Barbless Hooks On Lures

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The trouble with trebles

I hooked a nice trout out of season a few months back at Cockroach bay. The trailing treble hook caught in the fish’s side; On removal, it peeled a huge sheet of skin off the side of the fish. My heart sunk and I knew this fish was going to die soon and it would not be in a pleasant way. The barbs just held on to the skin and when the fish pulled about half the skin on that side ripped off. It was as if the fish had been wet laying on newspaper and upon lifting it the paper stuck in the outline of the fish and then fell back hanging.

I started pinching my hooks down as recommended by Captain Tom and Kirk recently and totally forgot how convenient it is and how much better it is on the fish. I was trying various lures on a recent trip that was providing plenty of fish and switched to a lure that was never used that had the barbs still on it while not even thinking about it. It is only when I landed a fish with it that I noticed and became painfully aware how damaging and more difficult it is to remove the barbed hooks from the fish especially when the trailing treble winds up it a gill.

Until then I was releasing all my catch as we don’t always take any home. Once a month at best is plenty of fish for the family especially considering mercury and other contaminant in regard to small children and expectant wives.

In a long sort of way, Thanks Kirk and Captain Tom for the tip regarding mashing the barbs.

I enjoy fishing with the family for sport, connection to nature and sometimes even eating a fish not for destroying them. I did not see any less success in the mashed barbs on my lures (even on a 41 red day) and the barbed ones except on the punishment received by the fish (one lure had barbs). I use 2/0 circle hooks when not using artificial (used with shrimp) and they have small barbs that have not caused much in the way of problems but the big j hooks and especially the trebles are nasty with little benefit. Rely on your skills keep the fish on the line and not barb, keep your line tight with plenty of springy rod bend and offer the fish you are not going to keep a clean release in exchange for a moment of sport with him.