What to Do When a Fishing Hook Gets Stuck in Your Finger

To remove a fishing hook stuck in a finger, cut the fishing line, lure, or bait from the hook to remove the fishing hook in the finger. Next, apply ice on the affected area to numb the nerves. If the hook has not penetrated through the skin, gently pull the tip of your hook. If the barb has pierced through the skin, use the string-pull method. If the hook has deeply penetrated, push it through to the other side instead of pulling it. Cut the barbs, and remove the remaining parts. Afterward, immediately clean the wound site, cover it with a non-adherent bandage, and seek medical help.

Accidents do happen even after you’ve observed all fishing safety precautions. A fish hook can injure your skin, ears, eyes, scalp, and fingers. So what do you do when a hook punctures your finger? Here, you will learn what you can do when you get hooked, how to clean and dress the wound, and how to prevent the injury from getting infected.

fishing hook in finger
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What to Do If You Get Hooked

Fish hooks are dangerous, and if your finger gets hooked, the first thing is to evaluate the seriousness of the fish hook injury. Suppose the hook is deeply embedded in your tissue or major blood vessels. In that case, it’s advisable to go to the emergency room and get immediate medical attention instead of removing it yourself.

However, you can remove a fish hook if the barb only pierces the skin. Here are the most common methods to remove a fish hook from your finger.

1. Pushing the Hook Through

This is the most common technique that most anglers use. When using this method, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Clean the Wound Site

Before removing the fish hook stuck in your finger, clean the area with clean cold water to remove dirt and clotted blood.

Step 2: Push the Hook Through

Gently push the hook through until you see it on the other side of your finger. Doing this protects you significantly from ripping your flesh if a barbed hook wounds you.

Step 3: Cut the Barb

After pushing the hook, cut the barb using a pair of wire cutters to remove the fish hook without sustaining more injuries.

Step 4: Remove the Remaining Hook

Instead of ripping the hooks out, gently pull the remaining hook.

Step 5: Stop the Bleeding

Apply pressure on the injured area until the bleeding slows or stops. Once you stop bleeding, cover the wound using a non-stick bandage and consult a medical professional.

2. String Yank Technique

This fish hook removal technique works best when the hook is superficially embedded in the tissue. Follow the steps below to remove the fishing hooks deeply embedded.

Step 1: Attach a Fishing Line

Cut at least one foot of your fishing line and carefully create a loop around where the bend of the hook is.

Step 2: Apply Pressure

Apply enough pressure where the fish hook is while holding the string in one hand. Be careful not to push the hook deeper.

Step 3: Yank the String

Gently yank the string while pushing down on your hook’s eye to prevent ripping a large hole. Remember, this technique will rip out your skin, so clean the wound immediately after removing the hook to protect the injury from infection.

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Cleaning and Dressing the Wound

Hooks tend to be dirty, as they are used for fishing in areas filled with algae and bacteria. When they pierce you, taking care of the wound is advisable to prevent further infection.

So, how do you clean and dress the wound? Follow the steps below.

  • Disinfect the wound using a saline solution. You should use diluted hydrogen peroxide as it’s pretty effective in disinfecting wounds.
  • Clean the wound after removing the hook and then apply an antibiotic cream.
  • Wrap the wounded place with a bandage to help keep the area free of germs and dirt. Ensure you change it regularly to ensure the wound gets enough air circulation.
  • If the wound is deep and large, visit your medical professional to close it up.

Preventing Infection

Taking care of your wound reduces the chances of getting an infection. Sometimes, the injury can fail to heal properly because of an infection. You know the wound is infected if you experience the following symptoms.

  • The area around the wound keeps on swelling.
  • There’s warmth emanating from the wound.
  • There’s some fluid emanating from the wound.
  • Red streaks are coming from the wounded area.
  • The wound is not healing.

How to Prevent an Infection

You are supposed to take care of the wound after the hook is removed. To prevent infection:

  • Keep the injured finger elevated to reduce pain and swelling.
  • Keep the wounded area clean and dry by replacing the bandage after every few hours.
  • Avoid swimming and soaking in a tub for about one week to give the wound time to heal correctly.
  • Don’t soak the wounded area to prevent infection.
  • If the wound is painful, use painkillers to relieve the pain. Some healthcare providers will prescribe antibiotics to prevent an infection from occurring if you have a puncture wound.
  • Get a tetanus shot within the next 72 hours to prevent further infection. Remember, most hooks are usually rusty and could carry harmful tetanus bacteria.

Seeking Medical Attention

Most anglers remove the fishing hooks by themselves if they’re not deeply embedded in the skin. However, seek medical attention if you observe the following.

  • You experience severe bleeding.
  • The wound is deep and extensive and needs to be stitched.
  • The hook has injured the joints, nerves, blood vessels, bones, or ligaments.
  • You don’t know the basic first aid measures and are scared to remove the hook at home.

The technique used to remove the hook depends on the type of injury. In a medical emergency room, doctors can use the following methods.

1. Needle Cover Technique

A doctor uses an 18 or 20-gauge needle to remove superficial or multiple hooks. An anesthetic is first applied, and the needle is then inserted to cover the barbs and disengage them from the embedded tissues. Next, the barb and the needle are removed simultaneously.

2. Advance and Cut Technique

Doctors use needle drivers to push the hook to penetrate the surface and flatten the barbs using pliers. They first inject an anesthetic since this option has the most potential for tissue trauma.


Cut the fishing line, lure, or bait from the hook to remove a fishhook stuck in a finger. Next, apply ice on the wound to numb the nerves. If the hook has not penetrated through the skin, gently pull the tip of your hook.

Remember, hooks tend to be dirty, so taking care of the wound is advisable to prevent further infection. You know the wound is infected if you experience symptoms such as swelling, redness, or pus, and you should visit the nearest health center.

Moreover, seek medical attention if the hook is deeply stuck, the wound needs stitches, and when you are bleeding severely.

Diana Nadim
Fishing Expert
Diana began fishing at the age of seven, as it has been a long-time family tradition. From catching small bullheads to catching strippers on the backwaters of Bighorn, she loves to get out in the wild and have a marvelous day on the water. Her dad was an expert angler, and he taught her fishing along with her two siblings. They used to go to the Bighorn River in Montana and Henry’s fork, Idaho. As a pragmatic person, she is obsessed with creating well-researched and practical guides and reviews of the best fishing methods and gear.
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