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Barbed or barbless? What I’ve found

by James
(Tucson, AZ)

In my experiences fishing both barbed and barbless hooks for multiple species in both fresh and salt water, I’ve found both have their place. To me, one is not overall better than the other. I use many hook sizes, many types, different gauges of wire, different metals, but regardless of these features these principles apply to my fishing. Here they are: All of my fresh water hooks are barbless. Be it bait fishing hooks (small to medium), in-line replacement hooks, or the treble hooks I have on larger lures for larger freshwater game (the only occasion I use treble hooks). All of my saltwater hooks are barbed. I have much less salt water tackle, and usually fish bait. Therefor my hooks consist of large bait hooks, any hooks on a plug, and some sabiki rigs for smaller species. I keep these barbed as the salt has much more challenges than fresh water. Large swells, lifting fish up piers, pulling fish from rocks. The barbed hooks just hold the fish better. Not to mention salt water fish are much heartier than freshwater fish. These are just my observations so let me know if you have any suggestions.

Comments for Barbed or barbless? What I’ve found

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Jun 20, 2019
barbed vs barbless
by: joe b.

A person would probably net more fish using barbed hooks but....Sunday I caught a huge toothy jackfish...trying to release him the top set of trebles buried in my left thumb...luckily I had crimped the barbs and it popped out easily. However if I had been handling him correctly I probably wouldn't have hooked myself anyway.

Jun 21, 2019
My saltwater hooks
by: James

I don’t use trebles on my saltwater plugs, all have singles on them and like my other salt water hooks they are barbed. The only occasion I use treble hooks is on my larger hard-baits for freshwater game, and these trebles are barbless. I’ve never really had a hard time removing the barbed single hooks from saltwater game, or any of the bait hooks for that matter. I have however had a pike throw a treble into my hand during unhooking, but I was able to remove it with ease as it was barbless. Thank you for sharing Joe!

Jun 21, 2019
Barbless For Me
by: JJ


Nearly all of my fishing is done in small-to-mid sized freestone mountain streams, where wild/native trout are the quarry. I exclusively use barbless hooks, primarily to minimize any injuries to the fish, but also because some of the regulations require it. My experience shadows those that Chris mentioned in his recent trip report. I find that trout smaller than 8 inches tend to wiggle off more than 50 percent of the time,especially Rainbows. The Brown trout are usually larger, and I find that I "land" them more consistently. Interestingly, the Brook trout are almost always 10 inches or less, and usually between 6 and 8 inches, yet I tend to get more than half of them in hand. Some of these are long-line releases, but about 25 percent of them come unhooked right at my feet. I’m strongly considering adding a landing net to the mix, but, as a hike-in fisherman, I have resisted for fear of constantly snagging it on the undergrowth I tend to bushwhack thru. I enjoy the presentation, and the take as much as the fighting and landing of the fish, so the fact that barbless hooks don’t hold quite as well doesn’t really bother me that much.


Jun 21, 2019
by: Terry Farmer

I'm with JJ. Long distance releases and release at my feet are my favorite "landing" techniques. The take is done and the fish sustain minimal damage. I tip my hat to self released fish and say "well played my friend". Barbless all the way for me.

Jun 21, 2019
Thanks for your feedback!
by: James

Thank you all for your feedback. It’s definitely made me think a bit. As I’ve said all of my freshwater hooks, regardless of use, are barbless. As far as making my saltwater hooks barbless, I’m re-spooling all of my big game/ saltwater reels with mono. The stretch of the monofilament combined with the cushion of the rod tip should keep even the more wild fighting species pinned. Therefor I plan on making my saltwater hooks barbless as well. Again thank you all for your suggestions and feedback. Tight lines!

Jun 24, 2019
Barbless Trebles
by: Craig

I’ve set myself on some baits that I really like but they are barbed trebles and I am not a fan of the stock hooks. I’ve had Browns bend them on an aggressive take. I have found some barbless trebles I will be trying out. I have tried single hook on my lures but the action isn’t quite the same.

Jun 25, 2019
Barbless trebles on lures
by: James

Craig, that is the main reason I keep my trebles on my lures. Good to know it’s not just my picky lure action preferences. Tight lines.

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The hooks are sharp.
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