When fishing with barbless hooks what is best way to keep fish on? I get hits but have a hard time keeping them on.

Thanks Gary


While there is skill involved in playing fish on barbed or barbless hooks that is learned over time, I believe a higher percentage will escape or be involuntarily released with barbless hooks in the mix. Tell me are these hits coming when you are swinging the fly down stream or when you are dead drifting the fly and are reacting to an indicator movement??

Some of the misses are drifting under a floating indicator. Other times the fish is hooked and comes off. Thank you for your reply.


OK Thanks
Generally here is how I see it barbed or barbless.
Trout missed or briefly hooked while indicator fishing(dead drift) may be a reaction issue. Our reaction is too slow or in the wrong direction and we miss or just slightly bury the hook. The angler may feel a tug but it is fleeting

Trout missed on swinging, moving or tight line presentation can be due to them missing. They are chasing a moving fly and sometimes they miss. Many times they will bump the fly, get a piece of the fly or leader and/or the fly will strife against their body causing the angler to believe they have a valid mouth hooked trout. Especially on a two fly rig. 

Pressure(a bent rod) is key, once the fish is hooked. Pressure can be varied and/or directionally changed to steer the fish but it should not be let off. Slack line or lack of pressure at any time during the fight will most likely lead to unintended release.

Finally, a hundred variables or more can be at play at any time when we are fishing. Sometimes we just don’t have enough information(data) to answer our questions definitively. As anglers we tend to beat ourselves up over this dilemma. Immediacy is what we want, patience is what we need. The problem solving aspect of fishing can be the most gratifying or paralyzing. Don’t let it be the latter. Shake it off, throw the next cast. Make an adjustment. Learn:)


Thoughts on these subjects are always welcome.IMG_5158