Why Barbless?


There are many compelling reasons to fish barbless—the opportunity to experience some of America’s most pristine and protected waters being one of them.

There are hundreds of locations in the U.S. today that are only available to anglers using barbless hooks. Many of these locations are found within State and National Parks. These are the gems within the gems—the finest waters in the country. Those in search of a fishing experience they will long cherish, need only bring their family, friends and a selection of barbless lures. These restricted waters will provide everything else needed for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. To learn more about some of these barbless-only destinations, see the National Parks section of this resource.


Most anglers can trace their love of fishing back to their childhood. And all too many of them have not-so-pleasant memories of barbed hooks.

Most of us were taught that the barbed hook was simply just part of fishing. And we believed that the barb was necessary to keeping a fish on the hook. None of which, has to be true. You can now buy lures with barbless hooks that provide parents with peace-of-mind and children with a safer fishing experience. And with a few simple techniques (see the graphic below) keeping a fish on a barbless hook is child’s play.

The method for keeping a fish on a barbless hook is the same as fishing with barbed hooks. Just be more diligent in following the rules.


Catch and release has become an important means of protecting America’s fish habitats. There are several important steps to know when practicing catch and release.

Things like reeling in quickly, wetting your hands before holding the fish and the proper method for releasing, all improve a fish’s chance of survival. But no matter how careful the angler has been, the damage created by a barbed hook remains catch and release’s greatest liability. Traditionally, anglers crimped the barbs down on their lures, to form barbless hooks. But with the growing availability of off-the-shelf barbless lures, fishing barbless is now possible without the trouble of modifying your own hooks.