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HugoBox

No barbs and good release tools

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I know its been beaten to death, but I'll share a quick story. My brother (BoxMN) was unhooking about a 30 inch pike for me in the water and it and he ended up with the business end of a DCG in his thumb while the rest of the lure was still in the fish. The combination of pinched barbs and a Knipex made the whole thing go much easier for him and the fish.

We also landed several pike and 2 skis this weekend- all on lures with pinched barbs. I'm sold...

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I had a similar experience one fall on LOTW with a Muskie. Reached over the side to carefully unhook him and he flopped and drove a hook into the side of my LH thumb and out the tip. Naturally the fish was still hooked on another set of trebles on the Jake. frown

It was a windy and rough day but fortunately we drifted into a small bay out of the wind a little and I was able to work the hooks out of the fish and free the fish.

The barbs were pinched down on all the hooks so I was able to remove the hook from yours truly pretty easily as well. Still a bloody mess.

Usually it's just me and the wife on our fall trips and we can go for days w/o seeing another boat on the lake.

I may lose a few fish because of the pinched down barbs but the additional safety factor makes it worthwhile. Heck, I've lost untold amounts of fish with barbed hooks!

Sometimes help can be a long ways away.

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I was fishing in Hayward, and in the lake we were in we were required to use barbless hooks... its not that bad at all, just keep the line tighter, and bring the fish in, and removal is a lot easier.

later this same season

I wish i was using barbless when I hooked in to my thumb so deep that i couldn't get it out without a E.R. visit.

Now I often bend down the barbs for convienience.

moral of the story...

i lose fish either way.

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All of my lures have been neutered, except for jigs or hooks that I use with a bobber. I took the barbs off of all those originally but then realized that my live baits would wiggle off and I lost many more fish.

Has anyone found a good solution for bobber fishing without barbs?

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The day I go totally Barbless on Musky fishing is the day I become a astronaut.

I've "been there and done that" and I give you a 100% guarantee you "will" lose more fish.

I understand pinching them down yes,

but to go totally barbless is simply dumb!

Brian Kaiser

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I was thankful for the pinched down barbs when I was stuck the other day smile

But I also lost two fish last week that I don't know why. Not blaming the pinched barbs, as big fish get off, and that is how they stay big, ha! So not sure, but I know that they can be caught for sure with pinched barbs successfully, and the hook removal, be it from a fish or person, is much easier... and I am lazy, so I like easy things wink

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"keep the line tighter, and just bring the fish in" may sound easy and work well on smaller fish, but it doesn't always go exactly according to plan when a big 50+ is shaking his head out of the water or jumping 5 feet out of the water or whatever else they want to do...

For me personally, the barbs are staying on

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I think keeping barbs on and making sure to have some good hook cutters is the best way to go about it. For as much time as we spend chasing you want to put yourself in a high percentage situation to keep the fish hooked and with barbs that is the best that can be done. Sure I've lost quite a few even with barbs but I would rather be with the percentages. I applaud you guys for going to that length. If it's all about doing it for removal I think cutting the hooks works good. Although unfortunately little pieces of hooks are going into the lake most likely, I'm sure at some point if everyone does this someone will say your littering?

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Quote:
Although unfortunately little pieces of hooks are going into the lake most likely, I'm sure at some point if everyone does this someone will say your littering?

If some say so, well theres a bunch of things on the bottom of the lake..sunglasses, tackleboxes, cans, hooks, crankbaits etcetc. and 99.99% people probably dont give effort to remove it so theyre littering too? blush

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RK    29

Hiya -

After fishing several years with mashed down barbs, I'm pretty convinced it doesn't make a big difference in the number of fish a lose. I lost some before, and I lose some now. I think I can argue that it's probably a wash because I get better hook penetration without a big barb. It sure makes unhooking them easier, that I know for sure.

One caveat in my case is I use longer, softer rods than I think most guys tend to use. I haven't used a traditional 'pool cue' rod in many, many years, and a lot of my custom rods are on what would by most people's standards be heavy bass blanks and salmon rods or at best medium power muskie rods. I think that has a lot to do with losing fewer fish - barbless or not.

Cheers,

Rob Kimm

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FWIW, the two I lost last week were on pool cue rods, but lately I have been using a long Fig Rig rod with a Curado 300, and I haven't missed a pike, but also haven't had a ski strike it yet... But the cool thing is that I (not as avid a musky guy like you all) can cast it more like a heavy bass setup, and I am not complaining to my brother about being sick of casting the heavy stuff as much smile I know my brother landed his last two on very long rod.

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I'm also a bit surprised at all the people who seem to put hooks into there hands and fingers.

I have been fishing for over 35 years, fishing muskies for 16 Guiding for 8 and I have "never put a Hook in my hand"

(atleast not past the barb anyway)

I get the ole RASBERIES on the back of my hands from the big musky gills...and yes I Bleed up a storm for a few seconds but knock on wood I have not ever had a 5/0 Hook in me....nor do I ever want to!

Hope I didn't just Jinx myself?

Brian K

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I think RK is onto something with the long rod deal. The last two I landed were on a really long stick and it seemed to go much better than on the shorties. Also, based on how the fish were hooked (right in the jaw) they would have had to jump a bunch to get off. I still may lose more but I don't do it for a living so I can live with that.

Also, the reason BoxMN ended up with a hook in the thumb is that his lazy brother told him to unhook a pike in the water instead of holding it for him. Those DCG's sure flop in the breeze when a gator does the death roll!!! Oh well, I guess he owes me one...

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MuskyMan - your forgetting about the usage of my good friend alcohol. Granted, a slippery northern that wiggles backwards out of your grip can surely hook a hand. I've seen it happen twice. Although alcohol might play a part of it too.

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Maybe I'm too concerned with the fish's welfare. Besides using lures with pinched down barbs, I don't like taking small Muskies into the boat or netting them. Less handling the better.

The pinched down barbs sure make unhooking the fish boatside so much easier.

I've managed to put hooks in my hands 2x over the years. The first was reaching into a net for a small Muskie. The little guy swung his head and put the other treble of the Rap J-13 into the palm of my hand. Cut the hooks out of the fish, dumped him over the side and drove over to my brother's boat to pop out the hook. These were standard barbed hooks. Fortunately, the "pop out" method worked like a charm.

The other was the above described incident.

Ordinarily I use the old Baker hookouts, a pair of needlenose pliers or the like to pull hooks and keep my hands clear. There are times though when I can't back the hooks out, even with the pinched barbs, and I have slip my free hand up under the gill plate to get better control and have something to work against, like when there's hooks in both the top and bottom jaw.

Seems like the little fish are more dangerous as they shake their heads more violently boatside.

Or maybe I'm just a klutz, I dunno. smile

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