Classic Video: How to Remove a Fish Hook from Your Skin

We’ve posted several videos on this subject over the years, but this is one of the best. (Does that make me a sadist?) What’s important is the that the technique works, so it’s worth taking a refresher course. Here, Iowan Michael Chilton, of Rod + Rivet, impales himself for our benefit. And that’s no size 16 dry-fly hook he’s using, either.

The only thing that Michael forgets to mention is that you need to push downward on the hook eye before you yank. You’ll see that he does this, but it’s not part of the narration. I would also argue that the yanking motion should be more upward, but perhaps it doesn’t much matter, as long as you’re holding the hook eye down.

There are two caveats here: 1. This technique is for hooks embedded below the neck, only. (Also don’t try it if the hook is stuck in near any. . .ahem. . .sensitive areas), and 2. These videos are not for the squeamish. You have been warned.

If you enjoyed this, here are some of our other lessons on this subject:

How to Remove a Hook from a Human, with Jazz and Fly Fishing

Removing a Hook with Style

How to Remove a Fly Stuck in Your Skin

Another Good Hook Removal Demonstration

10 thoughts on “Classic Video: How to Remove a Fish Hook from Your Skin”

  1. This happened to me more than once. First time I hooked my ear. My friend tried with great success. I kept fishing and didnt miss a beat. Saved me a couple hospital trips.

  2. I fish all summer in the Yellowstone area, and almost every year I have to show this technique to someone who has fished for years. They are amazed at how it works. It must be true that people don’t read much any more.

  3. I appreciate the technique displayed on these videos, but let me tell you what is even simpler. Just take your needle-nose pliers or forceps, grab the bend of the hook and jerk the hook out twisting upwards at the same time. Do it within the first 30 seconds to a minute, before your muscles start to contract around the wound and it is simple. Generally your buddy cannot help you because he thinks it will hurt you.
    If it is a treble hook, two hooks buried through your pants, then the line around the bend in these videos does not seem to be able to work (I am not going to puncture myself to try it), but it has happened to me when a big Ling threw the treble right into the calf of my leg while the other hook was still in his mouth,. His thrashing around buried it deep. As soon as we had him cold cocked, I took the pliers, and jerked the first hook out twisting upwards, then the second hook (took 3 tries since it was through the pants and I could not see the actual hooks) . It did not even bleed and I forgot which leg within 20 minutes. Remember, your buddy doesn’t want to hurt you and will delay the whole process while you are pleading with him. So just do it yourself if you can reach it. Time is essential.

  4. One of my fishing friends went to the emergency room to remove a hook. He told me they didn’t know how to get it out. They deaden the area and the pull it out along with a string of tendon from his finger. When I get a hook stuck in me with a barb left on I cut the eye off and push the hook through and pull it out. I will try the string method next time.

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