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Barbless Hooks: The Heart of Catch and Release Fishing
There was a time not too long back when fishing was less about the sport and more about keeping a family fed. Fish were not expensive to catch, clean and eat so many turned to fishing as a way to fill stomachs. The rise of industrialization meant the absolute necessity of fishing specifically for meals changed, and fishing became more of a sport than a means of living.
However, the angler of today chases their quarry much less because of the need to feed themselves or family but for the sport. This does not mean all fish are returned to the water. Instead, if the angler has enough for the family meal, the remaining fish can be returned to the water for another day.
The heart and soul of Catch And Release Fishing is the non barbed hook. These are safer for the fish since there is no barb that could tear tissue, even if the hook is buried in the gullet of the fish.
Non barbed hooks are only a part of the success of fisheries. Governmental controls in place for size and number limits have drastically improved fisheries across the world in both the quality and quantity of the fish. There are plenty of waters that are also catch and release only with the requirement of a Barbless Hooks for Fishing. Anglers flock to these waters for the same reasons as we mentioned – the quality and quantity. Besides, it take real skill to land a fish on a non barbed hook. Those who do so with a hand tied fly find the challenge that much more difficult but considerably more rewarding.
The Japanese are relatively late comers in the sports fishing industry. The island nation has always looked to the sea for its fish, with very little of freshwater fishing done. This has changed within the last few decades, with a substantial rise of Japanese anglers doing so for sport.
The Japanese are also some of the finest engineers in the world for most products and the non barbed hook industry is no different. There is one company that makes some of the finest barbed hooks available, and they just so happen to offer a full line of non barbed hooks as well. That brand is Gamakatsu.
The Gamakatsu hook is both laser sharp and incredibly strong. These hooks command a premium price, but the quality cannot be bested. Several of the Gamakatsu non barbed hooks available at Amazon have full five star reviews. The handfull that do not have a full five star review almost universally have the same complaint – ‘These are expensive.’
Catch And Release Fishing believes – you get what you pay for. Many other anglers agree as well. Some will even change the hooks on lures with Gamakatsu hooks. This includes treble hooks (three hooks on a single eyelet) that happen to be non barbed.
Gamakatsu 64110 Treble Barbless Hook
It is rare that a fish will come off of a standard barbed treble hook, but this comes at the price of three barbed hooks to remove from the fish. The chances of damaging the fish is considerably high. Switch those standard barbed hooks with barbless treble hooks, and the chances of returning the fish safely increases greatly.
These non barbed treble hooks are in one size – Size 1 – and in a package of seven. This is also a standard size for a treble hook on a number of different lures.
Gamakatsu Barbless Hooks - Nickel, Red & Black
Gamakatsu makes hooks for any fishing. These particular hooks are part of their large fish line and feature sizes from a 1 all the way to a substantial 7/0. These hooks are ideal for big catfish, salmon and even some pelagic species. The red option mimics that of blood and a quick meal for any predatory fish fooled with the non barbed hook. The Octopus Hook name refers to the hook design and not the potential target quarry.
This hook has a 4.5 star average rating with a single rating of 1. The angler was not happy the hook dulled quickly.
This is a plain Jane design hook without a fancy name like some of the others in the Gamakatsu line. This is a great hook for live bait, particularly worms, leeches and minnows. The longer shank and downturned eye is perfect for tying flies as well.
The hooks range in size from a 6 to a 16, giving a solid range of options.
Gamakatsu 376415-25 Barbless Big River Bait Nsb 25P 5/0
Anglers looking to land big fish need big reels, rods and hooks to do it. The Gamakatsu Big River Bait hook is perfect. The 5/0 size is almost as big a hook as they come, particularly for freshwater fishing.
Anglers after huge catfish with live bait will find this hook meet most of their needs. The non barbed feature may make fishing a bit more difficult but nothing a skill angler cannot overcome. A 4.5 star rating gives you an idea of the quality.
Gamakatsu R18 B. Barbless 2X Heavy Hook with Nano Smooth Coat
If you are a fan of our work, you know Catch And Release Fishing takes fly fishing very seriously. The dry fly is the choice fly of most anglers, but the serious angler for the serious fish knows a streamer will produce and produce well. The 2X shank length on this hook is designed specifically for the streamer and streamer tying angler.
This particular model also has a 4.5 star rating.
Gamakatsu J20-B Jig Nymph Barbless Hook
Trout are one of the few fish that anglers can target even with snow on the ground and ice in the rivers. At this time, nymphs make up the majority of the trout diet, and the nymph is relatively easy to tie. This particular hook is only available in a 16, but a 16 happens to be a perfect size for a nymph.
Take the 4 star ranking with a grain of salt. There are only two reviews, one five and one three. The three star did not say anything about the hook.
Gamakatsu has more hooks available than these, but these six give you a decent idea of what to expect in the line. Fair warning: You may have some sticker shock. The value more than makes up for the cost.