Main AHCA Website

AHCA’s main website for information on Medicaid, Health Quality Assurance and the Florida Center for Health Information and Transparency.

Go >

Florida Health Information Network

This website provides information and resources relating to AHCA’s initiatives for Health Information Technology and Health Information Exchange.

Go >


FloridaHealthFinder.gov

Provides health education and information to compare and locate health care providers in Florida to make well-informed health care decisions.

Go >
AHCA Network of Websites

Health Education


Health Encyclopedia

Search the Health Encyclopedia

Fishhook removal

Definition

This article discusses how to remove a fishhook that is stuck in the skin.

Alternative Names

Fishhook removal from skin

Causes

Fishing accidents are the most common cause of fishhooks stuck in the skin.

Symptoms

A fishhook stuck in the skin can cause:

First Aid

If the barb of the hook has not entered the skin, pull the tip of the hook out in the opposite direction it went in. Otherwise, you can use one of the following ways to remove a hook that is superficially (not deeply) embedded just beneath the skin.

Fish line method:

  • First, wash your hands with soap and water or use a disinfecting solution. Then wash the skin surrounding the hook.
  • Put a loop of fish line through the bend of the fishhook so that a quick jerk can be applied and the hook can be pulled out directly in line with the shaft of the hook.
  • Holding onto the shaft, push the hook slightly downwards and inwards (away from the barb) so as to disengage the barb.
  • Holding this pressure constant to keep the barb disengaged, give a quick jerk on the fish line and the hook will pop out.
  • Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water. Apply a loose, sterile dressing. DO NOT close the wound with tape and apply antibiotic ointment. Doing so can increase the chance of infection.
  • Watch the skin for signs of infection such as redness, swelling, pain, or drainage.

Wire cutting method:

  • First, wash your hands with soap and water or disinfecting solution. Then wash the skin surrounding the hook.
  • Apply gentle pressure along the curve of the fishhook while pulling on the hook.
  • If the tip of the hook lies near the surface of the skin, push the tip through the skin. Then cut it off just behind the barb with wire cutters. Remove the rest of the hook by pulling it back through the way it entered.
  • Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water. Apply a loose sterile dressing. DO NOT close the wound with tape and apply antibiotic ointment. Doing so can increase the chance of infection.
  • Watch skin for signs of infection such as redness, swelling, pain, or drainage.

DO NOT use any of the two methods above, or any other method, if the hook is stuck deeply in the skin, or in a joint or tendon, or located in or near an eye or artery. Get medical help right away.

A fishhook in the eye is a medical emergency, and you should go to the nearest emergency room right away. The injured person should lie down with the head slightly raised. They should not move the eye and the eye should be protected from further injury.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

The main advantage to getting medical help for any fishhook injury is that it can be removed under local anesthesia. This means before the hook is removed, the doctor numbs the area with medicine.

Call your doctor if:

  • You have a fishhook injury and your tetanus immunization is not up to date (or if you are unsure)
  • After the fishhook is removed, the area starts to show signs of infection such as increasing redness, swelling, pain, or drainage

Prevention

  • Keep a safe distance between you and another person who is fishing (in particular, casting).
  • Keep electrician's pliers with a wire-cutting blade and disinfecting solution in your tackle box.
  • Make sure you are up to date on your tetanus immunization (vaccine). You should get a booster shot every 10 years.

References

Otten EJ. Hunting and and fishing injuries. In: Auerbach PS, ed. Wilderness Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2012:chap 24.

Stone, DB, Scordino DJ. Foreign body removal. In: Roberts JR, ed. Roberts and Hedges' Clinical Procedures in Emergency Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014: chap 36.

Review Date:1/12/2015
Reviewed By:Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997-A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

adam.com

The Agency for Health Care Administration (Agency) and this website do not claim the information on, or referred to by, this site is error free. This site may include links to websites of other government agencies or private groups. Our Agency and this website do not control such sites and are not responsible for their content. Reference to or links to any other group, product, service, or information does not mean our Agency or this website approves of that group, product, service, or information.

Additionally, while health information provided through this website may be a valuable resource for the public, it is not designed to offer medical advice. Talk with your doctor about medical care questions you may have.

Health
Outcome Data

No data available for this condition/procedure.

Images

Health Encyclopedia

More Features

We Appreciate Your Feedback
1. Did you find this information useful?
         Yes
         No

2. Would you recommend this website to family and friends?
         Yes
         No