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Thread: The merits of using barbless hooks

  1. #1
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    Default The merits of using barbless hooks

    Crawling through a tunnel of overgrowth, trailing two rods behind me and my son right on my heels, my rod became snagged in the ensuing mass of brambles. I gave it a pluck which was immediately followed by a yelp! My fly had found its way to the tip of my rod, which in turn found the lobe of my son's ear. There was not much I could do to help him at the time, since we were both hemmed in, and the only way out was to either backtrack or continue forward, so I chose the latter, with him in tow on the end of my rod. I must admit, I battled to contain my laughter as I continued to creep forward, but managed to supress it sufficiently so as to not seem completely insensitive. To add further insult to injury I insisted on taking a photograph before removing the hook, but I managed to convince him that was necessary, explaining that this was one of those defining moments in flyfishing and that no fly fisherman worth his salt has not had a fly imbedded in some part of his anatomy at some point, and that this was one of those extremely photo worthy occassions. He reluctantly agreed. Fortunately, the fly was a #18 barbless and it slipped out without any further pain or further ado.
    Now why do I hear everyone shouting "Shame!"
    Flyinear.jpg

  2. #2

    Thumbs up I agree

    I agree, i've been fishing barbless for the last 4 years and have had better hookups with fish ever since. Plus it makes releasing them after capture so much easier. One would think barbless would result in more long line releases but it doesn't, provided correct pressure is applied to the fish at all times. I found with tigerfish especially, the hooks set a lot better than barbed ones.
    It's easy to make flies barbless...simply flatten the barb with a pair of pliers before or after tying the fly. There's the very real threat of a hook in the butt or some other body part when fly fishing (not necessarily from your casting but someone else's!)..barbless means no trip to the doctor and subsequent painful removal of the hook.
    Last edited by phly; 29-10-06 at 02:00 PM. Reason: fix it

  3. #3
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    Hi phly. I see you are new here. Welcome! Glad to see you are also a barbless fisherman and hope to hear a lot more from you.
    "Innocence is a wild trout. But we humans, being complicated, have to pursue innocence in complex ways" - Datus Proper

  4. #4
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    I de-barb all my hooks before I tie the fly, I just put it in the jaw of the vice and squeeze it flat.

    Personally I have had to remove 2 fly’s from people, both were my flattened barbs and both came out easily.

    The first was from a young lady’s finger, whom I was “guiding” on Borman’s Chase, and the second was from the back of my ear, standing in the middle of the Vaal, with blood pouring down my shirt as it must have gone straight into a vein. Hell I looked a mess; it looked as though I had been Extreme FlyFishing!

    But while I was a lighty growing up in PE, we used to go to the Krom River every holiday, and as only boys can, we were luck to get back with all our limbs, let alone our lives. I can remember a hook through my mate’s top lip, another in his upper eyelid and a Rapala (sp) with its trebles firmly embedded the back of his head. I only placed the one in his upper lip, the others were self inflicted. None of them were de-barbed and all took a hell of rigmarole to get out, luckily his dad is a vet, and I think we all had a little horse anesthetic in us at some point, I know we all had plenty of V12 antibiotic injections.

    I won’t go into the other things that happened to us, but the cottage’s journal make one hell of a good read, including the Blaas-Oppie’s spine ½ inch into my thigh, a Boomslang on the boat, a Puffy sleeping on my chest, the great flood of ‘7something and a small incident involving a chicken, a monkey and a tractor. , it was'nt me, I swear.
    To paint lines on a silver stretch of stream, is to be humbled by nature and to be closer to thy maker.

  5. #5
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    Howzit Dyno,

    This is slightly off topic but still to do with de-barbing hooks so I'll keep it in this thread (Just to let y'all know that I did think first whether it should be a new thread or not).

    I also used to debarb the hooks of my flies with the jaws of my vice and this is a nice easy way to do it and it flattens the barbs very well.

    I use one of the cheap eagle ones and I found that after a while of doing this the jaws began to crumble and eventually the vice was useless. I expect this from a cheaply manufactured vice, but if you are using a more expensive vice, just make sure that you are not doing any damage to the Jaws otherwise you may have to replace it sooner than you think.

    I still debarb the hooks before I tie but now I prefer to use an old pair of forceps that got relegated from my fly vest.

    Cheers
    Grant
    "So heres my point. Dont go and get your ego all out of proportion because you can tie a fly and catch a fish thats dumb enough to eat a car key.." - Louis Cahill - Gink and Gasoline

  6. #6
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    hehe, sounds like you have also enjoyed an interesting life filled with adventure of every kind Dyno. I hope to instill the same things into my youngster, show him the good old life, the way things aught to be!

    As far as barbless fishing goes, I wish more guys would adopt it. I have my suspicions that too many still use barbs, as is evident by the number of fish I catch with torn or disfigured mouths. The switch to barbless hooks is the first sign of a mature fly fisherman.

    I'll dont mind being harsh on this either, because I only have the fish's well being at heart. Anybody who still uses barbs are in my opinion 'niks gewoond' . They are so damn scared of losing a fish. Quite frankly, so what if the odd one comes off. Is it really the end of the world? Grow up guys!
    "Innocence is a wild trout. But we humans, being complicated, have to pursue innocence in complex ways" - Datus Proper

  7. #7
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    Grant I don’t think you are off topic at all, as I said in the “What Vice” thread, I have a mate who has been tying with a Traveler for close to 20 years, and has been flattening his barbs on that vice, with no side effects. But I know of many people who use pliers or a hemostat / forceps as they have had similar problems.

    I have found that by applying just enough pressure to flatten barb, puts little pressure on the jaws and the barb is not pressed passed the wire, just pressed nicely into the cut, where it cam from.

    Thanks Chris, I hope my son, who will be here tomorrow, has the opportunities my dad gave me. I shall give it my best go.
    To paint lines on a silver stretch of stream, is to be humbled by nature and to be closer to thy maker.

  8. #8
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    What a tough little man Chris - not a tear in sight! But what did his mother say when you brought him home with a pierced ear.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Shelton View Post
    I'll dont mind being harsh on this either, because I only have the fish's well being at heart. Anybody who still uses barbs are in my opinion 'niks gewoond' . They are so damn scared of losing a fish. Quite frankly, so what if the odd one comes off. Is it really the end of the world? Grow up guys!
    I use barbed hooks because I feel that I need any advantage that I can get, and yes, I hate losing fish, especially the big ones. I lost a 6lb+ brown at the net last season and it still hurts!

    A few weeks ago an experienced angler told me that he fishes barbless in hook sizes 16 and smaller, saying that he gets more hook-ups when fishing with the lighter tippet (6X and smaller). So there may be something to that.

    But Chris I think that your comments are a bit of a generalisation - certainly applicable to the western cape streams but perhaps not everywhere else.

  10. #10

    Talking HA

    HA! i had a good laugh at the posts..Sounds like some excellent times were had at that Krom River place, Dyno.

    I fish barbless regardless of hook size and it hasn't made a difference with losing fish or not really. I think when it comes to fish, if you land it, it was meant to be..that's that. I've found that sometimes i've done some really stupid amateur things and still landed the fish..other times i've done everything by the book and lost them.
    I like to use the vice for holding hooks only. A pair of long nose pliers is a much more expendable tool than a vice...
    Hear hear for looking after the fish by fishing barbless!Let them not be disfigured and have their ability to eat and grow hampered..so that when you next catch them they are bigger!

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