How to Remove a Fishing Hook in the Hand

How to Remove a Fishing Hook in the Hand
Hooking yourself or another angler quickly puts a damper on a day's fishing. However, a fishhook often can be removed at the dock or on the boat, without a doctor. Anglers commonly employ three methods of hook removal, using readily available equipment. Assess the situation with caution. If the hook is buried too deep or you don't feel confident in your ability to remove it, leave the hook in and visit a doctor.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Needle-nosed pliers
  • Sidecutters
  • 20-pound-test fishing line
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Bandage
  • Hydrogen peroxide
Step 1
Assess the situation. If the hook isn't buried beyond the barb, or if the hook is barbless, you might be able to back the hook out. Grasp the bend of the hook between your thumb and forefinger or with needle-nosed pliers. Push down on the hook eye, pressing it tightly to the skin to limit the barb's ability to dig in, and gently back out the hook.
Step 2
You can sometimes remove a hook by pushing the point deeper into the skin. This method works best when the hook is buried close to the skin's surface. This isn't always possible if the flesh is too thick or if blood vessels or bones would impede the hook. Push the hook until the point and barb pop out of the skin. Then cut the hook with a sidecutter or needle-nosed pliers, and back out the eye and shank.
Step 3
If these methods don't work, the string-yank technique often does. Although the process is admittedly painful, the anticipation of pain is often most vexing because the actual hook removal is extremely fast. It is similar to pulling out a child's baby tooth in that respect.
Step 4
Cut a three-foot length of the strongest available fishing line. Twenty-pound test or stronger is ideal, but use whatever is available. You can double up lighter line for additional strength.
Step 5
Tie the line to the hook's bend with a strong knot, such as a clinch knot.
Step 6
Have someone (not the victim) wrap the loose line around his hand several times. Wear a glove if possible to prevent the line from cutting into the hand. Or wrap the line around a board or fishing rod, and hold the object.
Step 7
Press the victim's hooked hand tightly against something solid for support, such as a boat gunwale or dock. Place the victim's other hand over the hooked hand for stability.
Step 8
Press the eye of the hook down to the skin or even lower if the hook is near the hand's edge. Pressing the hook eye down disengages the barb.
Step 9
With a sharp jerk, the puller yanks the hook out while maintaining downward pressure on the hook eye. Like removing a bandage, do it quickly and in one motion.

Tips & Warnings

Examine the wound for foreign materials such as bait or metal pieces and remove. Treat the wound with antibiotic ointment, and cover with a bandage. Clean with hydrogen peroxide as soon as possible. Get a tetanus booster if it has been more than five years since your last shot. Give the victim food and water to alleviate any nauseous feelings. You might be able to remove a treble hook in the same fashion. Assess the situation. Cutting off the other hooks, if possible, can help.

Article Written By Joe Shead

Joe Shead is a freelance writer specializing in outdoor writing. He has written for numerous national and regional outdoor magazines on various topics from hunting to fishing to his pet subject, shed antler hunting.

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