Fishhook Removal

Fishing is an extremely popular recreational sport.  As with all sports, accidents happen. Getting snagged by a fishhook is a lot more common than you might think.

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The most difficult assessment you face when attempting to remove an embedded fishook is exactly how deep is the hook into the skin. If the hook is anywhere near an artery, eye or major organ, don’t touch it. Let a medical professional remove the hook.

There are several fishhook removal techniques mentioned online but only a few are suited for an untrained person. One technique requires wire cutters or any extremely strong pair of scissors. You must decide if which method is safe to perform given the location of the hook and the associated technique.


All fishhooks have a barb at the end. Some have multiple barbs at the end and several along the shaft. This technique will work ONLY if the hook has a single barb at the end.

  • Push down on the hook, away from the barb. Gently wiggle the hook along the same path it entered the skin. If the barb isn’t huge, you might be able to wiggle the hook out same way it went it.
  • This method seldom works but should be the first technique you try.



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This method has several different names. The technique involves pressing down on the hook while quickly yanking on the shaft.

  • Secure a piece of fishing string, shoestring, cloth, or some type of wrap around the curve of the hook. The ideal location is the curve of the hook.
  • Press on the embedded hook to disengage the barb.
  • With one quick motion, pull on the attached string or other material that you wrapped around the curve of the hook.



  • Push the hook with a twisting motion until the barbed end protrudes through the skin.
  • Cut off the barbed end of the hook. To cut the hook you’ll need wire cutters or very strong scissors.
  • Back out the remainder of the hook the same way it went in.



The above method also works for hooks with multiple barbs. Some hooks have barbs along the entire length of the shaft. Cut off the eye of the hook and push the remainder through the skin.


We also offer a free certificate of completion. To receive the certificate you must pass a 50-question test with a score of 70 or higher. Check our Basic First Aid Certificate of Completion page for more information.

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