Follow NZUA

First Aid

Treatment of fish-hook injuries

A quick overview of the treatment of fish-hook injuries.

Treatment of fish-hook injuries

In New Zealand, fishing is a widespread leisure activity that rarely results in an emergency.

However, injury from a fishhook piercing the skin is relatively common. Use the following guidelines to remove a fishhook:

  • If it seems safe, use pliers or forceps to push the hook gently through the skin, following the curve of the hook.
  • Cut off the exposed barb and reverse the remainder out of the injury site.
  • Do not close the wound.
  • Treat with a topical antibiotic cream and dress the wound.

Important: Do not attempt to remove a fish-hook unless the wound is superficial and there is no risk of further injury, nerve, tendon or organ damage in doing so. In such cases, stabilise the injury as much as safely possible and seek immediate medical assistance.

Note: While complications from fish-hook injuries are rare, it is vital to treat any signs of unwellness following a fishhook or puncture injury, such as that from a fish spine seriously. Some bacterial infections arising from such injuries progress rapidly and can be fatal.

Additional Resources