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The Shotem' and Caughtem' Blog is the place to find the latest reviews and commentary on gear, destinations, conditions, events, and general knowledge to inform our readers and give our opinions to anyone listening.

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Wednesday, 05 June 2013 13:02

How to Filet a Fish Tips and Tricks

Shotem and Caughtem  Shotem and Caughtem

With fishing season starting to be in full swing we at Shotem and Caughtem thought we would do a quick line on the steps it takes to appropriately fillet a fish.  As any outdoorsman/woman knows the best food we eat is that which comes straight from the water or field to our plate.  This definitely holds true with fresh line caught fish.  When procured from a good habitat the taste of fresh fish does not have the tastes that store bought net fish have with a slight exception for bottom feeders.  

Bottom feeders such as catfish, halibut, etc. take a little more time and care should you want the best tasting fish.  For these fish we recommend having a tank or horse trough filled with clean water and a an aerator.  This is not always the case and you can usually tell by the color of the fish as to whether it will need this extra step.  If pulled from a clean/clear lake or stream they will have their bright clean colors.  However, when pulled from a muddy or dirty river or stream you will notice that the color of the fish is also muddy or off.  For these fish a trip to the tank can provide you with the clean tasting fish you are craving.  You will notice after the fish couple of hours the color of your tank water will start to change as the fish cycles out the toxins and muddy water from its body.  We usually have to change the water out a couple time to achieve the right color on our fish.

Before starting the steps below we recommend finding the sharpest set of knives you have and not just one.  As with any animal, when it comes to skinning or filleting their tough skin and scales can make quick work on even the sharpest knife.  Make sure you have a knife sharpener.  Also a fish cleaning board or something that will allow you to nail the tail end or the fish to the board will help you make a nicer fillet but is not required.  

 

Here are some steps to follow when filleting your fish:

Step 1 - Put the scaled fish on a chopping board and, using scissors, trim off the fins by the head on each side, and any fins that run along the top and on the underside of the fish.

Step 2 - With the tip of the knife, pierce the stomach of the fish using the small hole by the tail as a guide. Run the knife from the tail to the head, cutting open the stomach. Clean out the contents of the stomach and rinse the fish in cold running water or by dipping it into a bucket of clean water.

Step 3 - Return the fish to the chopping board and make a long cut around the head and just below the gills on both sides: remove the head.

Step 4 - Tail towards you, run the knife down the spine to the tail in a gentle slicing - not sawing - action, working the blade between the spine and the flesh. Repeat until the fillet begins to come away - lift the fillet to see where you're working.

Step 5 - When you get to the rib bones, let the knife follow the shape of the fish and slice over the bones. Once you've removed the fillet, set it aside.

Step 6 - Turn over the fish and repeat with the second fillet, this time starting at the tail and working towards the head. Be careful - the second fillet may be a little trickier to remove.

If you have any tips or tricks you think we missed add them to the comment section below.  Most of all post your photos and tell us about your adventures in the galleries.