Barbed vs. barbless debate resolved?


Active Member
Can someone post some links to some "GOOD BARBLESS HOOKS"

It seems on the west side (wet side) shops do not carry very many dry fly hooks let alone a selection of good barbless hooks with maybe a longer point. I fish both ways since I fish so many put and take lakes. If I actually fished small streams for small trout I would never use a barbed hook. But I chose to not even hook those smaller stream native fish and haven't for about 25 years. I have no need to catch 8 to 12 inch native fish and have to handle them.

Like mentioned, handling to me has everything to do with it. larger trout nets so the fish can remain up-right and relaxed covered in water while you are getting a hold of the hook with fingers or pliers helps a lot of fish. Many times when I'm pinching down barbs I will notice sometimes the barb doesn't get pinched all the way.

And what ever happened to the dry fly hooks that had a wire above the hook to tie may-fly tails on? maybe someone can help all of us and post a link for "good barbless hooks" thanks in advance.

Yeah I'm being lazy today and should just look for a link myself on this damn computer but figure some of you have already been researching this and settled on a place with good hooks at a good price.
This is how it works for me.
If I want to kill fish I use a barbed hook, If I don't want to kill fish, barbless. Simple
Same here. Not complicated..........

Also, when I release a fish I caught on a barbed hook it typically seems fine to me. The mortality I have witnessed would have likely occurred barbless or not because the fish inhaled the fly.

Red Shed

"junkyard spey"
If you use the new age style hooks with the tiny barbs, I honestly don't think it makes as much difference when releasing the trout as it once did when the hooks were produced with much larger barbs.
Well stick one of the "new age" style hooks with the tiny barb all the way through your left ear and a properly crimped barbless hook all the way through your right ear and then pull them back out. It will be obvious that it does make quite a bit of difference.

It shouldn't take any studies or articles to tell anyone with any common sense that a barbed hook is harder on a fish then a barbless hook is.


Indi "Ira" Jones
Ira you ever use his wide gap on dies? did those tend to sink a little more than regular. seems like a good idea when going small. wish he had some up-eyed ones. thanks, I had never looked at his hooks that much.
I don't tie a lot of dry flies, so I haven't tried the wide gap hooks. I do use scud hooks and jig hooks a lot on my nymph, chironomids and leeches. I like the gap and strength of their barbless scud hooks and their jig hooks have been working great.

Jim Darden

Active Member
I kinda side with the "old man" on this one. I've heard biologists say the barbless hooks result in more fatalies due to deeper penetration but my experience is barbless hooks are easier to get out of your hide and I don't seem to loose any fish so it is a matter of self protection, not fish protection.....

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
I always go barbless for trout and when fly casting, barbless for salmon when required by law (nearly everywhere in WA now, right?), but I like barbed hooks when jigging in the salt for bottom fish with coventional gear, because I am also food fishing when I go after them.

As far as I'm concerned, fly fishing for trout is a completely different game than jigging for bottom fish in the salt. For me, the former is purely for fun, relaxation, and entertainment out in Nature and away from crowds, while the latter is primarily for getting food, although it is also fun.
I remember well a few years ago when 3 of us were fishing for sea runs in the salt out of a 17 foot Whaler. My buddy was casting a large brown and yellow wooly bugger that he hung from my ear. It pierced it completely and shed a little blood. It was just hanging there like an ear ring. I didn't even realize it until he told me to be still and that he was a surgeon and it would be easy to remove. The only damage was the fact that the jackass refused to take my picture--what a great shot that would have been. He was right though--it slid right out. Barbless all the way.


Author, Writer, Photographer
The only problem with barbless hooks, imo, is everytime I stick some flies in my shearling patch either to dry or for later use, and then beat through some bushes, I lose half of 'em.

Then again, that's just another excuse to need to tie some more flies...

I had the same problem. I solved it by using a magnet instead of the shearling.


Old Man

Just an Old Man
I don't have to dry out my flies. I just snap them off in the bushes along side the skinny water here in Montana. Flies to me are cheap. What don't get tied up for me I buy. I can part with a few bucks when fishing. I don't smoke or drink' so I have to spend my money on flies.


Author, Writer, Photographer
When I was a kid back in the 1950s and 1960s, I filled the family freezer with trout. By mid summer my mother was giving them away. By the time I went into the Navy in 1968, I ate so many trout I didn't care if I never ate another one. When I read Lee Wulff's philosophy of catch & release, it made perfect sense to me. I got rid of my creel and had room in my freezer for meat like elk and venison. If trout tasted like Sockeye, I'd probably be bonking them on the head.

During the years I guided, I netted and pulled the hooks out of many, many, trout. That part of fly fishing holds no allure for me. I have so many grip n grin hero shots of me holding fish that I can't even tell you about the fish or many times even where I caught it. So landing a fish so I can get a photo isn't important.

Watching a trout rise to my fly still gets my heartbeat up even after all these years. Trying to outwit these brain stems with fins may seem silly to the non-angler types, but then spending hours on a Playstation seems pretty stupid to me. I guess that makes us even.

Call me shallow, but after I get a trout to take my fly, getting it to my net "so I can count it as caught" holds no importance to me whatsoever. I wasn't always that way, but that's where I am now. If I stick a fish and he does a little tail dance that throws my fly, I am not one to get angry. On the contrary, it's perfect in my POV. I got what I came for (that accelerated heart rate) and did very little harm.

We fly anglers sometimes delude ourselves into thinking just because a caught fish swims off, it's a sure sign we didn't kill it. But, I've shot elk through the heart with a 180 gr bullet and it ran over a hill and out of sight before it died. It's running didn't mean it wasn't dead.

My conclusion is this. If you fish with barbed hooks because of some need to keep score or because you want to catch and kill trout, I won't judge you. I used to do that very same thing. Personally, I think it's important for me to ask myself why I fly fish and what gear I need to satisfy the answer I come up with. If my gear is over kill, I change. For me, barbed hooks are counter to my reasons for trout fishing.