Assess the Wound
The first thing to do is to assess the wound and see how deep it is. If the hook is buried deep into your skin it would be advisable to seek medical attention immediately to have it removed. For example, it wouldn’t be a wise move to self-treat a deep hook or a hook near the eye.
But if the hook isn’t too deep and you’ve decided to remove it yourself, you can go ahead and do it. You should, however, make sure that you do not aggravate the injury further and so you need to ask yourself the following questions.
- Is the hook single-barbed or multi-barbed?
- Is it very deep?
- Is the hook near the artery?
- Has the barb gone under the skin?
Clean the Area
It’s essential that you thoroughly clean the area before proceeding with the removal process. In addition to giving you the chance to perfectly assess the wound, cleaning the area will remove any debris around the wound.
Push the Hook Through
This is one of the best methods of removing a hook from your finger as long as the hook is not too deep. In other words, it works best if the hook is inserted in loose skin. The easiest thing to do is to carefully and slowly push the hook through the skin until it appears on the other side. This will be very painful but it’s less painful and much better than ripping the hook out the way it came, especially if the barb has fully entered the skin.
Here’s how to do it.
- Thoroughly wash the wound.
- Loop a piece of the fishing line just around the bend of the fishhook.
- Push the shank of the hook against your skin.
- Wrap the end of the fishing line around your other index finger and hold the string firmly using your thumb.
- Place the index finger close to the hook to give you some slackline.
- Jerk the string suddenly to remove the hook
- Thoroughly clean the wound and apply a bandage.
Cut the Barb
This method works best if the hook is embedded very deep into the skin. You should advance the barb of the hook out and cut the barb off and then remove the remaining part of the hook out of the skin. You should have a pair of wire cutters and carefully remove the hook without aggravating the wound any further.
Here’s how to do it.
- Thoroughly wash your hands and the skin around the injured areas with water and soap.
- You should then apply moderate pressure along the curve of the fishhook while pulling the hook.
- Push the tip of the hook through the skin then cut the barb off with the wire cutter.
- You can then remove the rest of the hook by pulling it back through the way it entered the skin.
- Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water and apply a loose sterile dressing.
- Do not apply antibiotic ointment or tightly close the wound as this can cause infection.
- Monitor the area for any signs of infection, swelling, redness, drainage or pain.
Use the Retrograde Method
This method might be the easiest but also the least successful. This method can work if you’re looking to remove a single-barbed hook that’s hooked just on the surface of your skin. You can apply downward pressure to the shank of the hook at the mid-point of the curve to remove the barb so that you can withdraw the remaining part of the hook backward.
Needless to say, having a hook in your finger is very painful so everything you do should be gentle. In other words, slowly pull the remaining part of the hook backward just along the path of entry until it slips out. You should stop from pulling if you feel any form of resistance or otherwise you’ll aggravate the injury.
Dressing and Treating the Would
Your healing process isn’t over once you’ve removed the hook from your finger. Instead, you should continually monitor the area and continue treating it. You should constantly clean the area, dress it with antibiotics and use a bandage to cover the wound from germs or infection.
You can use antibiotics such as Neosporin but remember to cover the wound with a loose-fitting bandage. Make sure that the bandage is always clean and free from bacteria. As such, you should consider changing the bandage whenever it gets dirty, wet or at least once a day. More importantly, you should be careful to ensure that the wound doesn’t get a tetanus infection. You can consider calling your doctor just to make sure that your tetanus injection is up to date.
To this end, there’s probably nothing worse than having to end an exciting fishing adventure hastily just because you or your fishing partner ends up with a devastating hook stuck in the finger or any other part of the body. Although it can be a very painful experience, you can remove the hook yourself as long as it’s not too deep or in a sensitive part of the body such as the eye. If you can’t remove it yourself, it would be advisable to seek medical attention immediately and have it removed. More importantly, take care of yourself and try as much as possible to avoid such accidents.