One of the biggest commercial fisheries in the country has banned treble hooks in order to protect its prized stock of predators.
Bury Hill in Dorking, Surrey, arguably the UK’s finest stillwater fishery for pike and specimen zander, will now only permit anglers to use single barbless hooks after the owners claimed that they are not only much safer, but also catch more fish.
For more than two years, some of the most respected anglers in the sport have assisted staff in testing the success and effectiveness of single-hook rigs, with detailed monitoring and documentation of the catches of both zander and pike.
And in news that could divide the predator fishing world, Bury Hill owner David De Vere believes that his recent findings prove that the use of treble hooks is both ‘dated and unnecessary’.
“Pike fishing rigs that use multiple trebles are not only dangerous, but they are from the Dark Ages and no longer have a place at my fishery,” said David.
“We caught hundreds of pike and zander during the research and not one fish was deep hooked when they were caught with a single barbless hook. I believe that my research has deemed trebles obsolete.
“When we first started the research a die-hard, traditional piker and member of the Pike Anglers’ Club of Great Britain was really against the project and my intention to ban trebles. But after seeing the welfare benefits and witnessing his own catch-rate improve he’s now converted.”
Specimen anglers Alan Stagg and Duncan Charman were among those who helped compile a detailed database on the success and performance of single-hook rigs.
Both were astounded at their ability to almost totally eliminate ‘deep hooking’, common with the use of multiple trebles, and the improved finesse and balance of presentation that saw their catch-rates soar.
“I’d never really used single-hook rigs before and I’m stunned by how effective they are,” Alan told Angling Times.“Every fish I caught was hooked perfectly just inside the mouth, which makes unhooking and returning the fish safely and quickly very easy. It’s vital to the protection of pike and zander.”
Top predator angler Mick Brown has been promoting the use of single hooks for years and banked hundreds of predators, including pike to 31lb 6oz, with permutations of this set-up.
He believes that day-ticket predators need protection in order to keep the stress of capture to an absolute minimum.
“Many traditional anglers won’t like this rule, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction for a fishery like Bury Hill,” said Mick.
“Inexperienced day-ticket anglers can make genuine mistakes with treble hooks that can put the lives of pike and zander at risk, whereas single-hook rigs will safeguard the future of predator stocks.”