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foxfai

Interesting history on barbs

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I was doing some research on hooks and came across this piece of interesting information:

Here is a little piece of surprise from the history books. It seems that barbs were initially introduced, not to hold the fish on once hooked, but to stop the bait coming off.

I often fish with barbless hooks. I guess what launched me into barbless hooks was acting as a deckhand on a commercial tuna boat off the Three Kings Islands off the northern tip of NZ many years ago. On these trips we would tow hand lines pulling tuna lures. We were fishing for the Japanese market, so the object was to land the fish in as top condition as possible.

The system was simple. The hand lines were secured to the rails of the boat by string of a known breaking strain, and then to a Dan buoy. If the fish was big enough, the string broke and pulled the hand line, attached to the buoy, overboard. We simply did a turn and went back to pick up the fish. On good days we would pick up ten or more Yellowfin tuna.

Here is the important news, the hooks were all barbless. Here is even more important news, even when the tuna had been under a buoy, and there had been slack in the system, I did not see one tuna come off the hook.

There is an important aspect about this that cannot be ignored. The breakaway system we were using ensured that hooks were always well and deeply set. This, I think is a key point, barbless hooks are easier to set.

 

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Really neat stuff to share. I can easily accept as valid, the barb was for the bait. First one barb was put on, and later additional bards were added to the shank and whaa-la: bait holder hooks. I like barbless for the easy off and back into the water, with lesser damage aspect for the fish and for me.

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One of the secrets of Pacific NW Salmon Mooching (Where a deftly plug cut herring is artfully worked near the bottom in deep water) was to pinch the barbs on the hooks. This allowed deep penetration of the hook in the King Salmon's hard mouth.

 

Once I started pinching the barbs flat, in combination with letting the fish have the bait before "Hook Setting" my hook up ratio went way higher. Often the hook was buried up to the snell wraps. Hooks were Eagle Claw 92553, in no. 1 and 1/0. 1/0 in the bait, No. 1 as a trailer. Razor sharp triangulated with a file.

 

The bump from pinching the barb worked well in keeping the hook buried.

 

This was many years prior to the barbless hook rule in WA state.

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I also think that barbless hooks are less likely to straighten because they sink deeper and closer to the bend. As to fish not coming off once in a while, I'm not sure...

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are way too big and will actually inhibit hook penetration.

 

Remember the old Mustads that were used on all the plugs back in the 80s-90s? They had a huge barb that stuck up at a ridiculous angle! I used to squeeze them about halfway flat so they would penetrate better.

 

Most modern hooks now have small barbs, although Mustad stainless siwash have big ones.

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