Barbless Circle Hooks

Fishing With Barbless Circle Hooks


Using Barbless Circle Hooks ensures released fish survive!

One of the most important things we can do as saltwater anglers is, do what we can to ensure that the fish we catch and release are not harmed during the process.  That is why we became the first offshore charter boat in the Gulf of Mexico to use barbless circle hooks while bottom fishing.

You may be wondering why we would remove the barb from a hook?  It’s simple actually.  We do this for two reasons:

The first reason is, regular circle hooks are required when fishing for reef fish in the Gulf of Mexico.  We felt it was important to take the use of circle hooks to a whole new level and offer a barbless alternative.  When a reef fish like red snapper, triggerfish or amberjack swallows your bait, the circle hook most of the time, pulls gently into the upper lip of the fish and you reel it in.   The problem arises when the fish swallows the entire hook and it becomes lodged in the throat or the stomach of the fish.   When we remove the hook, it is the barb that usually holds the fish on the line, can do irreversible damage to the fish which can result in injury or death after being released.  Because of seasonal closures on most reef fish species, anglers still want to still catch those fish and let them go.

It is our responsibility as fishing guides to be proactive and try our best to not harm those fish we release.   Since most of the fish we catch today are released, we want to do what is right and make sure those fish we release, are done so in a way that will help them survive.

barbless hooks safety

The hook on the right, has no barb. They are safer for the fish we catch than the barbed ones.

The second reason is for your safety.  We have all seen those internet photos of someone with a hook buried in their hand or finger?  Those trips usually end up with the boat having to head back to shore so the person can be taken to the hospital to get a hook removed.  Being responsible charter fishing guides like we are, want to do all we can to be safe and ensure anglers don’t have to ruin a fishing trip because of an accidental barbed hook getting stuck in your finger.

When we use barbless circle hooks, if someone were to get hooked, we could easily remove it without doing any damage to the person’s skin and the fishing trip could continue with only a bandaid and a little antibiotic ointment.


Barbless circle hooks catch fish as well as regular hooks and they are safe for customers.

How effective are barbless circle hooks at helping anglers keep their fish on the line, all the way to the surface?

Using a barbless circle hook actually makes you a better angler.   While learning to use one of these hooks, you will quickly learn not to give your fish any slack so they can get off the hook.   Learning how to do this is both educational and fun.

Believe it or not, we rarely lose any fish because of using a barbless circle hook.  If we do lose one, its not a big deal.  You just bait back up and go catch another one just like it.

  Will we catch big fish using a barbless circle hook?


Some red snapper we catch are larger than average, but it takes a little luck and finesse to get them to the top.

The answer is YES you can.   Big fish are caught every day using these types of hooks.  Sometimes fish win the battle.  They break your line, wreck you or their teeth cut the line.  One thing they can’t do is bite a hook into.  They may straighten your hook, but whether or not the hook has a barb, has no effect on whether or not you land your fish.  It takes a little luck and finesse to catch a big fish.  You just need to believe you can do it.