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How To Remove A Fish Hook Yourself And Save A Trip To The Doctor

how to remove fishing hook from finger

How To Remove a Fishing Hook From Your Finger

First of all, I just want to say I’m sorry. You probably haven’t landed on this page because your day is going smoothly.  I’m not exactly sure how it happend, and I’m sure there’s a great story behind it, but you’ve ended up with a fish hook stuck inside your skin.  And you want to remove it.

First things first, here is an infographic that the fine fellas over at the Art Of Manliness, a fine website I’ve been following for years, has put together for just this purpose.

For more detailed information on how to remove a fish hook from skin and what you can do to prevent infection, keep reading below.

Tips and Tricks for Removing a Fishing Hook

There’s nothing worse than ending your fishing trip prematurely because you or a friend of yours ends up with a nasty old hook stuck in your body somewhere.

Knock on wood, the worse I’ve gotten over the many years of fishing I’ve done, was not that bad.  I buried a size 4 snelled hook into my finger. But I got lucky.  The barb didn’t go all the way in.  You could see the tip of the barb just barely sticking out.  So compared to the horrible injuries I’ve seen on other people, mine was no big deal.  I just pulled it out without a problem.

But if you do end up getting a hook buried real deep into your skin, and it goes past the barb, then there are a few different ways you can approach removing the hook.  But before you start removing the hook, there are a few things you should do first.

How To Remove A Fish Hook: Do This First

The first thing before removing the fish hook is to assess the wound.  If your gut is telling you that it’s not self treatable, then you should probably go in to the emergency room or urgent care.

Do not attempt to self treat if the hook is n or near the eye.  If this is the case, then you should absolutely go in to have a medical doctor remove the hook.

If you do decide to move forward with removing the fish hook yourself, then you want to sit down to do it.  If you’re helping someone else remove the hook, then have them sit down.  This will be the first step in preventing further injury.

Questions To Consider Before Removing The Hook

  • How deep is the hook? 
  • Is it near an artery?
  • Has a barb made its way under the skin? 
  • Is the hook single-barbed or multi-barbed? 
  • Have you been hooked anywhere on the face or near/in the eye?

How To Remove A Fish Hook:  Method #1

String Yank Technique

The string yank technique method of removing a fish hook works best if the hook is embedded in loose skin. Essentially, a loop of strong fishing line can be looped onto the bend of the hook and pulled out of the skin while pressing on the eye of the hook with your finger.

String Yank Technique Of Removing A Fish Hook

  • Carefully and thoroughly wash your hands and the area around the wound
  • Loop a piece of fishing line around the bend in the fishhook
  • Press the shank of the fish hook against the skin with your index finger
  • Wrap the other end of the fishing line several times around your other index finger, and use your thumb to hold the string tightly
  • Move your index finger close to the hook to allow for some slack in the line
  • Carefully jerk the string suddenly, ensuring it’s in line with the hook to remove it
  • Thoroughly cleans the affected area and apply bandage

How To Remove A Fish Hook: Method #2

Advance And Cut Technique

The advance and cut method works best when the fish hook is embedded in tight skin or very deep. This method of removing a fish hook is pretty much what it sounds like.  In short, you advance the point and barb of the hook all the way out.  Cut the barb off.  Then back the hook out of your skin.

Advance Yank Technique Of Removing A Fish Hook

  • Wash your hands with soap and water. Then wash the skin surrounding the hook
  • Apply gentle pressure along the curve of the fish hook while pulling on the hook
  • If the tip of the hook lies near the surface of the skin, push the tip through the skin. Then cut it off just behind the barb with wire cutters. Remove the rest of the hook by pulling it back through the way it entered the skin.
  • Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water. Apply a loose sterile dressing. DO NOT close the wound with tape and apply antibiotic ointment. Doing so can increase the chance of infection.
  • Watch skin for signs of infection such as redness, swelling, pain, or drainage

A Few Tips For Preventing Getting A Fish Hook Injury

  • Keep a safe distance between you and other near by fisherman.  This is especially true in casting situations and crowded fishing areas.
  • Keep a pair of fishing pliers with a wire-cutting blade, like the Piscifun III aluminum fishing pliers with you or in your tackle box.
  • Keep disinfecting solution in your tackle box.
  • Stay up to date on your tetanus immunization.  According to the Mayo Clinic and You should get a booster shot every 10 years.

Written by Don

When I'm not bass fishing or looking for steelhead in my home state of Oregon I can be found working on house projects dreaming of my next fishing adventure.

I started this website to share just some of the things I've learned along my fishing journey, and the many things I'm still learning. Enjoy!

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