Talk me out of tossing my barbless flies [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Talk me out of tossing my barbless flies

08-06-2000, 05:10 PM
My last fish on the rip trip was definitely my biggest, last seen @ 100 yds out when it spit the hook.

Saturday on Monomoy I had two big boys take me to the cleaners as well.

I'm looking for suggestions or tips on how others handle big fish. I''ve been using side pressure, trying not to high stick em & break my rod (a little rod shy after the spring Monomoy clave), using barbless hooks.

Any & all suggestions welcome.


08-06-2000, 06:14 PM

As you know I am relatively new to striper and fly fishing, but I like the forum and the people and want to interact as much as possible, to learn as much as I can from you guys. So I'll tell you what a guide, who works out of Wellfleet, told me when I lost a big fish earlier this year. He told me to really wack the fish and set the hook deep as the fish is swimming parallel to me. This way I will not pull the hook out of its mouth as it swims parallel. You said any and all so that is my two cents worth.

Let me know what you think, the rookie needs all the help I can get.

I've been using barbless, sure is a lot easier taking the fish off the hook.

Tight lines,

08-06-2000, 06:41 PM

I've hit the same roadblock. I lost a couple of nice fish for the exact same reason. I don't plan on keeping any fish so that's why I bend 'em back but, if I'm targeting large fish from now on I'm leaving the barbs intact. It's not a problem to push the hook through the wound and crush the barb for release. Just my .02

08-06-2000, 08:13 PM
Hello Roop;

It's great you are getting into big fish. I honestly think you are doing nothing wrong. I always fish barbless (with a conservation bend) and I've had fish in the 20lb range and have not lost one yet (I sometimes loose smaller fish, however). I wouldn't change a thing - it's probably just "bad luck". If you keep doing what your doing you probably won't loose another for a long while. Make sure your hooks are sticky sharp and that you set the hook when you feel the fish. Keep the pressure on during the struggle.


08-06-2000, 10:39 PM
I hit the fish 3 times with a side way hook set,some times I lift the rod to set the hook and I get mad at my self for doing that, it has cost me a few nice fish. I try to control the fish and kick it's a$$ quickly I don't let it control me.

08-07-2000, 01:57 AM
If I keep good pressure on the fish, and it gets off, I always assumed that the initial set was poor.
As far as barbless is concerned, it is not a performance issue for me. Barbless is the way I play the game. We all make rules for our selves ( not useing scents, only fishing dryflies, snagging spawning fish with treble hooks etc.) and thats one of mine. I have my reasons, but they are debatable.
Tight Lines, Eddie ps. if you're going to toss your flies, can I have 'em?

08-07-2000, 07:06 AM
I was setting the hook but stopped since the day we were out with Art on his boat. He told me I was going to break my rod. Maybe I was too high and should set them to the side. I had the same problem as you loosing 2 bigguns right beside you (maybe we should stick to fresh water doh).


08-07-2000, 07:57 AM

A couple of thoughts.........I have found that a strip strike, followed by a strip strike and rod lift have worked the best for me. The other thing that can cause a problem is when you have a big fish pulling line right after setting the hook, is how you clear line thru the guides and out of your basket. I find it critical that while clearing the line, I have the line go thru my left hand (I am a right handed caster and reel with my right hand) and put as much tension so as to keep tension on the line and fish. Also, take a look at where your hands are when you are clearing the line. Do they go up above your head whne clearing the line ?? My experience tells me that my hands should be around face level and not much more. I find that I get slack in the line when I lift my hands higher when clearing the line. In terms of fighting the fish, your post mentioned side pressure. I am a big beliver of side pressure. I try to fight all big fish on the sides as much as possible. This just seems to work better for me.

My feeling is that the benefits of barbless outweigh loosing a few fish (easy for me to say !)

Tight lines (litterally !!)


08-07-2000, 08:37 AM
I agree with John regarding the use of side pressure when fighting a fish but when I set the hook the rod tip goes to one side my line hand goes to the other and my hands are generally slippery enough to allow the line to clear with the right amount of tension to keep connected. I too fight them aggressively and have lost some but usually because the hook didn't get around the jaw or just ripped out. One thing I've used from shore is to let the fish run while holding the rod straight out. When it gets tired I then reel back without pumping the rod and still keep the rod pointed at the fish or just slightly elevated(like a shock absorber if it decides to do something unexpected). The only time I can see you'd have to lift the fish with the rod is from a boat if the fish goes straight down; otherwise let the waves and the constant straight pressure bring the fish to the beach. Just my $.02. ron

08-07-2000, 08:50 AM
Hey Roop,

I am far from being an expert fishing barbless as this is my first year but that being said I think I have only lost about 5 small fish due to the barbless hook.

