Before Cuba I dutifully went through and crimped barbs on my tarpon hooks. I had heard, I thought, a crimped barb could better enter the tarpon’s notoriously bony mouth. So, when I got to Cuba and opened up the box of flies I had tied and the guide said “oh… no barb. No good.” I wondered if I had gotten the whole thing wrong (as I sometimes do).
After I got back and stewed on it a while I decided to ask Dr. Adams from the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust.
Turns out, I wasn’t off the mark. I was spot on.
So… crimp those barbs if you feel like it and fish the patterns you tie and if the guide gives you stick, just put it on when he isn’t looking and have at ’em (and if that doesn’t work, quietly go with the fly the guide wanted).