Removing a Fishhook

Topic Overview

Do not try to remove a fishhook (seek medical care instead) if any of the following are true:

  • The fishhook is in or near an eye. See first aid measures.
  • The fishhook is in a joint, in a bone, or deep in a muscle.
  • You are concerned that removing the fishhook may damage nearby blood vessels or nerves.
  • The person who is injured is not calm and cannot help.
  • You are afraid to remove the fishhook.

If none of the above conditions are true, try to remove the fishhook.

  • First, cut any fishing line, fish, bait, or lure from the fishhook. This is best done with sharp, side-cutting pliers.
  • Use ice or cold water for 2 to 3 minutes to numb the area.
  • If the barb of the fishhook has not entered the skin, pull the tip of the hook back out.
  • If the barb is embedded in the skin, first try the string-pull method.
  • If medical help is not available and the fishhook is deeply embedded in the skin, try the advance-and-cut method. Push the hook the rest of the way through the skin, snip off the barb with wire cutters, and remove the rest of the fishhook from where it entered the skin. If medical help is available, have a deeply embedded fishhook removed by a doctor or nurse.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last Revised April 22, 2013

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