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Discussion Starter #1
How do you feel about removing the barb from hooks?

Is it a scary proposition?

Should a fisherman do it all the time?

Some of the time?

What do the fish think about it?
 

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:D Maybe we shoud take a survey, interview the fish in a few lakes and ask them "what do you fella's think of barbless hooks?" Imagine that conversation now...fish sticking thier heads up out of the water..."Oh we love those hooks".... "yeah...it's so much easier to escape you fishermen when you use those hooks"..."well i don't agree", shouts a big daddy cat..."none of your hooks are good, you fish murderers!"...

Never mind me...i have a strange imagination. ;D
 

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For me it depends where I am. If flyfishing I have no problem using the barbless hooks,makes it easier to let them go. If we are trying to put fish in the cooler give me the gaff. ;D

I don't have an ethical opinion on it one way or the other though. To each his/her own as long as it's legal.

Walt
 
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depends -- but usually when I have buried into my thumb I prefer barbless.
If it is buried into a fish I prefer barbed.
 
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Wow! THIS subject ought to stir up some controversy! Nawanda, you must be fun at family gatherings!

For the record, I am with wmccree for the most part.

I get pretty particular about selective harvest with walleye...I think it's important not to fish out a particular year class or to take all the large ones I get even if it's legal...but isn't the point of fishing, to be CATCHING?

I know you can catch fish without barbs, but as long as you are careful and do not rip that hook out of 'em alng wth parts of their faces...I vote for my barbs to be left alone most of the time. (For the record, I don't fish for trout on purpose, so I am not suggesting we get bigger pitchforks and go after those tiny little things...!) I am speaking of warmwater species, which in my humble opinion, are normally more hearty and seem to have higher survival rates after release.

By the way... I ALSO prefer barbless as opposed to the emergency room...(Had a barbed one under a fingernail for several hours once, until the ER Doc wrapped a piece of string around the shank, and ripped that sucker outta there..for 350 bucks!!! She was a heartless Neanderthal!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Koni,

You've got a great imagination, as in the news reporter coming on TV and saying:

"Big Catfish accuses fishermen of ethics violations! Fishermen deny all charges as "a trumped up attempt to avoid responsibility for Lakeside scandal! Get all the DETAILS @ Ten on NEWS 7!!!"
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EYEGUY:


LOL! Hardcore, aintcha!? There's nothing like the professional, tender care of a compassionate Doctor, living up to the highest standards of caregiveing and patient interaction. I bet you keep a large pair of pincer pliers in your back pocket on every fishing trip now doncha? But you are one tough hombre. With Koni's imaginative news reporting skills, you will be the perfect INTERVIEWEE giving first-hand experience of your encounter with those mean barbs and how you survived the encounter. Wait till Koni starts a media Charity Fundraiser to send you money! There, there....isn't that all betters?

Since your are both experienced and with a conscience to match EyeGuy, you make a good subject for reflection, for the reason that you are neither totally FOR nor Totally AGAINST barbless and you do care about the fish. I have much the same view. I don't mind occasionally keeping the barb on when fishing for large catfish. It means I can keep a big fish that KONI might have gotten next week, if I was Catching & Releasing.

I did lose a nice Largemouth once, with a barbless lead-head Jig, but I think I lost it cause the drag on the Zebco reel wasn't worth squat and I was screwing with it to fix it. I was rewarded though, with a spectacular splashing leap, and a head shaking display as the Bass shook the jig back at my head. So that loss was my fault. I don't really think I lost the fish just because it was barbless.

It seems nice to have a barbless when unhooking a Pike that you wish to release because it reduces the chance of getting chewed up. I don't preach barbless as a must though. HOWEVER......now I can always tell the people: "W'all, there's this here feller went to the 'Mergency Room with a Barbed Hook embeded under his NAIL an spent hisself 350 Bucks to get done what any Manicurest wouldda done for TWENTY! Now go figger!"
 

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Barbless or barbed it really doesn't matter for fish survival according to studies I've read and a couple biologists I've talked to. If the fish is hooked in the mouth, and handled properly, its gonna live regardless which type of hook you used. If the mouth is bleeding heavily, it has nothing to do with the barb, you may just have hit an artery which barbless hooks wouldn't have prevented, unless they are smarter hooks. To each his own though; personally I think barbless hooks are unneeded, but that's just me.
 

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Barbless (or smashed barb) hooks are the only way to go!

They set deeper because the lack of a barb reduces the effective diameter of 'point'. Think about it for a second. And, after the hook has been set, it all comes down to skill, regardless of the barb.
 

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    Barbless all of the time! Barbless on everything, from my bait rigs, to all of my homemade lures. I have done this practice since I started fishing a long time ago, so I do not know any different. I do not lose too many fish, and if I do then not a big deal. I do not keep fish. I release everything I catch. I like to give the greatest chance for the fish to get off. ??? Ya, I know that sounds crazy. But, that way when I hook up with a trophy, I know in the back my mind that he could pop off at any time. That forces me to be very accurate in the way I fight the fish. For me it brings a new dimension to the fight. Usually when the fish gets close enough, I drop my rod tip and away he goes. My lure is in the water before that fish is back on the bottom. In my opinion the least amount of human contact the greater chance the fish will recover, and recover fast. The plus side, it tends to get me shaking in my boots all that much more. But again, each person has their own opinion.
 

