Some popular fishing areas require the use of barbless hooks -- usually in catch and release areas that want to reduce mortality of released fish. But for most areas, fishing with hooks that have barbs on them has been the name of the game for centuries.
Inevitably, this means that at somepoint you or someone you know is quite likely to end up hooking more than you bargained for. If you've ever tried to remove a hook that has penetrated into the flesh past the barb, you know how difficult it can be to remove it -- and how painful.
Barbs are designed to resist being pulled free -- Great for when you hook that monster bass or brute of a trout, but not so great if you're the one who is hooked.
There is a little trick that will make removing a hook quick and with relatively little pain. Loop a short strand of heavy fishing line (about 2 feet of 20 lb. test Mono works great) around the inside of the bend in the hook.
While a friend pushes down on the eye of the hook, give a quick, firm jerk on the line, directly away from the eye of the hook and as close to parallel to the skin as you can.
Congratulations, you've just turned a ruined fishing trip and afternoon at the emergency room back into the exciting fishing trip it was supposed to be. Just remember, if the hook is lodged near your eye or any large blood vessel, leave it to the professionals. This trick should only be used on minor wounds. Also, don't forget that as with any deep puncture wound, there is a risk of tetanus, so if you're not current on your tetanus booster (within the last 5-10 years), you'll probably want to see a doctor anyway.