Posts Tagged ‘barbless


Limp Cobra on Eye/Hand Protection from the Hook

This will be a bit graphic and make you definitely blink a time or two: Limp Cobra on Eye Protection. Flatten the barb on a hook, be it a fly, spinner, bait, jig. Always wear eye protection while fishing, even in the Winter if you can. Have pliers/forceps handy. If the most terrible happens in yours or someone else’s eye have a plan and stay calm and practice psychological first aid. Think of shock. Panic. 


Image via Field & Stream 2011

I have remarked about this before. Where ever you are in the wilds; what is the plan for an emergency response. If nothing more momentarily think: I have the emergency numbers…I know where I am…I have phone service or no phone service…do I have an idea where/when I will have service and stage there for a response…how far is the nearest hospital in a town or area you may not be overly familiar with on an outing??? Just a few questions to run through the mind before and after you traipse off care free to the water’s edge.

Even at a minimum those flattened barbs or barbless hooks will back out of fabrics/materials so much easier…whether yours or the person standing too close to you.


Netting Fish: Head first

fishnetflysbBecause most of us practice catch and release, more often than not, it is important to minimize trauma to the fish prior to release. Some would say don’t even net a fish. 

Because I fish from a slightly elevated platform when on a lake, I use a net for larger fish. When netting a fish try to guide the fish into the net head first rather than tail first, especially if the net has a shallow basket. The fish can easily use its powerful tail to fulcrum up and out of the net thus prolonging the fight or you will probably, instinctively, over react in keeping the fish inside the net and possibly complicate the release process. Head first, the fish loses some power (not all…they are p0werful side to side too) providing access to remove the fly (barbed de-barbed barbless hooks please), revive the fish and safely release it to the depths to figure out what happened.


Handling Fish: Counter Balancing Our Ego’s & Excitement

A beautiful Trout is released back to the depths. Was it posed? Yes (SwittersB)

Handling Fish:

“Keep the fish in the water

Don’t lift fish out of the water – don’t even touch the fish if you don’t have to. Many fish can be released without ever touching them. Just bend over, remove the hook with your hand or with pliers, and let the fish swim away. Research has shown that keeping a fish in the water dramatically increases its chances of survival. Think of it – after the fight of your life, say going 12 rounds in a boxing ring or running a marathon, imagine having your air cut off! That’s exactly what we do when we lift fish from the water. Fish kept out of the water for more than one minute have a greatly diminished chance of survival, once a fish has been out of the water for three minutes, it has virtually no chance of survival, even if it swims away.

Keep your hands wet when handling fish

If you do handle a fish, and you do it with dry hands, it can cause some of the protective coating (“slime”) on the fish’s skin to come off. This coating is designed to protect fish from disease.” (more)

Here I hoisted a large Trout out of the water, in a net up, onto my apron. From there I work on releasing the barbed hook and lowering the net back into the water with the fish still in and release the fish once it looks ready to jet. Was this fish posed…hell yes!

Trophy shots of live fish…Fish Porn…Most of us do it. To celebrate the size, the beauty, the outcome, the proof, the epic quality of it all. But, most of us that do such things have close calls with fish that are too over taxed by the struggle to just jet away. They leave but then rise to the top, belly up or on their side struggling to correct. I pose few fish that are not partly in the water or but a few seconds out of the water.

But, if you end up in that harmful struggle on the bank, on the apron of a tube or the deck of a boat seriously don’t waste time with a stressed, stunned fish. No squeezing them to protect them while they thrash. If you celebrate the beauty and quality of those fish then forget the picture. Get the fish back in the water and make certain they are revived. 

This was a good moment. The fish was powerful and still fresh. But, leaning out like that, hollow foot rest and cradling the fish is problematic. It is precarious for me and the fish. If the fish jets and seemed ok then great. But sometime they surface 15 feet out from you and then a timely, often backwards response is in order as you turn, kick, position and attempt to recontact the fish in order to save it. As much as you cherish that fish is as much as you will feel panic or dread as that fish dies or struggles to survive. Yes, yes I know. Simply kill the fish. Well, short of hatchery salmon or steelhead I haven’t killed a fish in years. For many reasons. So, I do try to do all this recording of great moments in as expeditious/safe way as possible. Forfeit the picture if the fish is in harms way.


Barb That Hook!

The preferred process of removing a hook is from a fish. A barbless hook is easiest to remove from the fish, your ear, your shirt, your hand, your kid’s lip. But, a review is in order for all of us that come upon the poor soul with the embedded, still barbed hook.

As I sit watching Kill Bill: Vol. 2 for the umpteenth time, I am mindful that planning, forethought and readiness are critical in surviving major and minor mishaps. Of course, sooner or later we get nailed in some manner. But, don’t let it be the hook in flesh mishap.

“This method is quick, simple and relatively painless, as long as you get it on the first try. The secret to a first time success is yanking the loop of line, which is wrapped around the embedded hook, rather hard so the hook comes out on the first try. The reason you should get it out on the first try is obvious, the patient might not stick around for a second try.” (more)

I have seen this fine arrangement twice in the last few years. Both times gear guys whipping that rod back and then forth with a quick cast, kid sitting in the back of the boat and standing on shore, impaling their child in the lower lips.

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