How to Remove a Fishing Hook From the Leg

How to Remove a Fishing Hook From the Leg
Fishing is an active participation sport, and as with any sport, there is the potential for injury. One of the most common injuries associated with fishing is embedded fish hooks. A barbed hook does not discriminate between the mouth of a fish and you. Your face, arms and legs are all fair game and may require different treatments. A fish hook in the leg, for example, can be a minor injury or an emergency situation.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Gauze
  • Soap and water
  • Wound cleanser
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Band-Aids
  • Ice
  • Wire cutters
  • Absorbent pad

Advance and Cut Method

Step 1
Evaluate the wound site in the leg. Determine if the barb of the hook has penetrated beneath the surface of the skin, and if so, how deeply. Also determine if the hook is embedded deeply to the point of affecting a tendon or other muscle tissue. Look for large amounts of blood coming from the injury that may indicate an artery is involved. If any of these conditions exist, pack the wound with gauze and go to an emergency facility.
Step 2
To remove a hook that has not penetrated the skin past the barb, gently pull the point of the hook straight out of the leg until it is removed. Clean the wound site with soap and water or other wound cleanser. Apply a small amount of antibiotic ointment and dress with a Band-Aid or other bandage.
Step 3
To remove a hook that has the barb embedded in the leg, first wash the area around the wound with soap and water or other wound cleanser. Also wash your hands thoroughly--you might consider wearing sterile medical gloves.
Step 4
Apply a cube of ice to the area around the leg wound. Leave the ice on the skin only long enough for slight numbing to occur. Be careful not to damage the surrounding tissue of the leg by allowing the ice to contact the leg for more than a minute or so.
Step 5
Hold the shank, or long section, of the hook and turn the point gradually toward the surface of the skin and push slightly to guide it out.
Step 6
Clip off the hook behind the barb with wire cutters. Pull the now barb-less hook out following the original route of entry. Thoroughly wash the wound site, apply antibiotic ointment and dress with a Band-Aid or absorbent pad and tape.

Tips & Warnings

If there is any doubt as to the depth or possible damage done by the hook, pack the wound and get professional medical treatment as soon as possible.

Article Written By Keith Dooley

Keith Dooley has a degree in outdoor education and sports management. He has worked as an assistant athletic director, head coach and assistant coach in various sports including football, softball and golf. Dooley has worked for various websites in the past, contributing instructional articles on a wide variety of topics.

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