Barbless Flies Blog- Murray’s Fly Shop– Edinburg, Virginia
Many years ago Dupont admitted that in spite of their very best efforts some mercury accidentally escaped into the South River. The Virginia Commission of Game and Inland Fisheries promptly issued a ruling that it was illegal to take fish from the section of the river downstream for human consumption.
They did not suggest that we could not fish, which many anglers believed, just simply that we should not eat the fish. This greatly reduced the fishing pressure on the river. Many days I would fish all day and never see another angler.
At this time I was testing the effectiveness of barbless flies verses barbed flies. I would fish a specific fly tied on a barbed hook. Then the same fly tied on a barbless hook. I would fish these each for one half hour on water of equal quality. I counted only the smallmouth bass I hooked and how many of these I landed. Then I concluded that I landed 30% more bass on the barbless flies than I did on the barbed flies.
This testing went on all summer and the results were the same.
The reason for this difference rests in the fact that many of the bass I lost on barbed flies were the result of not being hooked securely. This is where the hook penetrated beyond the hook barb. These bass were just hanging onto the point of the hook. A slight flip of their body freed them from the fly. Conversely those fish hooked on the barbless flies showed that the hook had penetrated to the bend of the hook which held the bass securely.
Today I use only barbless flies for all of my trout, bass and saltwater fishing.