How To Remove A Hook From A Finger
Editor's note: This blog installment comes from Fishhound pro staffer Capt. Lou Borrelli.
Have you ever hooked yourself while fishing? Before you try to pull the hook out yourself, be aware that you might run into a few issues.
Some time ago on a charter, I accidently put a magnum-size hook into my finger. The hook went in past the barb. I immediately cut the hook as close as I could to the base of the finger and continued my trip. My clients and I theorized on the many different ways we could remove the hook, but I decided to leave it in the hands of the experts. When the trip was over I drove to the hospital.
The doctors took an X-ray and found that the hook was very close to the bone (see the photo above). They were first going to attempt to push the hook through the finger, but realized that might cause damage. After consulting with a hand surgeon, the doctors decided to cut the finger above the hook and pull it out.
Seems like a lot of messing around for just a hook, but they did the right thing to prevent tissue damage in my finger. If I'd cut a tendon, I would have lost some of the use in that finger. Worse off, if I'd tried to remove it myself and hit the bone in the process, I'd have caused more damage.
You may have seen those videos that show how to remove a hook by wrapping line around the hook and pulling. It looks simple enough and probably works in most cases. But you can't see what's happening beneath your skin. If you pull the hook out and catch a tendon, that tendon will retract and cause you to lose mobility. Tendons are like rubber bands that keep your extremities flexible.
If the hook's in an area with major arteries and you cut an artery, there's no telling how much damage you can cause.
Then there's the infection factor. Hooks are dirty – especially if they have been in the water or held live bait or been inside a fish's mouth. You may pull the hook out without issue, but don't be surprised if puss starts oozing from the hole after a few days. A hospital, of course, takes every precaution to avoid infection.
So if you ever hook yourself, it's worth spending the few extra hours to visit the hospital to have the hook removed. That's the only way to ensure you'll be back on the water as quickly as possible.
Capt. Lou Borrelli learned to fish with his grandfather and now owns and operates Get The Net Charters out of Rochester, N.Y. Capt. Lou runs trips along the south shore of Lake Ontario from Wilson to Fair Haven, N.Y. Visit GTNFishing.com or send him an email at email@example.com.
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