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How to Fillet a Fish and a Funny Story

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Do you know how to fillet a fish? This big, beautiful trout was raised in Idaho. I used to love like fishing, or I guess I should say I like to go if it is a short term commitment. My hubby and parents are the bigger fans of fishing. They like to drag it out and then I’d become the complainer who pleaded with them to go home already!

This time, my parents purchased 100 pounds of trout locally. They smoked most of it but a couple of fish made it into my kitchen. I’m glad I didn’t have to gut this fish, which brings me to a funny story…

I want to say that this happened with my sister but it was like 8 years ago and I honestly don’t remember who it was (the experience was traumatic at the time). It was my first time gutting a bass. We had newspaper spread out all over my kitchen counters to keep the mess contained.

My sister and I wanted the fish to have a swift death so we proceeded to cut the head off. To our horror, it just kept moving it’s mouth. Being geniuses, we continued to try and kill it – the head that is (I’ll spare you the details, but it involved a knife and two panicked gals). It went on for at least an hour. We wanted to put it out of its misery. We finally resorted to tossing it in the trash so we wouldn’t have to look at it anymore. It’s funny NOW!

Let’s get down to the business of filleting a fish.

How to Fillet a Fish:

Start with:

  • A Sharp Filet Knife,
  • large cutting board
  • and a garbage can that should be emptied immediately afterwards.
    For additional safety use a fillet board with tail clip
    for stability and fillet glove for extra grip (that would have been nice!)

1. Cut the fish down the belly to the, uhhhh, butt? Is it a butt on a fish? Let’s call it an excretion hole (snap, that doesn’t sound any better, I better stop now). Ask your husband to scrape out the gutso’s. Let me know if you were brave enough to do it yourself.

2. Chop off the head (or keep it on until later to get a better grip, whatever you prefer).

3. Insert the knife just above the center line of the back of the fish. Run the knife all the way down to the tail.

4. Continue running your knife through the fish and create your first fillet. At about the center of the spinal column, you can pull the fillet up to release some of the bones that stick up into the fillet, then continue to slice till you get to the base of the fish.

5. Flip your fillet over and this time start at the tail and work your way up. It takes some effort to get the knife through the skin, so be patient and very careful.

6. Pick out any bones that are left behind (this is the most annoying part). That’s why I didn’t take any pictures of this step. I was very busy being annoyed.

7. Cut off the fins and tail. Kitchen scissors also work well for this part. You end up with two beautiful fillets. Leave the skin on.

Proceed to Make Trout with herb butter. Yum didly um!

Any funny fishing stories you’d care to share?

How to Fillet a Fish and a Funny Story

4 from 2 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Author: Natasha of NatashasKitchen.com
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: Depends

Ingredients

  • Sharp Filet Knife
  • Large cutting board
  • Garbage can
  • Fillet board with tail clip
  • Fillet glove for extra grip

Instructions

  1. Cut the fish down the belly to the, uhhhh, butt. Scrape out the gutso's.
  2. Chop off the head (or keep it on until later to get a better grip, whatever you prefer).
  3. Insert the knife just above the center line of the back of the fish. Run the knife all the way down to the tail.
  4. Continue running your knife through the fish and create your first fillet. At about the center of the spinal column, you can pull the fillet up to release some of the bones that stick up into the fillet, then continue to slice till you get to the base of the fish.
  5. Flip your fillet over and this time start at the tail and work your way up.
  6. Pick out any bones that are left behind.
  7. Cut off the fins and tail. Leave the skin on.

 

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natashaskitchen

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

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  • Barbara
    February 18, 2018

    Well now, This was a long time ago. My dad fished everyday, when he could. I was a teenager, (16) Dad would have to leave for work at night. And if he didn’t, clean the fish he caught, I had to do them, or else! I had a date that night, and he said “you can’t go on the date unless you clean all the fish” Some were catfish, some were mullet. I purely hated it… still do! Had to nail the catfish to a board to skin it. I mean really, what girl want to smell, even slightly like she cleaned fish before a date! Never forgot it, and I’m, 72 now. But it’s a skill I still retain. Shussssssss. Grin, Barbi/ AKA AJ Jones
    .A J Jones/ Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      February 19, 2018

      Oh my goodness!! That story made me laugh but I completely agree! I would have purely hated it also, especially before a date – it’s hard to get that smell out. ha ha 🙂 Thanks for sharing that with me 🙂 Reply

  • YanaP
    September 2, 2013

    Thank You! This helped me a lot… just finished filleting 2 fishes! Success! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      September 2, 2013

      awesome!! 🙂 Reply

  • May 21, 2012

    You know I never was able to get my wife to clean a fish. Or Murder as you may call it!!…. Anyway I always did it outside. About 20 years ago or so…I was outside cleaning some fish. I had a few large, well 10 pounds or so striped bass. We had just adopted a couple of sweet kittens, they were quick to volunteer to help with the cleaning process. Anyway I was doing the deed up on a table and the little kittens were all over it. The lateral line on a striped bass has darker meat and tastes very fishy so if you have a large one it is best to cut it out. Anyway after pulling out a big chunk of fish about half the size of a kitten I threw it at them and they started eating. They were so happy and so stuffed after the feeding frenzy. They became big cats. One was probably 20 pounds of muscle at his/it’s hay day. Outdoor cats who probably chased away the coyotes. So that is that a funny fish story. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      May 21, 2012

      I guess cats like sushi 🙂 I have noticed that about bass; the darker meat is more fishy, but otherwise it’s one of my favorite fish! They are fun to catch too; they put up a fight. Thanks for sharing. Reply

  • Jansa
    April 20, 2012
    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      April 20, 2012

      ha ha. We know that now! 🙂 Those were great videos. Ramsay does make everything look so easy! I’m gonna go back and try to figure out what kind of knife he’s using! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      April 20, 2012

      Nope; he’s way to quick! And it looks like you don’t have to cut the head off or cut through the bone!! Sweet; that makes the job even easier!! Reply

  • emma
    April 16, 2012

    Thats a funny story lol made me laugh Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      April 16, 2012

      It’s funny how certain things bring back memories. I only thought of this while I was putting this fish post together last night. I was laughing at myself for awhile too! Reply

  • Ellie
    April 16, 2012

    How did your parents smoke the fish? I would LOVE to read a tutorial about that—- cold smoked salmon is just about my favorite food. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      April 16, 2012

      I didn’t have the opportunity to document their fish smoking technique this time, but it’s definitely something I’d love to learn and post in the future. I’ll try to document it next time they smoke fish. They built their own smoke house and they do a very good job! Reply

      • April 16, 2012

        SO is it cold smocked or warm smocked? I tried making cold smocked and I couldn’t eat ti because the ide aof fish been raw I was chocking lol, I prefer to buy it cold smocked and dont want to know how they made it 🙂
        But I think my hubby will sure make me try again 🙂 Reply

        • Natasha
          natashaskitchen
          April 16, 2012

          They cold smoke the fish. It’s super good! Reply

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