The one thing that big Fred Contaoi has sunk a hook into more often than fish is his hand…er…hands. His big bear paws have more piercings than Paris Hilton…and he added another one the other day while wrestling with an angry steelhead on the Mad River.
Fortunately, this one was barbless and popped right out…which brings me to my own personal policy on barbs: I rarely use them even where legal.
I’ve pulled a lot of hooks out of clients over the years…and out of my own skin as well. Some of the incidents that involved barbs resulted in premature ends to fishing trips…while we’ve always been able to keep fishing after someone has gotten stuck with a barbless hook.
And then there’s the whole conservation end of things…barbs can tear fish up and make them extremely difficult to release in good condition. I pretty much go sans barbs for all species — unless it’s something like Chinook that I know for sure are going in the box.
My two cents worth…