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How to Remove a Fish Hook From Your Hand, Finger, Etc.

fish hook from hand

Fishing accidents happen, with the most common incident is getting yourself hooked instead of a fish. When that happens, it can ruin a great day of fishing and include an expensive trip to the hospital if you cannot unhook yourself. There are a few methods you can use to remove a fish hook from your hand, finger or wherever you get stuck. In this post, we will take an in-depth look at these methods so you can save that hospital trip and even stay on the water if it’s a minor injury. 

It’s Going to Happen

If you’re in the early stages of your fishing career and it hasn’t happened yet, it will happen, dang near guaranteed. There are many situations in which you can get hooked by a hook, such as:

  • Sitting down on a lure or your rod with a lure attached. 
  • Reaching into a rod locker or compartment and finding a hook in your hand/arm
  • Fishing barefoot with lures or hooks on the deck of a boat
  • Freeing a snagged lure from a tree limb, and it flies back and catches you
  • Attempting to remove hooks from a fish and the fish thrashes the hook into your hand or wrist 
  • Your fishing buddy isn’t paying attention and snags you while attempting to cast

If you have the stomach for it check out this compilation. Be warned.

These scenarios are probably responsible for nearly all hook accidents while fishing and they happen regularly. If one of these scenarios happens to you on the water and you hook yourself, how do you remove it? 

How Badly Are You hooked?

If you were hooked through the skin, you most likely could remove the hook in some fashion, but if the hook is in a tendon, a sensitive area, in the face or near the eye, on deep in the muscle with a large hook, you should go to the hospital. 

Trying to remove a hook that is in or through your tendon can cause some serious and permanent damage and should not be attempted. 

Reverse Pliers Pull Out 

fish hook removal with plier

This is the common and easy method to get a hook out and works better with larger hooks like those found on musky lures or large single hooks. 

Take a needle nose pliers, (probably need to add pliers to essential tools list) which all anglers should have in their boat or kit, and firmly grab the hook shank. Do your best to line up the barb so that it is at the same position the hook entered your skin. 

Pull down to enlarge to wound cavity to give the barb clearance and pull out. 

This method might cause some pain, but getting the hook out is the crucial part. This won’t work all the time, and if this is the case, we need to look at other methods. 

Cut the Barb

Fishing Hook Removal Steps - Cut the Barb
Cut the Barb – Fishing Hook Removal

This method is scary, but it works every time the situation calls for it. 

If the hook is deep and has curved back towards the surface of the skin, the best option is to push that hook all the way through your skin and pierce the barb out at a different location than where it went in. 

Sounds gruesome, right? It’s not that bad, but it requires some willpower on your end to do it, because it will hurt. 

If you manage to get that hook point and barb through the skin again, take a hook cutter (most needle-nose pliers have them) and cut off the barb. 

From here, you can simply pull the hook back through the entry location with no barb left to catch your skin. 

Fishing Line Trick

fish hook removal using a fishing line

Take some strong fishing line like braid or heavy monofilament and loop it around the hook shank. 

After that step is complete, push the eye of the hook down and firmly hold it against your skin. If a buddy is with you, that is his job. 

When you are situated, give a swift and strong yank upwards with the line at the apex of the bend. Be sure to pull upwards and not down in the direction of the eyelet, as this will engage the barb. 

This is by far the easiest and most effective way to remove a hook other than the plier method. The plier method is fairly crude and, in many cases, not nearly as successful as the fishing line method. 

Post Fish Hook Removal 

It would be a good idea to use some antibiotic ointment on the wound after removal. Use some ice first if you have it. Followed by a ban-aid or, in the event of larger amounts of bleeding, some gauze. 

 Or you can be like most anglers and use a napkin and some electrical tape, your call. 

Remove Fish Hook From Your Hand, Finger – Conclusion 

Don’t panic! You might be very capable of removing that hook on your own with these three methods. If done properly will save the day on the water. In the event that you cant remove the hook, your only option will be to go to the hospital. Honestly, if that’s the case, it’s probably the best call anyways. Stay safe, fellow anglers.

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