Brainerd Lakes Area, Essentia Health, Family Activities, Self Care + Wellness

The String Yank Technique | How to Remove a Fish Hook if You’re Caught in the Fishing Fun

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Guest Post written by Essentia Health; one of Up North Parent’s Sponsors.

Fishing and the Lakes Area go hand-in-in had, but the medical team at Essentia Health also knows that the two sometimes get “tangled” together is a not-so-fun-way.

The lakes draw many to live and vacation in our beautiful area.

However, a common injury for those who fish or just hang out near docks and boats is becoming “hooked” when the intended catch was a fish.

Fish hook removal

If your fishing fun has been brought to a halt by an embedded fish hook, the Essentia Health medical team recommends removing the fish hook from your finger using the String Yank Technique:

The String Yank Technique Steps to Remove a Fish Hook

Fish hook removal and the String Yank Technique

1. Remove hook from lure by cutting at attachment ring.

2. Tape any additional free hooks to prevent the hooks from also getting embedded.

3. Next, wash your hands with soap and water, or disinfecting solution, and then wash the area surrounding the hook.

4. Tie off a loop with some fishing line. Place the loop over the hook’s shank and lightly pull it against the bend of the hook.

5. With your other hand, press down and back on the hook’s eye.

6. Continue pressing down on the hook’s eye. Quickly and firmly jerk the fishing line backward, ensuring that the line is parallel to the shank. Don’t worry; only a tiny bit of skin is behind the barb.

7. Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water and apply a bandage.

8. Watch the area for signs of infection such as redness, swelling, pain, or drainage.

If fishing is a favorite past time, we recommend your tackle box contain an electrician’s pliers with a wire-cutting blade and disinfecting solution.

Additionally, don’t forget to receive a Tetanus immunization every 10 years. If needed, it may be done any time in the 72 hours following the injury.

When to Seek Immediate Medical Attention

We do not recommend pushing the hook through your skin and cutting the barb as this introduces another potential wound for infection. Also, do not try to remove a fish hook that is deeply embedded in the skin, lodged within a joint or tendon, or located in or near an eye or artery.

If you are at all unsure, it is best to seek medical attention immediately.

Urgent Care, located at the Essentia Health Baxter Clinic 13060 Isle Drive in Baxter, is open Monday-Friday 8am-8pm and on weekends from 9am-4pm.

Emergency care is available 24 hours a day at Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center, located at 523 North Third Street in Brainerd.

Essentia offers four convenient locations for walk-in care 7 days-a-week when the unexpected happens:

Convenient Care located at both the Baxter and Brainerd Cub Foods, respectively located at 417 8th Avenue NE in Brainerd and 14133 Edgewood Drive in Baxter. These locations are open 8am-8pm.

Wait times for Convenient Care clinics, Urgent Care, and Emergency Department can be viewed at

Essentia Health is guided by the values of quality, hospitality, respect, justice, stewardship, and teamwork. From emergency care to convenient care, family care to speciality practice, Essentia Health delivers on its promise to be “Here With You” in the Brainerd Lakes Area.  Learn more at

The String Yank Technique _ How to Remove a Fish Hook if You're Caught in the Fishing Fun

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