Your method of fileting a fish can mean the difference between a puny meal and a feast or even a tasty fish dish versus one that leaves much to be desired.
First let’s talk about taste. When blood remains in a fish after it has been caught, that fish can taste…well, fishy. So your prep – and by that I mean bleeding your fish – before you even filet your fish is essential.
To maintain the quality taste and texture of your fish, you want to bleed out your harvest when it is freshly caught. To do this, make a shallow cut under its gills and pull its head back to allow the blood to drain for a few minutes. Then place your fish in a cooler until you are ready to clean it.
Once you are ready to filet your fish, you can remove the scales by scraping the back of your knife from the tail toward the head of the fish. Gut your fish by running a knife along the belly from the tail toward its head. Remove and rinse.
Then, chop off the head right under the gills, cut off the fins and, using the fish’s backbone as a guide, run your sharp filet knife from tail to head, being careful not to cut into any bones. Repeat on the other side. Now that you have two filets, you can hold the tail and slice between the skin and the filet from tail to head to remove the skin.
All that’s left is rinsing and bagging! Vacuum sealers are excellent for this step, especially if you are planning to freeze your fish filets. Enjoy!