The Essential Guidelines for Successful Fishing Operations

Successful Fishing Operations are required a lot of effort from every party. Therefore, we provide the guideline which will help you get higher chance of success to fish your tool out of the hole. Fishing operations demand adherence to specific guidelines and protocols applicable across various scenarios. Challenges like downhole issues, equipment malfunctions, geological formations, and human error may necessitate fishing interventions or hinder completion. By following the guidelines outlined in this chapter, one can maximize the likelihood of a successful fishing endeavor.

The Essential Guidelines for Successful Fishing Operations

While all aspects are significant, certain principles merit special attention. Skilled and seasoned personnel play a pivotal role, capable of executing most fishing tasks, including engaging a specialist if needed, or preempting the need for fishing altogether. Preparedness is key, as fishing often arises unexpectedly. Understanding the situation thoroughly, promptly taking appropriate actions, expediting operations, and knowing when to pivot or cease efforts are critical. Post-job analysis is essential for preventing future mishaps or improving efficiency. Familiarity with common drilling or workover operations prone to fishing is invaluable for success.

Assess Situation

Thoroughly evaluate the situation. What is lodged in the hole, and where exactly? Assess the feasibility of retrieval. Scrutinize well records and historical data. Seek insights from various stakeholders such as fishing-tool supervisors, tool pushers, drilling/production supervisors, engineers, and drillers. Explore alternative strategies.

Prioritize safety and rely on proven methodologies. While multiple approaches may be viable, opting for a proven technique minimizes uncertainties. Consider the ripple effects of each step on subsequent actions. Maintain meticulous records of all interventions and outcomes.


Effective communication is paramount throughout the fishing operation. Ensure comprehensive and timely sharing of information among all involved parties. Steps to foster effective communication include:

  • Gather complete and accurate information about the situation.
  • Notify fishing-tool company personnel promptly to facilitate preparation.
  • Ensure mutual understanding among all stakeholders regarding procedures.
  • Provide regular progress updates, including successes, challenges, problem analysis, alternative plans, and equipment requirements.

Gather Data

Certain critical factors and information must be considered and documented during a fishing operation. Thorough data recording is imperative, with no information deemed unnecessary. Key considerations include:

  • Document outside and inside diameters, as well as the length of the fishing string, and create detailed drawings.
  • Discuss the job comprehensively with all concerned personnel.
  • Understand the limitations of the drill pipe and tools.
  • Ensure accuracy of weight indicators.
  • Determine the location of the fish and assess the condition of the hole and tools.
  • Utilize appropriate methods, such as lubricators when running wireline.

A Systematic Approach To Solutions

Adopt a systematic approach to problem-solving using the acronym OD, ID, M, LP, and C:

  • OD: Prioritize catching the fish by its outer diameter.
  • ID: If the outer diameter is inaccessible, target the inner diameter.
  • M: Assess if modifications are necessary to access either diameter.
  • LP: Consider cutting the fish into smaller sections if required.
  • C: Recognize scenarios where the risks of fishing outweigh the benefits, opting for cementing solutions or abandonment.

Pipe Tally Management

When laying down pipe during fishing operations, meticulously track the pipe count. Avoid mixing the fishing string with other pipe on location. Measure and record the lengths of all items laid down and picked up, as the difference will indicate the distance to the top of the fish

Avoid Rotating The Fishing String

Unlike drilling operations, never rotate the fishing string to speed up trips. Spinning the fishing tools like overshots, spears, or junk baskets can cause the fish to be released back into the hole.

Caution With Conductor Lines

When retrieving tools or instruments attached to conductor lines with rope-socket shear devices, avoid pulling out the rope socket. Instead, cut the line at the surface and strip over, especially in open holes with radioactive sources. Pulling the rope socket can rupture the canister and contaminate the well fluid.

The Role of A Fishing Tool Supervisor

The modern fishing tool supervisor assumes multifaceted responsibilities, extending beyond traditional roles. Effective communication, interpretation of downhole data, and collaboration with diverse teams are essential skills. Experience is invaluable in accurately assessing and addressing fishing challenges in today’s complex oil well operations.


The Guide to Oilwell Fishing Operations: Tools, Techniques, and Rules of Thumb (Gulf Drilling Guides) by Joe P. DeGeare, David Haughton, Mark McGurk


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