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Barbed or barbless, for me depends on where I am and what I'm throwing for. It is also a requirement for a few places I fish which takes the guess-work out of my hands.

Most of my trout gear is de-barbed. Especially those little spinners with the trebles...those can really tear a fish up if they hit it hard and the barbs are still on.

When I tie something on for the kids, that is barbless as well. Better safe than sorry.

The rest of the time I throw gear as it was purchased. The bass don't seem to have a preference and neither do I. I'm throwing artificial gear and release 99% of the fish I catch. If I see my gear is damaging a fish, I will crimp down just for peace of mind.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Pope,

You write a very convincing post. If you do not mind me asking, sometime, when things seem slow, maybe you could write some things about the finer points of playing fish?

Also, are you saying that you can release a fish that you've brought in, merely by lowering your rod tip?

Even though I like the barbless idea, it sure doesn't mean that I've mastered the fine art of playing fish. I figure, the higher the rod tip, the better. Keeping tension is on....better. And if the fish goes to jump....lower the rod tip. I've played big fish on light gear with success, but I confess that I've probably got a weak point or two.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
_colorado said:
Barbless (or smashed barb) hooks are the only way to go! 

They set deeper because the lack of a barb reduces the effective diameter of 'point'.  Think about it for a second.  And, after the hook has been set, it all comes down to skill, regardless of the barb.
--Colorado

Now _Colorado, you've brought a bit of science to your point. I must confess, that's a whole 'nuther angle that I did not even think on; but the way you put it, I am impressed with it. :D
 

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I use barbless when I'm fishing catch and release waters, but I use barbed usually when I'm fishing everything else.
It really depends on what I'm fishing for and what I'm using as bait/lure.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
ePic,

That you alternate, shows that fishermen are, more often than thought, eclectic. This is borne out by others who have posted on the topic. Likely as not, fishermen will use some barbless fishing, and some barbed fishing, depending upon how they are fishing.

Some are set against going barbless at all, and you can guess that it's because they are just fearfull of losing many of their hookups. I think the fear is reasonable enough. After all, I used to be in that camp, i.e. 100% set against removing a barb ever.

Probably the biggest selling point (one I sold myself on, by practicing it) was the ease of releasing fish once hooked. It's a big plus for me. The faster I release, the faster I get back fishing :D
 

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I think the biggest use of a barb for is it to keep the bait on more than the fish. A juicy night crawler, salmon eggs or live minnow slides off to easy withour the barb there to stop it. Once a fish is on it does not seem to matter a whole lot as long as you don't allow slack or too much tension. Soft drag but not too soft.
 

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I lose maybe 10% more fish on barbless hooks then I do on barbed hooks so its not really a matter of hookset with me since I dont lose very many fish anyways so 10% is maybe 3 or 4 fish. And that could be from other things then my hookset to. I fish with worms and marshmellows and eggs alot and I think especially eggs that the barbed hooks hold them on longer. So after I catch a fish its easier to just throw a couple more eggs on the ones that are still there and cast back out. Worms too when especially when fishing for panfish with out the barb I lose worm chunk after worm chunk from these little masters. With a barb they seem to have to suck up the whole thing instead of the worm right off the hook.
 

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From what I have learned in college and from biologists the country over, including CDOW biologists, barbless hooks have a mortality that is about half a percent lower than barbed hooks. These studies have been conducted for years and shows there is no statistically significant difference between the two.
Most barbless hook requirements are pushed by fly fishing guides. I hate being harrassed by guides on rivers for not crimping down my barbs when science and experience shows there is no difference. I just tell them this and if they continue spouting I will ask them what size rod and how heavy of line and tippet they are using. If they are using gear that is too light, I just tell them they are playing most every fish so long that the fish builds up lactic acid from fatigue and succumbs to metabolic acidosis. That usually ends the conversation.
For this reason, I never use barbless hooks, though when I'm fishing for trout on rivers I usually use gamakatsu hooks, which have smaller barbs. Barbless hooks just too often equal lost fish.
Unless you are gut hooking fish, which is rare regardless of whether you are using bait, lures, or flies properly, their isn't a significant difference.
 

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I see a lot fewer ripped lips, broken jaws, bleeding gills and other damage to fish caught with barbless hooks. It seems most of the damage occurs when removing the hooks. I can also get deeply hooked fish back in the water with less damage with barbless.

I feel that this should help reduce the mortality. But then again maybe it just takes longer for the fish to die?

Dan
 

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Hook remove is a technique, if you dont know how to do it you are going to rip the lips, break the jaws, rip stomachs out or whatever with either hook. Ontop of that so does handling a fish, the DOW should have a section in the fishing pamplet that shows how to hold large fish, pike, trout ect and a section on how to remove hooks or proper ways to cut leaders leaving hook in so fish will survive.
 
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