Barbless Hooks [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Barbless Hooks

08-27-2002, 09:48 AM
As I recall from our earlier survey, most folks here advocate barbless hooks for both Fresh and most Saltwater fly fishing applications. There are some managed no-kill trout waters where Barbless hooks are mandated yet the local tackle stores sell flies with barbs still intact.

I would like to suggest that tackle shops, particularly those next to such fisheries offer to crush down the barbs on all flies purchased.

I'm interested in what others think - anglers and any tackle store owners?

Would such a move have a positive impact on the fishery?

Would it make people more aware?

Is it even necessary or do the vast majority of anglers already do it?

Dble Haul
08-27-2002, 10:20 AM
I think that your second question, will it make people more aware, is the area of biggest potential impact. IMO it doesn't really make any sense for a shop right on the river with barbless rules to sell flies with barbs. By mashing them down (or not having barbs in the first place), anglers new to the local water in question could have further reinforcement of the regs.

Good question. I wasn't aware that any of the shops around here on the barbless reg waters sold barbed flies.

08-28-2002, 06:02 AM
From a safety issue its far easier to remove a barbless hook than one with a barb. Years ago in a trip to Maine a fellow angler got a hook stuck in his eye and the surgeon*had a difficult removing the barbed hook. FishHawk

08-28-2002, 08:52 AM
I don't think it's the flyshop's place to make that decision for us.

I fish a lot of midges in the summertime > sz. 20 which sometimes won't stick without a barb. They always pop right out of the fish's jaw so I see no reason to mash.

That said, I debarb my wolley buggers and nymphs in the spring when the easily-fooled state hatchery clones are present in numbers. These guys need to make it through the summer and the big hooks can be a little tougher on them.

I think the majority of the flyfishing community is aware of the barbless revolution. I would rather see the state agencies crack down on POACHING which is prevalent in my neck of the woods. With over 25 days on trout streams so far this year (primarily
C & R areas) I have yet to see a warden :tsk_tsk:

John Desjardins
08-28-2002, 09:09 AM
Originally posted by BigDave

I think the majority of the flyfishing community is aware of the barbless revolution. I would rather see the state agencies crack down on POACHING which is prevalent in my neck of the woods. With over 25 days on trout streams so far this year (primarily
C & R areas) I have yet to see a warden :tsk_tsk:

The policing is inconsistent at best in MA. This year I met 2 EPO's on the water while fishing with spinning gear. Yes, I'm occassionally guilty of crossing over to the dark side and they were the first two wardens I've seen in 14 years of fishing in MA. . Neither of them asked to see my license which was in my wallet as allowed by law now. It really pissed me off the second time as the officer walked away from talking to me to a group of fishermen and the first words out of his mouth were "can I see your license".

08-28-2002, 09:26 AM
I understand that the vast majority of commercially tied flies are tied overseas. Generally they are generic patterns that are distributed worldwide. Companies like Mustad, Wapsi, Tiemco, etc are selling their product on a worldwide basis. Some fly shops have requested specific patterns for an particular area and or hand tie their own. But those flies are generally sold at a premium price to the customers. Ever wonder why a size 22 yong special cost $1.95? Not much more that a piece of thread and a hook. Until C&R becomes more of a world approach to fishing, or our market has enough of the overall percentage to demand those flies, I'm afraid we are doomed to mashing down our own barbs on the cheap flys. ;)


08-28-2002, 11:08 PM
When I worked @ Big "O" SanFrancisco, we sold barbless flies. No one asked for them, and most that we sold were probably by accident. I'm not sure that that Orvis still sells them. On the retail side, flies represent a HUGE investment. Stocking two styles of the same fly is a nice idea, but not so $mart.
It would seem that most people want to pinch the barbs down themselves. I suspect that many people go back and forth, not really convinced that they don't need barbs. How many times have you helped a buddy release a fish and the barb was intact? "Oh, I must have forgotten..."
Here is a question: If you were starving(not sporting), would you crush your barb?

08-28-2002, 11:36 PM
If I was meat fishing I would probably not be fly fishing - more likely chunking or live-lining ;)

I was thinking more along the lines of Fly shops offering to crush barbs down as a "Free Service" rather than carrying two styles.

I got to thinking about this since getting back to freshwater after so many years and not having tied anything smaller than a size 6 crazy Charlie. I'm in the fly shop buying flies and they all have barbs. When I tie flies I crush the barb at the vice, then I dont have to think about it. Best habit for store bought flies would be crush barbs before putting them in the flybox - rather than having to think about it on the water.

John Desjardins
08-29-2002, 09:15 AM
Eddie, If I were meat fishing it wouldn't be with a fly. It would be bottom fishing with bait on a circle hook.

Adrian I fish barbless ~ 95% of the time. As you mention the secret is to debarb before putting the fly in the box. The 5% of the time I fish with a barb is due to not debarbing before they go in the box. I can only remember 1 shop Ive ever been in offering hooks that were already debarbed. The problem is I can't remember which shop it was. :(

08-29-2002, 12:00 PM
I like the idea of having the shop personnel offer to crush the barbs. It would be more educational than having the barbs pre-crushed. Maybe they could also have a pair of needle nose pliers on a "leash" near the flies that are for sale, along with a sign explaining what the pliers are for, so that patrons can mash their own barbs if they wish. If the shop is near a river with special regulations, they should also have those regulations clearly posted in the shop.


08-29-2002, 01:44 PM
If I was fishing for food I would use a long line...but don't worry, I would share with you guys.
I suspect that any good fly shop would be happy to crush the barbs down for you. Have you asked? I've had customers ask me this befor, and was happy to oblige. They would call in the order and the prepaid flies would be waiting for them to pick up. The logistics of having the shop crush the barbs while you wait seems a little silly though. A customer could just as easily crush the barbs down themselves when they sharpen the hook. Most store bought flies need this too. I like the idea of the pliers on a string with instructions. That's good thinking. Maybe if things aren't busy, instructions on hook sharpening(and barb crushing)could be offered but remember, most shops have to be understaffed just to stay in business.
Maybe the heart of the issue is,"How can shops take a more active role in promoting conservation of the resource?"
Now that is a good question. I think that many shop owners are worried that sales will be lost. This is true, but a shame. I have always beleived that in many cases, the shop(especially with conventional tackle) is the last opportunity to educate anglers.
It takes a confident, sensitive and committed shop guy to continually promote C&R and general conservation when some customers are openly offended by the concept. This I know from experience.
Promoting barbless hooks is just one of many things that shops can do. Wading ethics, release techniques, sharing the water, fish fighting etc. etc. These are issues that are most successfully addressed with beginers and the local shop is one of the best places to share this information. I think that most shops do this already.
I think that customer with good ideas should share them with their local shops.

08-29-2002, 02:21 PM
Only remotely related to the last few threads, why not preprinted bags with such wisdom imprinted on them. You know, instead of the local football/volleyball schedule, etc. Maybe a tackle supplier/manufacturer could take on this printing burden for the shop. Less obtrusive than a preprinted flyer inserted into the bag. Just an idea...


old man
08-29-2002, 02:38 PM
All the flies that I ever bought had the barbs on them and before it/they get casted into the water the barbs are pinched down. I'm not to lazy to pinch my own down. When I end up tying a few I usually try to buy barbless hooks. All the hook makers have them. Just an old man rambling.