If you find yourself hooked, follow the steps below, compiled from the U.S. National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health website and The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide.
First, Assess How Bad is the Hook Injury
- 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?
Running through these questions can help you determine if you can remove the hook yourself or if you should seek immediate medical attention.
In the case that a single-barbed hook – or the hook, but no barb at all – has made its way just under the skin, you may be able to remove it yourself.
In cases that involve multi-barbed hooks, hooks near arteries, deep injuries or a hook caught in/near the eye or face, seeking medical attention from a professional is the best way to go.
Tip: In the event you catch yourself while fishing, Bass Pro Shops has a complete Emergency Hook Remover Kit to keep in your tackle box or boat.
If you are able to remove the hook yourself, please follow these instructions:
If the barb of the fish hook has not made its way under the skin, simply pull the hook back out in the direction opposite that it went in.
If the barb is embedded just beneath the skin, however, removal gets a bit more complicated but can be achieved through several methods. We’ve included one below – the fish line method – but for more options, be sure to visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health website.
How to Remove a Fish Hook Using the Fishing Line Method:
- Carefully and thoroughly cleanse hands and area around the wound.
- Loop a piece of fishing line around the bend in the fishhook.
- Press shank of hook against skin with index finger. (1)
- Wrap the other end of fishing line several times around other index finger, and use thumb to hold string tightly. (2)
- Move index finger close to hook to allow for slack in line.
- Then jerk the string suddenly, in line with the hook, to remove it.
- Thoroughly cleanse affected area and apply bandage.
Please note, if your tetanus immunization is not current, you should seek immediate medical attention, even if you remove the hook yourself.
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