It's a personal thing. It has a way of sharpening my focus while fighting fish. When fish get off, I figure they won one round. I've heard guys call it "early release" - and an early release is probably healthier for Rainbows, eh? When landed, I have come to favor what veterans call "wet release" - release without removing the fish from water. A delightful fringe benefit of that approach has been the "wet" photos that I've taken the past few years look even better over the years. Thinking about all those healthy Rainbows and Steelhead in the years to come makes it easy and kind of rewarding.
    No habitat, no hunter.

  • #2
    another easy way to barb your hook is squeeze the barb and the shank w/ your needle nose and twist at the same time and it generally snaps the barb off.
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    • #3
      I know when I go to pinch my barbs I hear it snap.....Then i press more to flatten my hook out...Have I lost some pigs, errrr hogs cuz I do this....God yes...It is called fishing not catching....Getting schooled by a hog is not a bad thing....They dont get that big cuz thier stupid.....The piggys I have lost is not when the anchor down and fight.....It is when they get piss and head south and start rolling...That barbless hook does not hold...Oh well......I got my ***** kicked by a good fish....Next cast please
      Grandkids, Making big tough guys hearts melt at first sight

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      • #4
        Yup, pinching a barb on a mustad 340 series hook will pretty much guarantee that the point will break off at the chip.

        Gamakatsu, not so much, but they do occasionally.

        Owners have a different, softer steel - they bend out a bit more, but I haven't snapped one yet.

        When I pinch barbs, which is pretty much all the time, I do it very carefully and delicately, and I do it from the back of the barb, with the minimum pressure needed to fold the tip of the barb down onto the hook proper.
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        • #5
          I really like tying on hooks with "micro barbs" like Tiemco, optimally just buying barbless hooks are good too... The best part of course (aside from hurting the fish less) is that you can get the flies out without pliers/clamps which greatly increases the life of your fly.
          I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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