We review the top 5 best fish hook removal tools and explain how to safely extract hooks with them. Find our favorite removers below.
Getting a hook out of a fish's mouth is a step that every angler will need to take. Whether the plan is to put the fish back in the water or into a cooler, removing the hook is Step 1.
In this article, we'll look at the benefits of having a high-quality hook extractor on hand, examine five great options, discuss factors that will help you choose the best fish hook remover, and wrap up with instructions on using a hook remover.
Let's get started!
Successful fishing means you've hooked a fish. Once the initial excitement is over and you've got the fish in hand, the time for hook removal has arrived. Sometimes it will be easy, and sometimes it won't.
Depending on the size and type of the fish you caught, removing the hook could be as simple as reaching into the fish's mouth with a pair of needle nose pliers, or even your fingers, and popping the hook out.
It's that simple when the fish has a big, toothless mouth, but if there are sharp teeth (bass have teeth, for instance), or if the mouth opening is small, fingers or pliers aren't the right tool for the job.
You'll need a tool that's designed to remove hooks even if they're buried deep, in a very small mouth, or surrounded by teeth. Luckily, there are many hook remover choices that cover all those factors, enabling you to get into tight, hard to access spaces, protect your hands from sharp teeth, pop out the hook fast, and get back to fishing.
There's also the safety of your hands to think about. When you're dealing with multiple treble hooks like you find on topwater baits and crankbait rod rigs, it's important to keep your fingers away from the hooks until the lure is safely out of the fish's mouth. A hook remover can save you the pain of having to extract a hook from your own hand!
Here are our top picks for hook removers, including some size variations and some options for anglers on a budget.
The R2 Squeeze-Out Hook Remover from Boom Fishing is the best overall tool we found for getting a hook out fast. Since quick removal is the goal, whether you plan to release the fish or not, speeding up the hook extraction process is a major priority, and this tool handles the job perfectly.
An ergonomic plastic handle is designed to fit your hand, and you'll have a firm grip on the hook to apply pressure or a sharp twist.
At over 9" in length, this hook remover can reach all the way back into a fish's mouth and you won't have to put your hand anywhere near needle-sharp hook points or razor-like teeth like those found on trout, walleye, snapper, and other predatory fish species.
You can expect years of service from the R2 Squeeze-Out Hook Remover due to its anodized aluminum construction. It's extremely corrosion resistant, so even constant exposure to saltwater fishing conditions won't damage this durable tool.
If you balance quality and cost, this right-sized hook remover is the one to choose—the R2 Squeeze-Out Hook Remover will provide fast hook extraction for almost any type of fish you catch, and it will perform no matter where the fish is hooked.
Another great option that might appeal to budget-conscious anglers is the Easy Fish Hook Remover.
This 6 1/2" tool might not have the reach of some others, but its smooth operation and ability to extract hooks quickly will not disappoint.
Like more expensive models, this tool is made using corrosion resistant anodized aluminum, so it will provide trouble free use for as long as you own it.
With the fish in one hand and the ergonomic handle nestled perfectly in your other hand, you'll be in the ideal position to see, grab onto, and extract a hook.
The cream of the crop is the CrazyShark Hook Remover.
This rugged tool is built for the toughest conditions using aviation class aluminum construction and a strong, stainless steel hook-securing assembly.
The ergonomic grip lets you put maximum pressure on the hook.
You can squeeze hard to clamp firmly on to the hook, then apply straight or twisting pressure in the direction that will extract it.
Underwater predators of all species come out at night, and savvy anglers are out there in the darkness to greet them. Whether you're after nocturnal catfish, stripers, or largemouth bass, or you're targeting any one of the many night-feeding saltwater species, the MadBite Lighted Hook Remover is a must-have for your next trip.
It features an incredibly bright LED bulb that lights up the hook removal process in the darkest of conditions. A strong, stainless steel hook clamp is housed in a rugged aluminum frame and the ergonomic handle lets you clamp onto the hook and pull it out.
The MadBite Lighted Hook Remover's anodized aluminum construction means its corrosion resistant and extremely reliable.
There's one more hook remover we want to share with you. It has an older design that's been around so long that it's very safe to assume it's a winner.
The R1 Stainless Steel Fish Hook Remover features powerful jaws that clamp down on the hook, and you can apply a lot of pressure by squeezing the spring-loaded handle and twisting the rigid, 11 1/2” tool for easy hook extractions.
Don't let the old-school design of this extractor fool you—it's capable of removing any hook, even one that's lodged way back in the fish's mouth. Plus, it's made from stainless steel, so it's suited to saltwater and freshwater use.
Knowing which hook removal tool is right for you is mostly about knowing what type of fish you're going to catch, but it's also important to think about the angling techniques you plan to use.
The fish species part of the equation is pretty straight forward—the bigger the fish, the longer your hook remove will need to be. A large fish can have the hook located way in the back of a very deep, tooth-filled mouth, so you need a hook remover with a long enough reach to get the job done.
The fishing techniques you're using have a more subtle impact on your choice of hook removal hardware. If you use baited circle hooks to catch catfish, for example, your hookups will be right in the side of the fish's mouth almost every time. You can easily get away with a shorter hook extraction tool. Likewise, if you are a topwater fan, a shorter tool will do—the treble hooks of a popper, for example, tend to be pretty accessible when the fight is over.
On the other hand, if you're presenting a lure or bait that often ends up in the back of a fish's mouth, you'll want to have all the reach you can get, so going with a longer tool is smart.
There are many places in a fish's mouth that you'll find your hook. In the side of the mouth or right on the edge of a bony lip is ideal—the visibility and easy access mean the fish will be safely back in the water (or in your cooler) fast.
Wherever the hook is lodged, the trick to removal is to get a really good grip on the curved part of the hook, then pull in a direction that will back the point out. The barb will create some resistance, and the position you're pulling from can make it tricky, but in every case, a twist or tug in the right direction will cause the hook to pop out.
All the hook removers we covered here are easy to use and have a strong mechanism that lets you get a firm connection to the hook, with those featuring a tubular design allowing for a lot of leverage in just the right spot.
We hope this article will help you find the best fish hook removal tool for your angling adventures.