Assuming the hook was set well(and that is easier with a barbless hook) I believe there is only one thing you need to focus on. KEEPING THE SLACK OUT OF YOUR LINE! As far as side pressure goes I don't think that is smart until the fish is in close. At a distance the angle of pressure is only minimally changed and you have more line in the water. With more line in the water it is much easier for a bow to form in your line providing a good oportunity for slack to occur. Even if the fish is on the reel remember you can strip faster than you can reel if the fish runs at you or you can always run back up the beach like I did on the tip trip.

If you're interested in visiting the North River twinkie factory Mike and I will be hitting it one evening this week.

08-07-2000, 09:06 AM
Maybe it's those Mustad Hooks Juro gives you such a hard time fishing with!!!!
As much as it hurts the pocket, I've bought a few Gamagatsu (sp?) hooks and have had fewer misses, still using the same techniques you mentioned. Just food for thought!
Zinck (Love the Mustad hooks however)

(Roop, let me know if your interested in heading out on Saturday 8/12/00! I also did not sign up for the Rip TripIIa outing) Monomoy sounds good, but I'm willing to go anywhere!)

Jim Chase
08-07-2000, 10:07 AM
What size hooks are you having these problems with? Generally barbless hooks make for better penetration and an easier hookset. If you've set the hook and are keeping pressure on the fish it may be more an issue of hook size. I find I lose more good fish with smallish flies than I ever do with 3/0 and up. Smaller hooks equals less "bite" and smaller wire. Both these factors make it easier for a hook to work through the mouth tissue, enlarge the hook wound and pull out. Sometimes you can do everything right and just be unlucky. If conditions dictate a small fly, losing a few good fish is the price of the playing game. Some folks may have more landing sucess in these situations because they have learned to feel just how much pressure they can get away with depending on what's on the business end of their leader.

i'm so outta here
08-07-2000, 10:54 AM
Roop - look at it this way: our little gang of fishing fanatics regards an LDR almost as highly as a fish landed. There's no shame in losing a fish so long as you make up a really good story to go along with it

Look at it another way: lose a fish, keep a finger, hand, or other useful body part....that is, aside from the potential of losing fish, barbless hooks make hook removal much easier when it's yourself or others you've hooked. The risk of infection and subsequent amputation can't be under emphasized. For this reason, the first thing I do when sitting down to the vise is moosh or snap off the barb -- and yes, I've lost fish due to this practice, but I'd rather suffer a moment of disappointment than a lifetime of regret. My .02


08-07-2000, 01:04 PM
Nobody, but nobody has more lost big fish stories than I!

Seriously, you may have noticed that I do have a lot of "ya should've seen the one that got away" stories. Sad to say they are all true. Some of you have been standing next to me.

I am so anal about barbless that I use a dremel tool to grind them off. Got to, if you're ever showing people how to cast in ocean conditions. I've also been witness to barbed hookings of various body parts, and don't care to see any more thank you very much.

But I don't think the big screaming only see backing brutes that I have lost (including the one in the rip just down the beach from yours) are 100% due to lack of barb. For one thing, when the fish gets that far out in a current your chances of keeping the line tight enough to prevent a headshake from springing a hook are pretty slim; barb or no barb.

I am thinking more about the two-hander and the ability to put a deeper bungee bend on the fish instead of keeping the barb.

Good topic, but count me in the dedicated barbless crowd.

08-07-2000, 02:03 PM

Can you sharpen the mustade hooks so they will preform better?


08-07-2000, 03:35 PM
Criag -

You sure can... but then again you have to!

If I were one to really spout on the topic I'd say...

<font size="1">those Mustad barbs are as thick as the hook itself. Top quality hooks use a minimal barb. Those mustads wear out my dremel battery on one hook trying to get them sharp and remove the barb. More defects in a single pack than a lifetime's worth of Tiemco's. Poor steel quality, wears dull in one high sand dune backcast. I've never bent open a SW Tiemco hook on a fish... mustads don't even last as long as the feathers!</font><!--1-->

But I won't

08-08-2000, 06:58 PM
Thanks to all for the thoughts and suggestions.

It's such a haunting feeling, the muscle memory of clearing the line, the feeling that the rod's about to be pulled out of your hands as you chase the fish down the beach...

I am a firm believer in barbless so don't worry (especialy Sully the next time he crowds me on the Bass river)


08-09-2000, 07:54 AM
As a result of this thread I'm tying up some new sandeels on 2/0 and 3/0 hooks. Dressing them heavier too. I think I get it now. Sticking with the barbless too.


08-09-2000, 11:46 PM
Roop, I actually was able to ask Lefty Kreh about the same thing. his response surprised me..." with a very sharp barbless hook, you will lose more fish. maybe 3-5 more a season" huh???!!! then he continued " but you'll hook about 10-12 more a season, with a net gain of about 7 fish" I'm no expert but it made good sense to me. Tom D