Outdoor Writers Association of America
Northwest Outdoor Writers Association
This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm

April 19th, 1999

Get Hooked?

Imagine walking along the beach, watching the tidal surge, planning when you want to fish and WHAP! Or you are carefully threading your way to the stream and you notice another fly angler just ahead of you, already on the stream. You stop to watch for a moment, just checking out the area and to see how he is doing and WHAP!


Better known as you have just been hooked! No, it isn't a fly you cast - and most of the time it won't be. And does it hurt? Think about the speed the fly is traveling, just short of the speed of sound. A 22 cal. bullet wouldn't hurt any more than the fly.

A errant fly cast ended up in my dad's scalp several years ago. That one took a trip to the local hospital. That is even more serious.

We had an article here on FAOL about a year ago on hook removal, but since so many new folks have found this website since then, it deserves repeating. Here are step-by-step drawings with instructions on how it is done:


  • 1. If the hook is stuck just under the skin, cut the leader (without pulling on it.)
  • 2. Then run a line (heavy leader or fly line) through the hook bend with enough length to get a good grip on the ends.

  • 3. Push the hook eye down against the skin.
  • 4. Pull the hook out with a firm, fast motion.


    You can sometimes remove hooks that have penetrated to the point that they are beginning to poke back out.
    • Cut the leader.
    • Continuing in the direction the hook is already heading, push so that the barb is clear of the skin.

    • Use a side cutting pliers to cut off the point and barb.
    • Back the hook out the same way it went it.

      CAUTION! Don't remove hooks from eyes, the neck, throat or head! Get to a doctor as soon as possible.

      AFTERWARD: Once the hook is removed, rinse the injured area with alcohol, peroxide, Listerine or good whiskey. Cover with a sterile pad. Consult a doctor when you are able.

      Got it? If not, here it is again in photo form from Clive Schaupmeyer's column, On-stream Hook Removal. I sincerely hope you never need it. Even more, if you do need it, I hope you know how! One other safety matter, you should have a tetnus shot every five years, you never know where someone else's hook has been. ~ LadyFisher

      Hook removal text and artwork courtesy of Frank Amato Publications, from Everyone's Illustrated Guide to Trout on a Fly.

      If you would like to comment on this or any other article please feel free to post your views on the FAOL Bulletin Board!

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