4 Techniques To Remove Hook From Your Skin

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What to Do When Your Skin is Hooked Instead of the Fish

Fishing is one of the most popular recreational sports in the world. Less serious injuries to anglers are reported. However, injuries involving fishing hooks hooking up part of your skin are a common occurrence. Most of these injuries are minor. However, they all require careful evaluation before any attempt to remove the hook.

Source: pinterest.com
Source: pinterest.com

There are different methods of removing hooks depending on the type of the hook, the depth of tissue penetration and the location of the injury. While the removal can be done right on the field, some embedded fishing hooks cannot be removed in this manner as the injury has to be evaluated first before the hook is removed. The fishing hook removal techniques include retrograde technique,  and cut technique, needle cover technique, and string-yank technique.

Retrograde Technique

Retrograde Technique Source:aafp.org
Retrograde Technique

Of all the removal methods, the retrograde technique is the simplest. It is the best technique to remove hooks that are barbless and that are superficially embedded. It works by applying downward pressure to the shank of the hook. The hook is removed from the skin along the path of entry. If the hook has a barb, the hook is rotated deeper to disengage the barb from the skin. If you feel the barb catching the skin or some resistance, alert the physician to avoid further damaging of the skin. Other removal methods may be considered.


String-yank technique


String and Yank Technique Source: outdoorcanada.ca
String and Yank Technique
Source: outdoorcanada.ca

String-yank technique is more effective as compared to retrograde technique. It is usually performed on the field. It is least traumatic as it does not create new wounds and can be performed without anesthesia. Although it can be used to remove fishing hooks of any size, it works the best when removing small and medium-sized hooks. It is ideal for removing hooks that are deeply embedded but does not work for the parts of the body that are not fixed such as earlobes and nose.

This method works by tying a string such as a fishing line to the shank of the hook. You then push it down firmly on the back of the eye of the hook. You then quickly yank back on the string making sure that it is parallel to the shank before pulling. This enables you to pull the hook out without occasioning a lot of damage to your skin.

Needle cover technique


Needle Technique Source: aafp.org
Needle Technique
Source: aafp.org

Needle cover technique works well in removing large hooks with single barbs. This method is most effective when the hook is superficially embedded and can be covered by the needle with much ease. Anesthesia is first administered and a needle either 18-gauge or larger inserted along the entry of the hook. The needle should be inserted parallel to the shank in such a way that its opening engages the barb. The hook needs to be advanced to engage the barb and then pulled and twisted for the point to enter the needle’s lumen. The hook is then pulled the same way it came in.


Cut technique


Cut Technique Source: boylife.org
Cut Technique
Source: boylife.org

Cut technique works well when the point of the hook is embedded near the skin surface. This method works by pushing the point of the hook and barb out of the skin, cutting off the hook below the barb using pliers or needle drivers and then pulling it out along the path of entry. Remember that anesthesia is required for this process because it can be painful.



Take note that you should never try to remove a hook that is embedded in or near the eye, artery or deep into the skin. In this case, you need medical attention without any delays. You should also take care of the wound after successfully removing the hook. Leaving it open and then applying an antibiotic ointment and a simple dressing would do.

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