One of the on-going debates within carp fishing centres around barbed vs barbless hooks, their pros and cons, and impact on fish care.
Some anglers will swear by barbless, others will only fish venues that allow barbed, or micro-barbed hooks, such is their belief that it makes the difference.
Fish care, or a lesser impact on the fish, is at the forefront of the argument in favour of barbless hooks, you can see the logic behind fishery owners wanting to enforce barbless hooks only, as they feel it does less damage to the fish, specifically their lips/mouths.
One of the biggest problems for carp comes when an angler’s line snaps and the carp is left with a rig in its mouth. There are plenty of safer, drop-off lead style rigs out there these days, but in the event of an angler using a strong leader, for example, the fish runs the risk of becoming tethered to a snag and dying from exhaustion. This is not so much a critique of hooks, or hooking patterns, but rigs and how easily they can be ejected by the carp.
A barbless hook in the mouth of a carp is not such a problem, carp have been seen knocking their head against the lakebed to dislodge hooks, they know how to eject the hook itself, its when the rest of the rig is trailing around the lake when a problem occurs.
Barbless anglers will also argue that using barbless hooks has not resulted in them losing more fish, the opposite in fact, they will readily argue that because there is no barb on the hook, entry into the mouth of the carp is easier.
Barbed hook connoisseurs will argue the opposite, of course, stating that barbed hooks cause less damage than barbless alternatives, as they do not move in the mouth once hooked, only damaging the point of impact, and with modern, tungsten coated micro-barbs, the damage is negligible.
Whilst a micro barb offers little or no resistance to the point penetrating sufficiently, it undoubtedly reduces the chances of it coming back out again whilst playing the fish, especially in the event of having to give slack line if the carp becomes snagged.
There are a few venues which only allow barbed hooks, CEMEX venues for example, they believe that a barbed hook moves less one hooked and causes less damage.