Barbless ? - Fly Fishing Forum
Bonefish, Tarpon, and other Obsessions Turquoise water, silver demons on the fly

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Old 12-26-2006, 01:21 PM
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Barbless ?

Seasons greetings to everyone !
I'm sitting here tying flies and preparing for my first trip to Acklins in March.
Question : Are barbless hooks the norm for Bone fish ?
What are you regular visitors to the islands doing with your barbs ?
thanks Trev
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Old 12-26-2006, 01:35 PM
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Barbless. My experience indicates that as long as you keep tension on the fish, it will stay buttoned. Easier to release fish when going barbless.
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Old 12-26-2006, 01:43 PM
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barbless for me like my acklins partner Jim Simms

better for the fish too, fast release
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Old 12-26-2006, 03:09 PM
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Thanks
Do you file them down or just flatten them with pliers ?
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Old 12-26-2006, 04:09 PM
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Flatten them with a pair of pliers. Sharp hooks are important. If they don't dig into a finger nail, they need to be sharpened. Most chemically sharpened hooks are sticky sharp. Mustad 34007 hooks require sharpening. Tiemco, Daiichi and Gamakatsu are chemically sharpened.
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Old 12-26-2006, 07:31 PM
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Trev,

Keep the barbs and smash them on the flats if you wish, espesially the crabs. The barbs won't hurt a bonefish or permit, as they are constantly pinched, poked and cut by their prey. It will make them a bit quicker to release, but if and when you hook up that permit while wading you will want a barb. The first run in the shallow water will be 200 yards, then it will come back at you faster than you can reel and you will want every edge! I have had three permit crush flies, literally flatten the hook ( my fault for not setting soon enough) but that is how tough their mouths and crushers are. A whole lot different than trout or salmon. Now if you are prone to sticking one in your ear or the guide's ear...!

Bob
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Old 12-26-2006, 08:18 PM
JR SPEY JR SPEY is offline
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My belief is similar to Bob's. I used to go barbless for all my flats' fishing. However, I dropped too many fish, especially big ones, by doing so. A gentleman with far more flats' experience than I'll probably ever have told to go back to barbless but use the new hooks with very short barbs. Man, what a difference. These days the only flies I use barbless down there are flies that have been tied on old 34007 hooks and the like. And for the most part I've given most of those away. Give me flies tied on Gamakatsu SC15 and SL45 hooks, or the superb Daiichi X452 models. With them you really don't need to go barbless and you'll keep far more big fish buttoned up. I fish barbless for almost all my freshwater fishing, so it has nothing to do with an aversion to barbless hooks.
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Old 12-26-2006, 08:58 PM
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Personally, I think barbed flies are the way to go for any species. They will allow you to fight a fish more aggressively without fear of losing it. I think this more than offsets any extra trouble of getting a barbed hook out since the amount of time you have to fight a fish is going to harm it much more than taking an extra 10, 20, or even 30 seconds to remove a barbed hook. The number one issue with barbed hooked removal in this guy's opinion is that people don't carry the appropriate tools to remove them. Forceps are fine and dandy for holding flies when you want to tie them on, or for pulling out tiny size 16, 18, or 20 hooks, but nothing beats a pair of needlenose pliers for getting out larger hooks. You can quickly and easily pop a hook out without damaging the fish's mouth, or at least with very little damage.

The one caveat I'll throw on this is that hatchery trout tend to have quite a bit softer mouths than anything else I've ever fished for, so it's easier to damage their mouths when trying to remove a larger barbed hook. I'll usually bend down the barb most of the way when fishing large flies for hatchery fish, but leave it sticking up a tiny bit.

