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Individual casting a fishing line

First Aid for Fish Hook Removal:Emergency Conditions

Signs & Symptoms

A fishhook can nick or cut the skin, get stuck in the skin near its surface, or get deeply embedded in the skin.

Self-Care / First Aid

For a Fishhook Deeply Embedded in the Skin

  • Put ice or cold water on the wound area to numb it. Push on the shaft of the hook until the barb protrudes. With wire cutters, snip the hook at either the shank or the barb. Pull the hook out.
  • Wash the wound area well with soap and water. Treat for a puncture wound.

For a Fishhook Stuck Near the Surface of the Skin

  • Put ice or cold water on the wound area.
  • Take a piece of fishing line. Loop one end and tie it to the hook near the surface of the skin. Grasp the shaft end of the hook with one hand and press down about 1/8th inch to disengage the barb.
  • Keep pressing the hook down and jerk the fishing line in a motion parallel to the skin’s surface to make the shaft of the hook lead the barb out of the skin. Treat for a puncture wound.

Note: For nicks or surface cuts to the skin, treat for a cut.

Avatar Written by American Institute for Preventive Medicine