When you walk the floor at ICAST, sometimes it’s easy to get drawn in by big, flashy things like lure tank tests and huge reel displays. If you don’t take the time to zoom in and focus on some little stuff, there is a good chance you’ll miss something noteworthy. Yesterday, I found myself at the Castalia Outdoors booth where they had some awesome new lures and reels, but what I liked most was their Maruto Semi-Barbless treble hooks. This is the kind of item you can skip over if you don’t slow down and really study everything.

These Japanese imports are made from high-carbon and are chemically sharpened, though that’s nothing new. It’s the point that’s innovative. In lieu of regular barbs that protrude out, the super-tiny “barbs” on the Marutos are notched into the hook. It’s not easy to see, in fact, it’s easier to feel them. If you look at the top right corner of the photo, the illustration on the package shows you what’s going on.

According to Castalia, barbs increase resistance on a hook point as it’s trying to penetrate the mouth. These points penetrate much faster, and the pressure created by keeping your line tight presses the little ridges into the mouth, essentially “locking” them in place. After landing, the hook slides out with the ease of a true barbless and the fish swims away happier and healthier. Not to mention, they’ll slide just as easily out of your fingers, arms, or the back of your fishing buddy’s neck. I have a sample pack I’m looking forward to getting wet.

What do you think? – JC