The only thing more satisfying than a successful day at fishing is to prepare the catch and serve it. Of course, before any fish can be cooked, it needs to be filleted to remove the bones. The best way to learn to fillet a fish is by example from an expert but the following steps have proven to be an effective technique time and time again.
Start with the Right Knife
A filleting knife is one that has a smooth blade and is exceptionally sharp. It isn’t necessary to invest in a dedicated filleting knife if a good quality knife is available with the right qualities. A knife with a serrated edge should never be used to fillet a fish since this will shred the meat.
Create a Designated Work Space
Filleting a fish is messy and it requires a dedicated and clean work space that allows the person to focus on where they are cutting. A large cutting board is best. Before the fish is placed on the cutting board, it needs to be well-rinsed and then patted dry.
Making the First Cut
The first cut to make is to cut the head off by making a deep cut on each side behind the gills. Next, the tail needs to be removed by making a straight cut across the area where the tail connects to the body.
Insert the knife behind the gill cover and lifted away from the body and cut downward to the backbone. Turn the knife parallel to the rib cage and push down until the tip is about halfway down the body. Run the knife along the ribs to separate meat from bone.
Push the knife through the vent on the underside. Cut along the bones until reaching the tail. Pull the fillet away from the rib cage, loosening it from the bones where it is still attached. Repeat by inserting the knife behind the gill cover to separate meat from the ribs.
Another option is to learn firsthand to filet your own catches and prepare them for a meal.