How to Make Fishing Hooks Barbless

Updated February 21, 2017

Many fishermen believe that using a barbless hook will help reduce trauma and mortality during catch-and-release fishing. You may also need to remove the barbs from a hook in the event that you accidentally get a hook caught in your skin. Removing the barbs from fish hooks is a relatively easy task, and very few tools are required.

Making sure your hands are dry, align the centre of your pliers over the barb in your fish hook.

Clamp the pliers down hard on the barb until it snips through the metal, separating it from the hook.

Snip away at the area that once contained the barb until it is smooth and in line with the rest of the hook.

Repeat this process on every barb on your fish hook until the previously barbed areas are smooth.

Wet a fine grip sandpaper sponge and sand burs in the metal where the barbs used to be. Sand until smooth.


You can purchase barbless hooks from most bait shops and hardware stores.


Be careful when working with barbed fish hooks. Catching a barbed hook in your skin is painful and may be difficult to remove.

Things You'll Need

  • Pliers
  • Fine grit sandpaper sponge
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About the Author

Jennifer Hudock is an author, editor and freelancer from Pennsylvania. She has upcoming work appearing in two Library of the Living Dead Press anthologies and has been published in numerous print and online journals, including eMuse, Real TV Addict and Strange Horizons. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing from Bloomsburg University.