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Mswen

Barbless Hooks?

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Last summer I heard something about pinching down the barbs on your hooks.  I didn't give it a whole lot of thought until last Wednesday evening, when I was fishing at a golf course pond.  I was  trying to unhook a feisty little bass and it flopped free.  The struggle eventually ended with one treble hook in the soft tissue between my left thumb and forefinger.  Meanwhile the rear treble had found it's way down by the belly and underneath the gill plates, hooking both gills with all three points.  I had my right hand around it's midsection, trying to keep it from struggling and pulling the hook deeper.  Thankfully my dad was there, or I would have had a hell of a time getting at least one of us unhooked.

Long story short: After that experience, barbless hooks seem a bit more appealing.

The basic argument that I heard was that barbs were originally intended for preventing live bait from escaping or being cast off, rather than for keeping fish on the line.  The guy that was talking about it said that he might lose a fish here and there, but overall it didn't seem to make much difference.  It seems to me that there are other factors that are more important- keeping the line tight, anticipating jumps, the right rod. 

Just wondering what others' thoughts were?  Have you tried pinching down your barbs?  If so, what did you think?  If not, would you consider it, if not required?  Would you fish a tournament that required barbless hooks?

 

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I have used a lot of pinched down barbs or barbless hooks while fishing in Canada for pike & lake trout. The consensus of barbless versus barbed hooks was pretty much even. No realized loss of fish from the pinched down barbs but the unhooking process was much easier for the fish & fisherman. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to anyone. The only noticeable issue is giving a fish slack line during the fight if an enlarged hole develops while fighting the fish. 

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I've been using crushed down barbs on all my hooks, single or treble, for many, many years now. I believe I land as many fish as ever before, when I use to use barbed hooks. But you do need to do your part and either back-reel or have a well conditioned drag. Most importantly, you must maintain pressure on the fish. Have I never lost a fish with a barbless hook? Of course I have. But did it spoil my day? Not a chance. It merely provides increased safety for myself and the fish.

Let me add that I have found an increase in lost fish when using the drop shot if fished barbless. Fishing for smallmouth a lot using this presentation, hooked fish tend to jump. Not a problem per say, but the swinging drop shot weight gives the bass just enough leverage to throw the hook in many cases. So, my Gammy SS/DS hooks (I only use these in size #2) have retained the barb. Besides, they are usually hooked in the top lip and removing that is easy and comparatively safe. JMO. :)

 

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I use almost 100% barbless with trout flies, and if you can keep them off slack line they are fine. I feel like jumping fish are more likely to spit the hook but that might be selective memory. 

Very active bass that like to breach during the fight might do better with barbed hooks. 

All of my bass lures (and flies) are barbed. 

I think you could get away barbless on large single hooks like t-rigs or chatterbaits (or even doubles like frogs) that often get through the roof of the mouth but don't think I'd do it with trebles as I find those skin hook more. 

I fish 100% catch-release ftr. 

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I pinch the barbs down on all my perch and panfish lures to make it easer to unhook them.   I have started doing the same on my MWF jigs as my catch rate is sometimes high enough that the barbs slow me down.  Most of my larger presentations I leave the barb on as larger lures and hooks seem to be easier to get out of the fish. 

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I crush down most of my single hooks and treble hooks all the time.  When I take the hook out of the bass mouth the hooks are easy to take them out.  Also, if a bass gets hooked in the throat it's easy for me to take the hook out.  I wish all the hooks in the stores were non-barbed hooks. 

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I fish barbless about half the time depending on what the game is.In the salt looking for a meal,the barb stays on. Plinking fresh water the barb is usually off. Its  c& r so what diff does it make if there is an escapee.

I once stuck a 5/0 hook on a 1 oz jig in the side of my leg as I jerked it away from a bluefish. I was just oh so thankful the barb was  down on that one . I just eased it out with only a tiny drop of blood forming.I was alone but remember saying aloud,"$$%^)(*& I know that hurts",but it didn`t

Some say barbless hooks stick  fish deeper [penetration,not throat deeper]so I think that could be good or bad depending on where it sticks and also on the size of the hook?

