Pinching Barbs - Break less hook points!

Sean Visintainer - 08/11/14

Pinching a barbed hook perpendicular to the hook.

Pinch your barbs down the correct way to break less hook points.

Ever had your hook point break off for no particular reason? Or has your hook point broke off as you were pinching the barb? I know I have and I bet you have too.

In my opinion there is a correct way and a wrong way to pinch the barbs down on hooks. Hook points can often break off on small sized hooks when the there is damage caused to the metal due to improper de-barbing of the hook. Let's take a look at pinching barbs down two different ways.

The first method is the way I see most barbs get pinched down. Forceps are held perpendicular to the hook point, and then the barb is bent or pinched down. The problem with this method of de-barbing hooks is that the barb tends to "roll" over and tweak the metal under the barb. This tends to weaken the metal at this juncture, thus causing it to break off easily under light strain.

Pinching a barbed hook perpendicular to the hook.

The best method for pinching barbs is to hold the forceps parallel to the hook point. By holding the forceps parallel or straight with the hook, the barb gets pushed straight back and down instead of rolling over and tweaking the hook.

This is more important in lighter trout style hooks, you probably won't see thicker wire hooks break as often, but it's still a good idea to practice the "parallel" method of pinching barbs back.

Pinching a barbed hook parallel to the hook.

Try this method and see if you break hook points less often... if not... I don't mind selling you more flies because you broke the hook point off ;)