Do Fishing Hooks Dissolve? Come Find out!

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As an angler, it’s part of your hobby to be close to nature, and part of that is caring for the natural world and doing your best to keep it in the right shape. While certain organizations may decry the act of fishing, it’s a simple fact that most fishers are more ecologically-conscious than people who don’t spend a moment in nature.

Part of caring about the natural world is considering where the tackle that you use goes, and fishing hooks are one of the main things that can affect the environment when fishing. More specifically, lost fishing hooks may affect fish and the water that they live in, so today, we’re going to take a closer look at the whole situation.

We’re going to discuss whether or not fish hooks dissolve, and the factors that go into their dissolution. We’ll also go over the cases in which a fish hook would dissolve, and we’ll also mention whether a fish is more likely to shed their hook or have it dissolve in their mouth.


  • 1 In What Cases Would a Fish Hook Dissolve?
  • 2 How Would a Fish Hook End Up Stuck in a Fish?
  • 3 Chances of the Hook Dissolving vs. Being Shaken
  • 4 Can a Hook Weaken Without Dissolving?
  • 5 Factors Involved in Fishing Hook Dissolution
  • 6 Should You Try and Remove the Hook Yourself?
  • 7 Conclusion

In What Cases Would a Fish Hook Dissolve?

So you may be wondering how a fish hook can end up in a situation where it would dissolve in the first place. For something like a fish hook to dissolve, it would need to be immersed in water for a long time, and there are a few different cases in which a fish hook could end up like that.

The most common situation is when a fish hook gets stuck in the face of a fish, and that’s what most of this article is going to focus on, but there are a few other ways a fish hook could dissolve. A hook breaking off of your line and falling to the bottom of the stream or the river is another possibility.

If you’ve been fishing for long enough, then you’ve likely had your hook get tangled in discarded fishing hooks along the bottom of the water that you’re fishing in. However, fishing hooks on the bottom won’t have as many negative effects as those that are stuck in fish.

How Would a Fish Hook End Up Stuck in a Fish?

There are a few different ways that a fish could end up with a fishing hook stuck inside of it. The most common occurrence is when the fish is fighting against you, and it pulls hard enough to break the line. As you would expect, the hook would be left in the fish’s mouth in many of these cases.

However, there are other times when you’re trying to release a fish, and you don’t have the time to get the hook out of its mouth without causing damage. Remember that you only have a limited time to release a fish, as it can’t breathe when it’s out of the water, so you may sometimes have to cut the line.

This is particularly common when using barbed hooks, as the barbs will make it a lot harder for you to get the hook out without hurting the fish. In most cases, you’re better off leaving the hook in a fish’s mouth than causing them permanent damage by removing it too aggressively.

Chances of the Hook Dissolving vs. Being Shaken

One thing to consider is that fishing hooks don’t dissolve as often as you think, and they take a much longer time to do so than you would expect. This means that a fishing hook will be a lot more likely to end up shaken off by a fish instead of dissolving in their skin.

This also means that fishing hooks are shaken off a lot sooner than many of us would expect, with some studies mentioning that they can be shaken away in as little as a day. Of course, the actual results will depend on the kind of hook and how deeply it is embedded in the fish’s skin.

Keep in mind that there are still cases where fishing hooks will dissolve in the skin of a fish, but that’s usually because they break before they fully dissolve. Some fishing hooks would even take longer than the lifespan of a fish to fully dissolve in the first place.

Can a Hook Weaken Without Dissolving?

When a fishing hook is immersed in water for a long time, it won’t suddenly dissolve one day without any prior effects. As the water slowly starts to wear away a fish hook, it will begin to get weaker, and it may not fully dissolve before it ends up weakening to the extent that it will break.

A fish typically won’t enjoy the discomfort which is caused by a fish hook stuck in its face, and it will keep trying to get it out. As the hook becomes weaker, then the fish’s efforts to remove it will become more effective, since it will have less structural integrity.

Even though most fishing hooks won’t fully dissolve for a long time, most of them will be so worn away by constant exposure to the water that they will fail and break free. This ensures that fish don’t have to put up with undue suffering caused by fish hooks which have broken away.

Factors Involved in Fishing Hook Dissolution


One of the main things that will influence whether or not it’s easy for a fishing hook to dissolve is the material that it is made out of. Remember that fishing hooks are designed to be used in the water, so resistance to corrosion and dissolution is a characteristic that most fish hook manufacturers prize.

A fishing hook which fails after one or two uses won’t be worth the money, so better ones will typically be made of material that’s resistant to corrosion. Contrary to what you may expect, metal fishing hooks are some of the most likely to dissolve after being exposed to water for a long time.

This is because plastics and other synthetic materials are more resistant to corrosion than metal. Since corrosion is the driving force behind fishing hooks dissolving, synthetic ones will be less likely to dissolve if they end up lost.


The age of the hook that you’re using will also affect whether or not it will dissolve quickly. Since it will have been exposed to a lot more water over the period that it was being used, an older fishing hook will dissolve a lot quicker when it’s left in the water for a long time.

This is also why you’ll want to replace your fishing hooks regularly if you frequently fish, as hooks can get weaker with repeated use. If you’re fighting particularly hard for a catch, then an older hook can end up breaking, losing you the chance of catching the fish.


Also, take a look at the size of the fishing hook when determining whether or not it will dissolve with relative ease. A larger fishing hook will have more mass to it, meaning that there will simply be more material that needs to be eaten away before the hook ends up fully dissolved.

Keep in mind that the actual size of the fishing hook isn’t as much of a factor as the thickness of the material that it’s made out of. A smaller fishing hook with a thicker diameter will take longer to wear away than a large one that is flimsier, though this is to be expected.

Type of Water

The kind of water that you were fishing in will also affect whether or not your fishing hook is likely to dissolve if it’s left in a fish’s mouth or on the bottom. Freshwater will eventually corrode a fishing hook, though it will do so at a much slower pace than saltwater.

The salt in saltwater wears away at the materials that fishing hooks are made out of, and it will ensure that it dissolves a lot sooner.

Should You Try and Remove the Hook Yourself?

Whether or not you try and remove the fishing hook from a fish on your own will depend on a few different factors. The first thing to consider is whether or not you’ll have enough time to get the fish unhooked before it dies from a lack of oxygen, as it can only stay above water for a certain time.

If you have a well in your fishing boat, then it will be a lot easier to let the fish breathe while you remove the hook from it safely. Another factor is whether or not the hook has a barb on it, as one of them will end up doing a lot more damage on its way out, and it may not be worth removing.

Always consider whether or not removing the hook will do more damage than keeping it in. Since most fish will shake away the hooks within a few days to a couple of weeks, you’re better off leaving them in instead of causing the animal permanent damage.


While fishing hooks can dissolve, there are a lot of other things that can happen to them before that even becomes a concern. We hope that we’ve been able to answer your questions succinctly, and we hope your next fishing trip proves to be fruitful.

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