Barbed Hooks to Barbless Hooks

Question from a viewer: How do you make a barbed hook barbless?

Great question & we have been asked this question a lot.

90% of the lures we purchase regardless if they are single hook or treble hooks come as barbed hooks.

However, many waterbodies across North America are barbless hooks only meaning no barbs can be present on the hook while the hook or lure is being fished. Barbless hooks allow for easier catch & release of the fish which translates into safer and easier hook removal from the fish mouth. In many cases, it’s also safer and easier on the angler. Any angler that has had to remove a barbed hook from a part of their body knows what I’m talking about.  

In the case of the video, we were fishing a lake that the regulations state. “Barbless hooks only”. However, even if barbless hooks weren’t mandatory, I would have pinched the barbs for safety reasons. We were 7-hours from the nearest hospital or doctor’s office so in a case like this, I always use barbless hooks for a safety net. It’s easier to get a barbless hook out of me than a barbed hook. Trust me. I’ve had both stuck in me!!!

Turning a barbed hook into a barbless hook is quick and easy. With your needle nose pliers, squeeze down the barb on the original hook until the barb breaks off or is firmly pinched against the shank of the hook. If the lure is equipped with a treble hook(s) this prosses will have to be done on all three of the hooks on the treble(s) and it must be pinched tight against the shank of the hook so there is no protrusion of the barb sticking up. Gently run your finger over the pinched barb making sure it doesn’t snag your skin. If so, pinch it down even further. You can go one step further and file down any excess protrusions of the barb. It is now barbless.  Well doing this, make sure not to dull or damage the point of the main hook.

I keep two small Plano boxes full of assorted sizes of hooks. One with barbed hooks and one with barbless hooks. When I go to a lake that is or isn’t barbless, I can quickly change out the hooks with barbed or barbless hooks. I have two or three sets of interchangeable hooks that are the same size hooks that came with the lures I’m using. It’s a quick and inexpensive way for anglers to utilize their lures under multiple regulations and at the same time, not change the action of the lure in any way.