Hooking yourself or someone else is a miserable affair. What has to happen next is at times even more miserable, especially if you’re ill-prepared to do so. Driving a hook into someone is usually instantaneous and unexpected, so there’s no anticipation. Removing a hook from someone has palpable anticipation on the other hand.
So here are two tips for removing a hook if you find yourself in the middle of a full-blown crap storm and need a little guidance. Full disclaimer, I am not a doctor and there will, unfortunately, be times when you’ll need one for this. And I am not liable for the advice I’m about to give, but I can attest to its reliability as I have used both methods before.
How to Remove a Hook: #1 – Cut the Hook Off Past the Barb
If you have a hook that’s in flesh past the barb but the point has made its way back close to the skin, this is sometimes a good option. You have to twist the hook until the point pops back through the skin and past the barb and then cut the hook off below the barb and the barbless hook shaft will smoothly slide back out.
This is rarely the best option, however. I had to do this once for my dad. It was not fun. It takes a considerable amount of pressure to push a hook point through. There’s typically a “popped-tent” shape to the skin before the hook finally breaks through and it sounds like a 22 firing off when it does. Pretty nauseating if you’re keen to be squeamish in the slightest way.
The only situation where I would recommend this is when the next method won’t work.
If there are multiple hooks in and the line trick won’t work or if the hook stayed up next to the skin the whole time and there’s not much meat involved. Otherwise, plan B which we’ll now discuss should be plan A.
How to Remove a Hook: #2 – The Line Trick
There are lots of videos out there about this one, and it’s an extremely effective solution for a nasty problem. I’m not sure who originated the method, but hats off to them for trying this the first time because I surely wouldn’t have had the b… ravery.
I had to do this recently for my buddy Ben. Because he had a hook in him… that I placed there. It happened on a cast where I was attempting to throw a topwater a particularly long way. I had my rod loaded up and slung the bait as hard as I could. Or attempted too. Instead, I lodged a hook deep in the back of my buddy’s arm and we both about threw up.
But it was almost dark and we had limited time before we’d be trying to remove the hook by flashlight so I snapped into action. The hook was way past the barb, all the way to the bend. I had never used the line trick before. That was running through my head. I hoped that Ben wouldn’t ask if I had ever used the line trick before. Ben asked… I should have lied looking back. But I didn’t.
We were both even more concerned at that point.
It was time to try it now. I was able to remove the bait from the hook with split ring pliers, something I definitely suggest if possible to take the weight off the hook and to prevent another hook from entering the patient accidentally later in the process.
I cut off a few feet of 65-pound test braid, wrapped both ends around my hands so that there was no way that either end would slip. I put the line in the bend of the hook and then Ben pressed down on the eye of the hook so that it was against his skin. This in turn angles the hook to where the barb will come out as smoothly as possible. Then I started counting to 3 and snatched like H-E-double-hockey-sticks on 2.
The hook popped out and went flying with no pain according to Ben and we were both ecstatic for the nightmare to be over. Yeah, he gave me grief about it for a while, and it still comes up on occasion.
But the line trick saved the day and is definitely something I suggest you become familiar with, in the event you may need it down the road.