Broken Barbs #2, How To


Some times it makes sense to fish with barbless hooks.  The Broken Barb choice means slightly less chance of a shake off with about zero extra difficulty or damage done in releasing a fish.  The previous post I argued for the types of hooks that actually catch more fish if the barbs are broken off.  Some species are easy to land with little chance of the hook shaking loose.  Broken barbs make sense just for the extra enjoyment and time saved quickly releasing fish.  For Bluegills, Carp, Redfish, Striped Bass, White Bass and probably many more are species, a full barb on a hook will not mean you are likely to land any more fish.  During a long fight, the sharp edges of the barb will be slashing back and forth inside the fish's mouth, slashing at the same tissue that the hook is holding on to.

My favorite foam headed surface lures I use for Bass, Pike and other species work best on shorter shank hooks which also work well with broken barb hooks.  Their floating heads orient the hook down so it will too often catch in the fish's gills.  I enjoy fishing much more if I can release fish quickly and unharmed.  If Clousers or Jiggy minnow patterns are tied on jig style hooks, they hook and hold fish very well to the point where a full barb won't hold on to many if any more fish.

The barb on the big 9177 4/0  snapped when it was crushed.  It is already broken and just needs to be dislodged.  The others will need to be levered back up by pushing the knife point into that small gap on this side while the spear of the hook is held against a suitable surface like wood.  This is why the barbs should not be crushed straight down but at a skew angle, about 20 or 30 degrees off straight down.

All the barbs broke leaving a nice little jag standing at close to 90 degrees.  This acts as a gentle micro barb that is easier to set, it is more forward on the point so it goes deeper and holds more. It  is still easily removed from fish or anything you happen to stick it into.

I bent this shank up with Round Jaw Pliers.  These pliers work better for bending hooks with less chance of weakening or breaking them.  Mustad hooks are generally mild enough steel to bend without being weakened.  This bent shank has a shorter lever arm to potentially dislodge the hook.  It also lifts the force delivered at the eye of the hook to an angle more in line with the hook point.  The hook sets easier.  Also, the point is in effect rotated forward so the barb that is left is now a bit further forward of the bend.

I intend to tie a Clouser Minnow on this hook.  The dumbbell eyes will tied right behind but close to the 60 degree bend.  The back of the hook eye is not there to anchor the front of your head wraps against.  You literally need to tighten up your thread wrap technique around the head of the fly.  Put some glue down before you start and when you're done.  The circles of your thread wraps should be perpendicular to the part of the shank they are holding on to.

 The first is a used Smallmouth Bass Clouser tied on a Mustad 3366 #2 hook bent up to 60 degrees with the barb broken off.  The Saltwater Clouser is on a Mustad 34007 #2 tied to represent a Baby Bunker.  The upturned front of the fly looks like up turned jaw of the herring shaped bunker minnows.

I frequently break the barbs of before or while I am fishing.  I think they hold better than if the barb is just bent down smooth to the point.


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