Merwin: Fair or Foul Hooked?

In the April 2009 print edition of F&S, I describe a new "hookless" flyfishing system designed to enhance fish survival in catch-and-release fishing. Click here to read the article. Flies with no hooks are tied on short rubber tubes that can be looped on your leader. A bare and barbless circle hook trails the fly by a foot or so. When a fish chomps on the fly, the fly itself is pulled from the fish's mouth, and the circle hook becomes embedded on the outside edge of the fish's jaw where it will do the least damage. No more hooking fish in the gills or throat as sometimes happens with common J-hooked flies.

The 1-minute video above will show you exactly how this all works. Meanwhile, answer me this: Is the fish foul-hooked or "snagged" by this method? Or hooked fairly? Remember, the fish is hooked on the outside edge of its jaw and not directly in the mouth.

There's been a lot of controversy over that question since Pat Moffitt at Moffitt Angling introduced this system last fall. I've fished with Moffitt and found the system works as intended. But fair or foul? That is the question....