Merwin: Pinch a Barb For Fewer Stitches

Using barbless hooks makes a lot of sense much of the time, but I think too many people ignore the idea. I was rigging a box of lures this morning for my older kids to take striper fishing later in the week. And I took the time to pinch down all the barbs on a variety of treble-hooked plugs. No, I am not being mean--doing so in hopes they'll land fewer fish. I am instead thinking of them and hoping they'll fish more safely.

A fishing lure brandishing two or more sets of treble hooks is an awesome weapon--especially when you're reaching to land a fish that's thrashing about and whipping such a lure around in the process. One hook in the hand and another in a fish's jaw becomes a real possibility in this case. Been there; done that. And I didn't like it much. If the trebles are barbless, at least I know I can pull the hook free very quickly and easily in case of disaster.

Yes, I could use a net instead of grabbing a fish by hand, but most of the time when surf fishing there's no net available. It can be argued that barbless hooks actually hook fish better than barbed versions. That's because a barbless hook will penetrate deeper and quicker without a barb to get in the way. And I don't think I loose more fish when going barbless--not as long as tension is kept on the line, anyway. So then I'm left wondering if barbless is such as good idea, why more people don't fish that way...