A very interesting series of posts on the Forum at the moment covering the Barbed Vs Barbless debate.
As with most things in life there’s 2 sides to every argument and whilst I’d always thought that the pro-barbed argument was more about it being to the anglers advantage (as opposed to the carps) I must admit to having my views challenged. Here’s a couple of extracts;
Pro – Barbed
I much prefer a barbed hook as I also think mouth damage is minimized when compared to a barbless hook. A barbed hook generally makes a small neat hole that easily and quickly heals whilst a barbless hook is more prone to slipping and slicing therefore making a larger wound. If you take you time removing the hook rather than ripping it out then a barbed hook shouldn’t cause much more damage than a barbless hook.
I do think that hooks are just part of the equation in causing mouth damage. When a hook pulls it doesn’t come neatly out of the hole it’s created in the carps mouth but rips and tears it way out. I also wonder how much mouth damage is done by people using super stiff rods that are so fashionable these days and not playing fish but simply winching them in.
Stiff rods and in-efficient rigs are the main cause of hook pulls/mouth damage.
From a personal note I definitely prefer barbed hooks and so long as sensible care is taken when removing them I am convinced they cause less damage to large fish (small fish are a different matter altogether).
I also go a stage further and avoid fine wire hooks. Technology allows the manufacture of much stronger hooks per wire guauge hooks these days which I personally think is a step backwards in the welfare of the fish. The finer the wire the more chance of it cutting loose.
If I was running a venue full of carp up to mid doubles I would make it barbless only. Anything larger then definitely barbed but make sure the anglers take a little care to see which way the hook has gone in before trying to remove it. I would also insist on every angler carrying wire cutters as it is often the case with a awkward hook hold where you are better passing the hook through and snipping the shank rather than try and reverse it’s passage particularly when the hook has caught hold a second time during the fight.
Pro – Barbless
Touchy subject this one, and I know I am the minority in this very ancient long running debate but I am definitely pro-barbless.
Owning a “barbless only” fishery and seeing the fish come out week after week, year after year with no lip damage at all has completely given me confidence in the choice I made when setting the rules for the lake.
Although all of our anglers use carp safe end tackle, One of my concerns is that if a fish does snap you off as often happens on our lakes, you end up with a potentially lip hooked fish and this can mean its dragging a high breaking strain rig i.e. a stiff rig, couple that with something like lead core and you can have fish in real trouble. I have also not heard of a single fish coming out of our lakes with extra hooks in their mouths showing that every snapped off carp does shake the hook out very quickly, whereas a barbed one wouldn’t come free.
I do however agree 100% that bad angling can have a lot to do with ripped lips i.e. rods as stiff as broom handles, lines as thick as a Scania tow rope and bad unhooking. In my own experiences I have never had to use side cutters though I do carry them (when I’m fishing that is!) and an antiseptic such as Klinik is a must for any good angler anywhere.
Apart from the odd lost fish during the playing in where anglers let lines go a bit too slack sometimes, I have still not seen anything to change my mind on this.
So there you have it… diverse but never the less credible opinions. It’s not the first time the hook debate has been covered on this Blog. You can find an excellent piece by Jon Perkins here.
So barbed Vs barbless… do you have an opinion?