Barbed v barbless hooks is a debate that’s been going around for years. There are various different reasons people may be for, or against with either hook option, but what we really need to discuss is ‘What is the best option for the Carp’s welfare?’ It’s all very well wanting to land as many carp as possible, that’s the end goal isn’t it? But there has to be certain rules in place when fishing to make sure that the Carp’s welfare is at the top of all anglers priority list. After all, if we don’t look after these creatures we won’t have them left to fish for in a good condition in the future.
There are many arguments to be had for barbed v barbless hooks so there’s no set rule which is better for the Carp. I've listed a few points below for and against each pattern of hook.
Firstly, why would an angler want to use a barbed hook over a barbless? The main reason is when a barbed hook goes in the mouth it is much more difficult for that hook to come out again. This is due to the barb gripping the flesh which in turn should mean less fish lost which is what all anglers desire. Although, many would argue that a barbed hook causes more damage to the Carp’s mouth. This damage can occur when a barbed hook isn’t taken out correctly. However, on the contrary, barbless hooks can also cause more damage to a carp than a barbed, there’s a couple of reasons for this.
One being that some anglers believe a barbless hook moves around more in the Carp’s mouth causing it to tear the mouth slightly or causing a bigger hole than necessary. Another reason a barbless hook can damage a Carp is that there have been reports of Carp lodging themselves in weed-beds once they have been hooked. When a barbless hook is used the Carp has been able to shake the hook out of its mouth when snagged in the weed-bed then as he goes to swim off the hook which has now been ejected has re-hooked the carp but this time, not in the mouth but in the pectoral fin or the body. This in-turn obviously causes a lot more harm for the carp which wouldn’t have happened if a barbed hook was used.
Different tackle companies also have different styles of barbed hooks. There’s obviously barbed and barbless but also micro-barbed. A micro-barbed hook is still a barbed hook but with a much less significant barb. Some anglers will favour these style of hooks as they do the job of a barbed hook without possibly causing the damage a hook with a bigger barb may do if it was taken out incorrectly.
In summary, the barbed v barbless hooks debate is something that two anglers could discuss all day. There are pros and cons to each and it really depends on the style, venue and the angler using each hook. At the end of the day it is our duty as anglers to do all we can to keep our precious quarry in as good condition as possible. For that reason it is important that we respect the fishery rules at each lake we fish as each will have its own set of rules.
Most venues will have a barbed or barbless rule which will have been put in place by the fishery owner to ensure that the carp are kept as healthy as possible. As anglers it is then our duty to abide by these rules; hopefully meaning the Carp can be kept in best condition and looking just as good for when the next angler is lucky enough to catch them!