Striper Fishermen: Crush It This Season

Crush the barbs on your hooks when catching and releasing striped bass

Use a pair of pliers to mash down the barb on your lures when catch-and-release fishing. (lure: Dartspin)

Go Barbless this Season!

Massachusetts-based striper fisherman Hunter Thayer is using his Instagram account @stripedsurvival to promote a message of striped bass conservation that he’s hoping will catch on among anglers.

He’s asking fishermen to use #crushedit when posting striped bass pictures to promote the benefits of crushing the barbs on hooks and lures. 

By fishing barbless hooks or crushing the barbs with a pair of pliers, fishermen can minimize the amount of physical damage inflicted by the hook and make it faster and easier to unhook a fish, thereby increasing the odds that released fish survive. (As an added bonus, crushed barbs will also minimize damage to any angler who becomes hooked.)

Fishing with barbless hooks is just one way you can help ensure that striped bass survive being caught and released. Check out our guide for other ways to increase survival of released striped bass.

Consider crushing your barbs, especially when targeting schoolie stripers this spring, and help spread the message by using #crushedit on your social media platforms.

12 on “Striper Fishermen: Crush It This Season

  1. Fishy Joe

    Anyone have tips for crushing barbs in a way that won’t cause rust? I always seem to scratch the metal using my split ring pliers, which rusts them up much quicker. Perhaps aluminum pliers would be softer on the hooks?

    1. Steve West

      Hi Fishy Joe,

      File down the little “ridges” on the mouth of the pliers. And after crushing the barb, touch up the barb area with a magic marker. This will help resist rust.

    2. Greg Ward

      Thats interesting, crushing barbs never makes my hooks rust. But yes aluminum pliers would probably make a difference.

  2. Mike W

    Crushed barbs are the way to go, saves the fish and a visit to the emergency room.


  3. Bruce Yarnell

    Just go to your Bait and Tackle a buy the quantity of hooks you think you will need. Simply discard the old one tie a new one on. The only way to fix this. Tight Lines

  4. Scott K

    File the barb with a sharpening stone. After I’m finished fishing I put my previously used hooks in a Plano organizer on top of sellers shop rag towels that have vegetable oil soaked in. The oil keeps them from rusting. You can get vegetable oil in a spray can and keep it in your tackle box or on your boat. I learned this method in Montauck for keeping bunker spoons rust free.

  5. B perkins

    I have always crushed the barbs on every hook I fish with but I take it one step further… I swap out the treble hooks with single hooks … does not stop you from hooking up at all

  6. Logic1.0

    Been crushing barbs on my lures for years, never noticed any problem with hooks rusting.

  7. JK

    I just been applying a dab of epoxy with a toothpick. It dries fast and is rock hard and zero rust issues.

  8. Gary Surprenant

    Been crushing barbs and changing out treble hooks to singles for decades now! VMC needs to make available size 8 to 12 inline hooks for swapping over smaller trout lures!!

  9. BC

    Hi everyone the best way I have found is using my DREMEL a with a stone bit ,the barb is gone in a matter of seconds and if your concerns about rust just spray it with black paint

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