C22

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I pinch down barbs regularly for exactly the reasons mentioned, and I don't believe I lose more fish in the end because of it. It's possible I lose some I would have landed otherwise because the hook slides out more easily without a barb. But faster unhooking means more casts, and more casts means more bites, and more bites means more hookups.  Additionally no barb means less diameter to penetrate to the bend, making hooksets more reliable, as well as potentially a smaller hole in the mouth sometimes. I am convinced these advantages, if anything result in a net increase in the total number of fish I land, easily offsetting any fish I might lose by a barbless hook falling out...which can be minimized anyway with careful play and proper drag setting. 

 

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Interesting responses.  I'm curious how many pro-barb fisherman aren't replying to this post.  I smell a survey.

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I went barbless (crushed barb) with soft plastics years ago due to deep hooking. I then extended it to treble-hooked lures -cranks and topwaters. It makes hook-sets easier, and releases cake. Very few lost fish I could say were due to being barbless. Fish I have lost were due to slackening of line and jumps. Some species, and certain conditions, fish are more apt to jump. I've always back-reeled with spinning gear and am long used to handling fish.

The lures I do not go barbless with are jigs, where the weight is tightly affixed to the hook. Fish can spit loose a barbless jig too easily IME. I keep a barb on heavy casting spoons too.

The trend in quality hooks nowadays are micro-barbed hooks, compared to the giant barbs of yesteryear. And when I knock down a barb on trebles I mash it, but not all the way.

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I've been a proponent of barbless bass fishing for many, many years.  My preference is to file the barb off rather than crimp it.  I've come full circle about keeping my spinnerbaits barbed and most of my smaller jerkbaits and crankbaits have barbs left on the front (or middle) treble hook.  I agree with Crestliner about the drop-shot hooks and fish that technique barbed.  Lighten up the tackle and go barbless = more enjoyment.

 

oe

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I'm a pro barb angler, and I don't fish barbless because most studies conducted on barbless versus barbed hooks show no statistically significant different in post release mortality. I believe barbless only regs are thus biologically wrong. 

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I too prefer barbed hooks, although I am well aware of the caution you need to take to avoid getting stuck past the barb with them.  When a big fish is near the boat, everything & anything will happen and I want every advantage I can.  I believe that in close range, a barbed hook gives you room for error. 

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I wish my buddy who sank a 4/0 gamagatsu into my scalp had pinched the barb.  :-)  Another advantage of barbless.

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I pinch the barbs almost all of the time with the exception of tournament fishing. after all I catch and release 99.9% of the time,100% bass but a snook when in season once a year. 

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I am pretty sure most of those barbless are also the same ones preaching catch and release. Both of which I don't have a issue with. However don't start in like a Jehovah’s Witness telling me how I shouldn't keep a legal catch once in a while or how I am wrecking the lake because I prefer barbs. 

As long as everyone is legal I don't care but I'm barbed. So get your head out of the way I'm casting :hammerblows: 

 

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I haven't crimped down any barbs yet but lately and especially since reading this thread, I've noticed that with some of my bass (esp. with the hook in the side of the mouth) a long and wide hole has developed and I feel lucky to have not had the bass shake loose.
Am I setting the hook too hard or is the side of the mouth gonna always rip that far and wide?

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My hands are a bit arthritic so I started de-barbing flies to make it easier to release a trout.  I was lucky and did the same to a large popper when I started fishing for bass.  It made it a non event getting the popper out of my forearm  after the wind and my poor casting embedded the popper to the shank.

I pinch now but I sat down with a dremel and took the barbs off all of my lures and don't mind a bit.  Likely I am a half bubble off plumb but I don't care if I catch (land) a bass or not.  Strikes are the thing for me.  If they get off on the trip to the boat it is OK.  

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On 8/2/2016 at 7:34 PM, flyingmonkie said:

Interesting responses.  I'm curious how many pro-barb fisherman aren't replying to this post.  I smell a survey.

I'm not really pro-barb, I guess I'm just lazy. I've been fishing barbed hooks my whole life and it hasn't been a problem or a hindrance in any way, so I will stick to what I know. 

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16 hours ago, S. Sass said:

I am pretty sure most of those barbless are also the same ones preaching catch and release. Both of which I don't have a issue with. However don't start in like a Jehovah’s Witness telling me how I shouldn't keep a legal catch once in a while or how I am wrecking the lake because I prefer barbs. 

As long as everyone is legal I don't care but I'm barbed. So get your head out of the way I'm casting :hammerblows: 

 

Don't worry yourself, S. Sass, I won't be anywhere near where you are fishing. I don't remember seeing anyone preaching to you about keeping fish.  Great attitude.

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