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Saturday, July 2, 2022

You’ve Hooked Yourself While Fishing, Now What?

Getting a hook stuck in your finger is something that invariably happens to us all. I’m going to cover the basic steps of safely removing it and treating the area so you can get back to fishing as quickly as possible.

Don’t Panic

This is the most important part. It will hurt a bit and your finger will probably bleed, but stay calm and you can easily remedy the situation. There are two methods I’m going to discuss and both will require fine motor skills, which you will not have if your adrenaline is pumping. Take some deep breaths, assess the situation, and gather the tools you will need.

String Method

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The first and probably easiest method to try is known as the string method.

  • Basically, you will want to tie some fishing line to the hook between the barb and the straight shaft that leads to the eye. Use a basic fisherman’s or surgeon’s knot.
  • Now, With your non-hooked hand, push down on the eye of the hook. This will tip the barb vertically and should push the hook as far out as possible, though not past the barb.
  • At the same time, you want to use the line you tied to give a firm yank on the hook. If all goes well the hook will pop out. It will probably take some skin with it, but not enough to be a real concern.
  • This method can be tricky by yourself, but be creative. If you’ve hooked your index finger you can use your ring and pinky finger to pull the string. Or you can tie the string to something on the boat or your tackle box and use that to gain leverage.

Advance & Cut

The advance and cut technique is less than ideal. I would start with the string method first, and if unable to remove the hook then try advance and cut.

  • First, remove anything extraneous attached to the hook. If the hook is part of a treble hook or lure, use pliers to cut the other hooks or lure off.
  • Next, using the pliers you will need to advance the hook further through your finger. It sounds counterintuitive, but the goal here is to get the barbed end of the hook to advance enough that it pokes through your finger.
  • Once the barbed end has been advanced through your finger and is visible above the skin, use your pliers to cut off the hook below the barb.
  • Now, using the pliers back the now barbless hook out. It should come out pretty easily with the barb removed.

This method is not always for the faint of heart, but for a truly stuck hook is often the only solution. It will cause pain and will bleed. However, this is the same way that a doctor is going to remove the hook.

After The Hook is Removed

In my article on stocking your tackle box, I advocated for always having some basic medical supplies on you. This is a good example of why. Using an alcohol wipe or some clean water (not the lake/river/stream) rinse the wound out. Assess the bleeding. If it seems manageable, apply Neosporin and either a bandaid or some gauze and medical tape. If the wound continues to bleed through the bandage you will need to try other options such as super glue or clotting powder to get the bleeding to stop. If you have to stabilize bleeding that won’t stop it is probably a good idea to visit a doctor to see if you need stitches.

That’s it. Hooking yourself is not a pleasant experience (I’d rather go to the dentist), but it happens to the best of us. Keeping you cool and following these simple steps can help you work through the situation and get back to fishing.

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