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It seems these days more and more people practice catch and release fishing. With that, came the introduction of Barbless Fishing Hooks.
For a long time, the thought of throwing back something you have just spent hours trying to catch was unheard-of. Luckily, these days, fishing is more of a sport, rather than a food sauce.
Sure, we all like to take home a feed of fish, but slowly people have started to realize that if something isn’t done, we won’t have fish for future generations. This is why bag limits were bought in. Unfortunately, this wasn’t enough, as the damage that’s done to the fish when trying to release them often resulted in their death.
A good hook remover will help to minimize the damage done, But is this enough?
Barbless Fishing Hooks have gone a long way to turn these figures around. Sure, they might result in fewer fish caught (which also helps with overfishing) but that’s half the fun. In the following post, I aim to answer some of the most commonly asked questions about Barbless Fishing Hooks like:
- What is a barbless hook?
- Are they better than barbed hooks?
- Are they bad For fish?
- Are they more of a challenge to use?
- Can fish get off them?
- Can I make my own barbless hooks?
If I have piqued your interest, please keep reading.
So, What Is A Barbless Hook?
A barbless hook is a regular hook with a flattened barb. Barbless hooks can minimize fishing’s impact on our nearshore resources and protected species. Research has shown that barbless hooks work just as well as barbed hooks, they just require a little more practice and patience to keep the fish on.
Barbless hooks are much easier to remove, especially if you are using a hook remover of some sort. They are also good for self-shed. This is great if the fish breaks the line or is cut. Self-shed means that the hook will work its way out eventually, something that won’t happen with barbed hooks. Barbed hooks either need to be pulled out or rust out. Neither is ideal.
The great benefit is that they minimize impacts on protected species (no-take) and fish you are releasing. Hopefully, this makes for sustainable fishing for years to come.
Are Barbed Hooks Better Than Barbless?
I guess the answer depends on the individual and whether they are fishing for fun, or food. Barbed hooks have a higher chance of keeping a hooked fish on the line (because of the barb). But they also do significantly more damage to the fish’s mouth. Barbed hooks are also harder to remove, which will harm both the fish and possibly yourself.
In some countries and states it’s illegal to use barbed hooks for certain fish, so check with local laws before heading out. Barbed and barbless both have their advantages and disadvantages, here are a few.
- Helps to keep the fish on
- Increase hook up rate
- More chance of landing fish
- Can find them just about everywhere in all different sizes and types
- Does more damage to fish when removing
- Will do more damage to you if accidentally hooked
- Could be illegal for certain fish in certain areas
- Takes a lot of the challenge (and fun) out of fishing
- In case of bust off, stays in fish mouth till it rusts out
- Makes fishing more challenging and fun
- May be your only choice in certain areas
- Much easier to remove the hook
- Less damage to you if accidentally hooked
- Self – Shed in case of the breakoff
- Quicker release
- Can be harder to find
- More likely to lose fish, especially near the boat
- If you try to make your own can weaken the hook
One of the things I enjoyed when I switched to using barbless hooks, was pretty much learning how to fight the fish all over again. If you don’t keep constant pressure and your rod high, you will find you lose a lot of fish. It adds a whole new challenge to fishing.
Are Barbed hooks Bad For Fish?
The simple answer is yes. Some will argue that no hook is good for fish, and they are right. But it’s a bit hard to catch one without it. A barbed hook is designed to stay in the mouth and is hard to remove. Sometimes the damage you do just trying to remove this hook, especially if swallowed, can be enough to kill the fish.
Fishing hook removers have gone a long way to alleviating this problem, but aren’t much good in care off bust off, or when you don’t want to get close to the mouth. eg. sharks, barracuda, etc. In the end, if the hook stays in the mouth, it will be there till it rusts out, which could be weeks or months. This can affect feeding and could also kill the fish.
Can Fish Get Off Barbless Hooks?
Yes. Some fish that like to jump will often throw the hook, but this can still can happen with barbed hooks. Also, if they run straight back towards you and create slack in the line, this can help the hook fall out. If only just hooked, the chances are high that the fish will get off too. Even if they caught the line on a submerged object, like a log, the chances are increased.
The fishing world hasn’t yet found a way to make a hook that will keep the fish on, but still, make it easier to remove the hook. I’m sure people are working on that as we speak. Even if we did have something like that, you still have the problem of it taking some of the fun out of fishing.
Can I make My Own Barbless Hooks?
Making your barbless hooks is a pretty easy thing to do. You can make the hooks you already have barbless by simply pinching the barb down with some pliers.
Alternatively, you can mechanically grind down the points of the barbed with a file or grinder. Just remember, by doing this, they are no longer chemically sharpened and the point won’t stay as sharp for as long.
There is also a good chance you will weaken the hook, and have it break at the worst possible time. So, making your own might save you money to start with because you don’t need to buy new hooks, but could cost you more in the long run. I would rather not take the risk, and spend the extra money for peace of mind.
Are Barbless Hooks More Challenging To Fish With?
They definitely can be, and that’s half the fun. It takes the fish a lot less effort to dislodge the hook, as mentioned before. There are a few ways you can change the way you fight the fish to increase the chance of it staying on the hook.
- Always keep pressure or tension on the line.
With barbed hooks, if you take pressure off, or the line goes slack, you still have a good chance the fish will stay on as the barb will hold the hook in place. You don’t have this advantage with barbless hooks. If you take the pressure off, there isn’t anything holding the hook in except the fish’s mouth. Therefore, more chance the fish will spit or throw the hook.
2. Keep your rod high when fighting the fish.
The higher you keep your rod during the fight, the harder it is for the fish to get any slack line. This includes when they jump. I still use this technique with barbed hooks if fighting a jumping fish, as it’s harder for them to throw. If you don’t do this with barbless, your chances of landing your fish decrease dramatically.
3. Buy a ready-made barbless hook, don’t try to make your own.
Making your barbless hooks might seem like the better option, as it’s not hard. But remember, doing this will weaken the hook. The chances of the hook breaking are low, but the more it is used, the more the chances go up. So unless you want to put a new hook on after every fish you catch, you’re better off getting pre-made.
That’s a Wrap
I still recommend getting a Fishing Hook Remover Tool, as they lessen the impact and damage to the fish even more. You can check out some of the best ones on offer at the moment in one of my other posts. Barbless hooks are the way of the future.
You will find more and more places that require you to use them to fish their waters. This is a good thing and will help to preserve the fish stocks for years to come. So start getting used to using these hooks now, before you have no other choice.
I hope you have enjoyed reading my post, and that I may have answered some of the questions you have about barbless hooks. If you have any questions, comments, or feedback about this post, please feel free to leave a comment in the section below, and I will get back to you as soon as possible. As Always
Tony, Creator of Get Reel Fishin