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Mike Wallace

Consider Barbless

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This is my 5th year of fishing muskie and from the start I pinched the barbs down on all my lures. I figured that it would make unhooking the fish easier and, just in case, it may save me from a trip to the ER.

Yeaterday, it saved me from a trip to the ER. Of course it wasn't the 30# muskie, but the 20" pike that buried two of the middle hooks of a suick into my first two fingers' knuckles about 1/2". After the fish was removed from my hand/lure, I was able to back the hooks out, band-aid up, and keep fishing.

If the hooks were barbed, not sure what I would have done. By myself, wife at church, and fishing buddy out of town. I figure I would have had to cut the hooks, load the boat, drive to the ER by myself.

Barbless was a precaution for me, and I figured I would never have to use it since I am always careful. Just like insurance: It's not for all the times you don't need it, just the one time you do.

Mike Wallace

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Question Mike, I am strongly considering going barbless on musky tackle. All of my pike gear is barbless and have not noticed a difference in fish lost. What are your observations on musky gear?

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This is the first year that I pinched down the barbs (Thanks to Rob Kimm for the suggesiton here). I've lost a couple fish this year and early on I was wondering if the lack of barbs caused it. That said I've also landed more fish this year than any other. My limited experience tells me I would have lost the fish I lost regardless of the barbs. A good hookset seems to be the common denoinator in the fish I've boated versus the fish I've lost.

I cant' say enough how important a pair of Knipex are as well.

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Well, I don't notice a difference, but it is all about your confidence level.

I know some people will say that barbless IMPROVES hooking (less resistance into the fish). Some will say that barbless DECREASES keeping them pinned (nothing to hold them on the hook).

If you are confident that barbless doesn't effect whether a fish will stay on or get off, then go barbless - it is easier to unhook a fish, yourself, your clothing, the carpet in the boat, the boat seat, and whatever or whoever gets hooked.

I am barbless because I don't know the difference between me losing a fish because the fish beat me, or the fish got off because it was barbless. Everyone will lose fish, barbless or not.

I just want to eliminate as many trips to the ER as I can.

Mike

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This is my second season without barbs, no complaints here. Plenty of fish, i've lost less than last year. I agree with Erik on the good hookset topic.

-JR

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I'd rather safety... so its barbless for me.. its not so hard... just a good visegrip pliers will do the job of pinching down the barbs... takes a second or two to do it... and its all that could save you 2-4 hours at the ER... which translate to more time fishing...

Fish came unhooked??? either it was not hooked well enough... or you didnt keep the line tight enough... at least be happy its alive, and still swimming for another chance in the sometime future...

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I've used pinched barbs for about 3-4 years and can honestly say I've probably only lost a handful of fish due to barbless. I fish alone alot and like the safety factor of barbless. Not to mention that when you get a fish in the net, many times, when you release tension on the line the hooks come free of the fish without having to dig your hands in. No going back, my guess is, if you lose it barbless you probably would have lost it with barbs. Just a guess.

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RK    29

Hiya -

A couple thoughts:

1.) OUCH! Man that smarts. As you just discovered, and probably already knew, a little pike is WAY more dangerous than a big muskie... I know a guy who actually got hooked in the stomach by a thrashing pike he was unhooking.

2.) As most of you who read this forum know, I'm pretty big on barbless hooks in a lot of cases. Yeah, I suppose I lose a fish now and then as a result, but I'd love to know how anyone can tell which fish get off because hooks are barbless, and which would have gotten off anyhow. You can't. One thing I try to mention when I talk about barbless though is the importance of the right equipment. Barbless hooks and stiff, pool-cue rods are a bad combo - then you probably will lose more fish. Longer, softer rods are the way to fly for lots of reasons I think, but especially if you fish barbless.

It's personal choice and personal opinion, but for me, safety for me and easier releases more than make up for what is in my estimation the very occasional lost fish.

Cheers,

Rob Kimm

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I've said this before, but look at the gap from shank to point of the barb on some of these 5/0 and 7/0 hooks, it's pretty wide and really cuts down on hook penetration into the bony mouth of a muskie. Some hooks that gap is up to 3/16 of an inch. Turning them down still leaves a "bump" on the shank, it doesn't completely remove that holding point.

I'm not 100% barbless, but the bigger hooks I've turned down. Some smaller ones I've not turned down....yet.

I've watched fish I've had hooked up turn direction on me and the lure simply slides out of it's mouth.....and I know I did pop a good hookset.

Gotta echo RK on the longer rods, they make it so much easier to keep constant pressure on the fish and the rod loaded up. Especially if for instance you have to move from front to back of the boat, the added length keeps the rod loaded. Granted I go longer then he does sometimes, but the 9' M action rod has seen a lot of playing time in my boat this year.

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