Barbless for Smallmouth

Nittanycane

Nittanycane

New member
Joined
Feb 22, 2022
Messages
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Location
State College
Lurker for a long time, first time poster.

Does anyone else use barbless flies for smallmouth?

As many do, I transition to smallmouth fishing in the summer months and concentrate on topwater with poppers and foam flies, such as mr wigglies. The fish can take the poppers extremely deep, gulping the fly, and this can occasionally result in releasing a bleeding fish (I fish predominantly in C&R sections). Conversely, fish seem to take foam flies slower with a sip similar to trout on a spinner.

I’ve been crimping the barb on poppers and this seems to help with hook extraction on deeply hooked fish. I know that bass are hardier than trout, but fish mortality for slow-growth, river fish is something I’d like to avoid.
 
Yep, removing a barbless hook from your ear is way easier
 
I fish barbless hooks or crush the barbs for all of my freshwater fishing.
 
Of course a lot of people use barbless flies for smallmouth. I do not. It is a very, very rare occasion where a smallmouth is hooked anywhere but perfectly in the mouth for me.

Do what makes you happy.

Any time you see a fish bleeding from its gills from a hook injury that is deep it is 99% a goner, guaranteed.
 
Jifigz,
I think you are generally right about this. That’s how I still view it despite this interesting exception……
Years ago while processing a 20 inch or so wild BT on Fishing Ck, Clinton Co it flopped off the measuring boart onto a near-by rock, causing a major “gusher” from the gills. I released the fish and watched it slowly swim across the stream to the bank-side hole from which it had been electrofished. The bleeding was so bad that when it took its first two pumps of water across the gills, large “puffs” of blood came from under the opercle and into the surrounding water. I figured this fish was a goner. The next day we did a recapture run as part of the population estimation procedure and low and behold, the fish came out of the same hole apparently none the worse for the wear. I couldn’t believe it. Clearly an exception to the (my) rule.
 
Jifigz,
I think you are generally right about this. That’s how I still view it despite this interesting exception……
Years ago while processing a 20 inch or so wild BT on Fishing Ck, Clinton Co it flopped off the measuring boart onto a near-by rock, causing a major “gusher” from the gills. I released the fish and watched it slowly swim across the stream to the bank-side hole from which it had been electrofished. The bleeding was so bad that when it took its first two pumps of water across the gills, large “puffs” of blood came from under the opercle and into the surrounding water. I figured this fish was a goner. The next day we did a recapture run as part of the population estimation procedure and low and behold, the fish came out of the same hole apparently none the worse for the wear. I couldn’t believe it. Clearly an exception to the (my) rule.
Wow Mike, that is pretty incredible.
 
All my smallmouth flies are barbless. I've lost a few fish either by not keeping pressure on the fish or have it throw the fly/popper/streamer when it jumped when I first started fishing barbless. I've gotten better over the years. Still lose one occasionally. I also fish for them with spinning tackle, and I just changed out all the trebles for barbless ones, in preparation for my trip to Canada next week. As already mentioned, barbless hooks are easier to get out of the fish, yourself and the net
 
Barbless all the time.
 
Crush or remove all barbs, fresh and salt.
 
Barbless 90% of the time. I have a few tied on barbed hooks but pinch them when I find them.

Steve
 
Barbs 100% of the time. I don’t have a problem removing them from the fish or myself. Nets nowadays are impervious to hooks. If yours isn’t it’s time for a new net.
 
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