Never Tie Flies on Barbless Hooks, Catch and Return Fishing



Yes, that is what I say, NEVER, use barbless hooks when fly fishing.  I know this is not politically correct, and I am likely breaking laws just by talking about it, but it is a personal rule of mine.  I developed this rule after hours of child like tantrums that involve stomping and screaming, typically in the early or late hours of the day after losing trophy fish, only to learn that the dropper of my hopper dropper rig is no longer attached.

The idea of the barb, is to retain the fish so you bring a higher percentage of fish to hand after hooking them.  The idea of barbless fishing, which is often required per regulation, is to reduce the time you spend handling the fish before returning it safely to the river.  My ideas are not in conflict with this plan, I am merely suggesting you always buy barbless hooks and you always pinch the barbs down.

This does a few critical things even when you are “Catch and Return” fishing as a friend of mine recently called it.  Number one, it simply provides enough of a girth to prevent your dropper from sliding off the hook.  Number two, it also may provide enough of a bump to bring a few more fish to hand while still allowing the hook to easily come out without damage to the fish.

I think there is a third but secret reason for buying barbed hooks, and that is if it has just been a long time since you landed a fish, you have the option, out of desperation only of course!  Gasp!


My Favorite Pair of Barb Pincers

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