put the trebles back on and mash the barbs down.
That is something I once did as soon as I took a lure out of the package. The problem I have is that this still leaves the treble hook and, what I feel anyway is, one of the mains reasons I dislike them. IMO the treble hook design allows the fish to pry the hook out of it's mouth. I know this is strictly opinion but that's how I feel about them. I also don't like the idea of having all these pointed hooks flying while trying to release a fish and lastly I think the treble hook is more harmful to the fish. Your idea of crushing the barb takes care of the danger to me and, to a certain degree, the damage to the fish but it still leaves the third hook so I am looking for a way to have only two hooks. I do appreciate the tip though.put the trebles back on and mash the barbs down.
They are designed to do the complete opposite. That's why trebles have been used since the very first topwater lures were manufactured, and that's why they are still used. They are made to catch more fish. Pressing the barbs down will also decrease your chances, unless you can keep decent pressure on him for the entire fight. A little bit of slack and a couple of good headshakes and that's all she wrote. I respect your sensitivity, but you won't kill a fish by hooking him in the mouth. When removing the hooks, get a good grip on the fish with one hand and remove the hooks with the other and you should'nt have issues with hooking yourself. Use a wet hand to handle the fish. Also use a landing net to subdue the fish until he is ready to be handled, it makes the hook removal process so much safer and easier.IMO the treble hook design allows the fish to pry the hook out of it's mouth.