Ok, I'll actually throw a second caveat on this. There's HUGE differences in how far barbs stick up on different brands of hooks. That can make a HUGE difference in how difficult it is to extract a barbed hook.
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Old 12-28-2006, 11:26 PM
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Barbless. Makes the hook set easier and if you lose a fish it isn't b/c of the lack of the barb- it is lack of skill.
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Old 12-29-2006, 08:13 AM
JR SPEY JR SPEY is offline
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That last comment is a crock. It comes from someone who must never have hooked into a bonefish over five pounds. There is no way to keep up with a large bone when it decides it's going to come right at you. I don't care how fast you can crank with a 1:1 reel, it can't be done. If the fish stays buttoned in that situation it's either plain old luck (especially getting the hook in exactly the right spot during the hookset) or it's because you have a small barb that does not allow the fly to drop out as easily during the inevitable slack that will occur.
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Old 12-29-2006, 08:34 AM
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I fish for bonefish somewhere in the world every 6-8 weeks. I have been doing this for about 12 years.
I have caught many hundreds of bonefish.
Six fish even over 12lbs (weighed with bocagrip), biggest 13.5.

I always fish barbless unless I have forgotten to crimp the barb.
I have lost very very few fish because of barbless hooks.

I fight the fish very hard and I want to release the fish as quickly as possible.

If the fly is in the fish's throat it is quite difficult to remove and if you fish with a barbed hook chances are that you will kill the fish.

I agree with Bob about crab flies for permit but when fishing for bones always barbless.

Pete
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Old 12-29-2006, 01:31 PM
JR SPEY JR SPEY is offline
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You know, after thinking about the above exchange this morning some things occurred to me. One, it depends a lot on the hook itself. If I were still fishing Mustad 34007 or 3407 hooks I'd definitely roll over the barb on them. Those barbs were too long and stuck up too high to make for a good hookset and they were a devil to get out of a fish. The same is true of a bunch of the older hooks. However, since I haven't used those hooks in several years I forget that a lot of guys still do. My bonefish flies are tied on Gamakatsu hooks (SC15 and SL45) and the Daiichi X452 and occasionally the X472. Those barbs are so small that releasing a fish just isn't a problem, and they won't usually fall out when there's a moment's slack, which can be nearly unavoidable as mentioned above. If you're successful doing what you're doing I wouldn't change a thing. However, I lost a 25lb permit and a 12lb bonefish on the same day using debarbed 34007 hooks several years ago. And I know what I'm doing. I fish for bones roughly 25-30 days a year and for permit for another 6 days at least, and I've done it for years. Switching to the better hooks and not worrying about debarbing them has made a world of difference in my fishing. Your results may vary.
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Old 12-29-2006, 04:19 PM
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I agree, those Gamakatsu SC 15's are great. Wide gap, strong, super sharp and that tiny barb is great. Releasing a bone is never a problem, given you don't let the fish swallow the fly. They really work well for Turneffe crabs and puffs that need the wider gap.
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Old 12-29-2006, 06:03 PM
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Barbs or no barbs aside, I'm just wondering what you all do for a living that you get to fish for bones and the like so much ?, I must be doing something wrong
Any way thanks guys for the input, I'll decide when I'm there and follow my guides advice I think, I'd like to try and get a few fish under my belt before I come to my own conclusions, thanks for all the input on everything
Happy new year to all Trev
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Old 12-29-2006, 07:33 PM
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Believe me, I'm no trust fund baby. I was a public school teacher most of my life and I put money aside regularly for retirement from the time I was 25 years old. I also run a business on the side now that I'm retired that helps to pay for much of the fishing. The key is priorities. I read so much of the guys who say they might be able to afford a week at a lodge some day if they win the lottery. I find it's much more likely to happen if you minimize your expenses on other non-essentials. I'm talkiing cigarettes, booze, the huge amount of electrical gadgetry out there, and the like. I still don't have cable, my home stereo system is almost thirty years old, my newest TV is 10 years old, and my cars run at least that long before I replace them. Believe me, if that type of fishing is enough of a priority, it can be done. If you think bonefishing is expensive, check out what it costs to fish for Atlantic salmon from a full-fledged lodge. I hope this doesn't come off as arrogant, but I give up a lot what many other people consider to be necessities so that I can afford to do the travel.
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