Removing a Fishhook

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.
  • 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 the fishhook is not near an eye, joint, bone, or deep muscle, and you are confident you can remove it, try these steps.

  1. First, cut any fishing line, fish, bait, or lure from the fishhook.

    This is best done with sharp, side-cutting pliers.

  2. Use ice or cold water for 2 to 3 minutes to numb the area.
  3. If the barb of the fishhook has not entered the skin, pull the tip of the hook back out.
  4. If the barb is embedded in the skin, first try the string-pull method.
  5. If medical help is not available and the fishhook is deeply embedded in the skin, try the advance-and-cut method.

    If medical help is available, have a deeply embedded fishhook removed by a doctor or nurse.

Related Information

Credits

Current as of: March 9, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
H. Michael O'Connor MD - Emergency Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine

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This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.