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PINCH YOUR BARBS!


jim bielecki
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I have caught some good smallies, size and numbers. I have pinched my barbs down every time I've gone fishing for smallies and encourage everyone to do the same.

 

You've all heard this before, but I'll say it again...when a fish is hooked it's fighting for it's life and uses alot of energy...when you take it out of the water to unhook it, the fish is deprived of oxygen...

 

Complicate this with damage to it's mouth or gills from exposed barbs and you've just decreased it's ability to survive...

 

and if it does...you have just decreased it's ability to "gorge and grow"...

 

everyone wants to land a "20"...make sure you're doing your part to ensure an opportunity!

 

FYI...a smallie grows about 1 pound every four years...a four pound smallie...well...that's a 16 year old fish!

 

Tight Lines!!!

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I couldn't agree more!! I pinch the barb on every fly I tye and every hook I throw with my spinning gear. Even when a smallie is deeply hooked because it inhaled the soft plastic, removing the hook is SIGNIFICANTLY easier than one with a barb. Of course, the potential of tearing their mouth up while trying to remove the hook is next to NIL with a barbless.

 

Another aspect that is detrimental to the fish is not bringing it in fast enough. As much as we all love to have a fighting smallie on our line, do NOT prolong the fight for the sake of your enjoyment. Land the fish, don't take it for a walk! The concept of losing the fish because you "muscled" it in doesn't fly with me. What's more important: you touching the fish (i.e. your ego) or catching that fish again due to a healthy release?

 

OK, I'm stepping off the soapbox. Thanks!

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I thought that it took bass approximately 2 years to grow one pound. Is that for Largemouths only and Smallies grow twice as slow?

 

The differences in growth due to environmental factors would give you a wide range of things to say about black bass growth and still be correct in some lake or stream or another. Diet, age, stress and temperature have a huge influence on growth rates.

 

Smallmouth and largemouth growth rates tend to be similar during the first year (with a slight edge to largemouth in some systems), and then largemouth tend to grow faster in later years. The growth of males of both species gets bogged down by the stress of spawning.

 

The maximum age of largemouth and smallmouth is less than 20 years (I think one largemouth might have broken that record...but my memory is 19 years, not 20). A fish of that age is senescent and probably isn't growing much at all.

 

None of that is intended to contradict the original point...pinching barbs is exactly the right thing to do, and older fish are in general bigger fish.

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I think growth rates in the wild vary...I don't remember where I've seen it but 1 pound for every 4 years is what I remembered...

 

I agree with Tim; different variables effect growth rates in different parts of the nation. I think you would find smaller growth rates in rivers where the fish need to expend more energy to swim amongst rocks and currents to find food. When you isolate one variable you can make comparisons...more than one variable...well... it's difficult to make predictions...but that's what science is for.

 

So if you ONLY compare the environments of smallie habitat, lakes may be an easier habitat to live, which can contribute to larger sizes. They don't have currents to fight against or rocks to navigate around in quick water. You may find that smallies found in rivers may be more lean and fight harder because of energy expenditures required to live day to day...the fish's muscles are trained and toned...just like people who excersize and lift weights.

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