How To: Fillet a Fish

By | June 1, 2012
From Xplor: June/July 2012

If you want to eat your catch, first you have to clean your catch. The good news is that filleting a bass, crappie or other sunfish is easy. It just takes a little practice.

Warning: You’ll be working with a sharp knife and a slippery fish, so ask an adult for help!

Gather these supplies

  • An adult
  • Long, sharp knife
  • Bowl of water
  • First-aid kit (just in case)

Fillet your fish

  1. Wash the fish to remove as much slime as possible, then lay the fish on its side. Make a vertical cut just behind the gills. Cut gently until you feel the backbone. You don’t want to cut through the bone, but you want to get as close to it as possible.
  2. Hold the fish’s head with your free hand. Slide the knife blade with a sawing motion along the backbone toward the tail. Stop slicing when you get half an inch from the tail fin.
  3. Flip the freshly cut fillet over, then slice it off the flap of skin to which it’s attached.
  4. If there are patches of shiny gray connective tissue, slice them off. Drop the fillet in a bowl of water, flip the fish over, and repeat. In no time, you’ll be having fish for dinner!

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This Issue's Staff

David Besenger
Bonnie Chasteen
Chris Cloyd
Peg Craft
Brett Dufur
Les Fortenberry
Chris Haefke
Karen Hudson
Regina Knauer
Kevin Lanahan
Kevin Muenks
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Mark Raithel
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
Tim Smith
David Stonner
Nichole LeClair Terrill
Stephanie Thurber
Cliff White
Kipp Woods