Video Pro Tip: How to Remove a Fish Hook from Your Skin

We’ve posted several videos on this subject, but it’s always fun to see a new one. (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 previous lessons on this subject:

Removing a Hook with Style

How to Remove a Fly Stuck in Your Skin

Another Good Hook Removal Demonstration

11 thoughts on “Video Pro Tip: How to Remove a Fish Hook from Your Skin”

  1. Phil, I’ve hooked myself in the neck, in the dark and had to decide: I just got here, it’s only my second cast, I have the river to myself… Do I leave and get help, or do I take it out and keep fishing???

    I tried to just leave it in there, and keep fishing, figuring I’ll take care of it later, but every-time I cast, it would bother me, and I was concerned about the fly line straying and taking the hook out inadvertently. So I took my fly line, looped it around the bend like in the video, pressed down on the eye, and counted to three. Popped right out, no problem, and the fishing continued!

    So in the neck, no problem, as long as it’s not in your jugular or something! 😉

  2. He was close to double-hook himself. This method is extremely efficient and leaves little damage “IF” you pull the right direction and press the hook eye downwards towards your skin (in his case the leg) The pull should NOT be straight in line with the hook shank, but rather in a downward angle, so that the pressure from the thread opens the entry wound and the barb slips out without tearing more flesh.

    In his case the barb shaved of quite some meat in the entry wound. Had he pulled even a little more upwards, the hook would have turned on the thread and pivoted around and hooked him deeper or pulled the hook around and made an exit hole with the tip.

    Done right, this is the absolute best way of removing any size of hook.

    Tight lines!

  3. The correct way is to push down on the hook eye, with the loop near the top of the bend, (not in the middle of the bend) pull sharply back and slightly upwards (while still pushing down on the hook eye), this will roll the hook out the way it went in with the hook point preventing the barb from catching.
    Over some 60 years of fishing including guiding I have removed hundreds of hooks from people, all done with absolutely no pain, not once. Don’t want to spam but this article has been read by many thousands –

  4. It’s good to see that he is wearing glasses when we see him casting in the start of the video.
    I hope it is without an genuine fly at the business end 🙂

  5. OK, I flinched a bit watching this. Very interesting technique though and I’m glad I saw this – I wonder if it’ll work on size 12/0 hooks for Marlin ?

  6. Very practical article. after removing the hook, it’s better to disinfect for your skin. after all, the hook is metallic ad rusty with bacteria. the skin is easily to be infected. Anyway, it’s still very scary to be sticked by fishing hook.

  7. it works, i had a hook removed that way 50 years ago by the chemist in Port Macquarie. Called it his “rope trick”.
    Hook was embedded in my knuckle joint. Until now i didnt understand how this worked…now thanks to that great video i can see how it worked.thanks

  8. Now thats dedication, stabbing yourself to show how to remove a hook. I think I would have used a steak or something for educational purposes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *