We used an angling study to examine catch per unit effort (CPUE), bait loss, and total landings by anglers fishing with natural bait on barbed and barbless hooks in a nearshore marine sport fishery located in the Gulf of Mexico near St. Petersburg, Florida. Anglers fished half the day with a barbed hook and half the day with a barbless hook. We also recorded anatomical hook placement, severity of injury or bleeding, and hook extraction times for each landed fish. Bait loss, CPUE, and mean length of catch did not differ between gears, but anglers landed 22% more fish with barbed hooks. Loss of hooked fish was significantly higher with barbless hooks, and efficiency appeared to vary among species. Mean unhooking times were significantly shorter with barbless hooks. Anatomical hook placement did not differ between gears and most fish were hooked in the jaws. Bleeding did not differ between gears because bleeding was influenced strongly by hook placement, but barbless hooks reduced unhooking injuries. In this fishery, barbless hooks probably did not reduce hooking mortality and conferred only slight benefits at the expense of reduced catches.
Additional publication details
Performance of barbed and barbless hooks in a marine recreational fishery