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String-pull method for removing a fishhook

If the fishhook is not deeply embedded, the string-pull method for removing a fishhook may be used. If removal of the fishhook is too painful, seek medical care. If the fishhook has more than one barb, cut all the barbs off or tape the other barbs so you do not get hurt again.

Step A

Step A
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slide 1 of 3, Step A,

Tie a piece of string, dental floss, or fishing line to the hook where it enters the skin.

Step B

Step B
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slide 2 of 3, Step B,

Hold the hook with your fingers slightly above where you tied the string. Press down gently about 0.13 in. (0.3 cm) to loosen the barb.

Step C

Step C
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slide 3 of 3, Step C,

While still pressing the hook down (barb loosened), jerk the string so that the hook shaft pulls the barb out of the skin. When the fishhook comes out of the skin, it may fly or flip out. Take care not to hurt yourself or a bystander with the loose fishhook.

Be sure to clean the wound to prevent infection.

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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