Introduction: How to Fillet a Fish

Fishing is a national past time cherished by many, but to some it may only be a very rare practice. A lot of people who fish partake in the catch and release policy, while some keep their trophy fish. But no matter the person fishing all share a common taste, and that taste is fish.

Step 1: Preperation

The fist step of getting a fillet from a fish is preparation. What will be needed to start will be a fillet knife, cutting board, and of course a fish. It is important to note that a fillet knife is just a long, thin, flexible knife that needs to be very sharp.

Step 2: First Incision

Start the fillet by making a incision behind the fishes head. This incision needs to be behind their pectoral fin (fin behind the gills on the side of the body). Cut down with a saw like motion until feeling the bones; it is important to not cut through the bones just to them. This incision will need to be all the way from the spine of the fish to the pectoral fins (front set of fins on the underside of the fish).

Step 3: Second Incision

A secondary incision will be through the body cavity. Starting from the previous cut go directly above the pelvic fins and make a cut going back until reaching the ribcage. Depending on the size of the fish this could be a few inches.

Step 4: Third Incision

Continuing the fish will now need to be rotated 180 degrees for the next cut on the top side of the fish. Start from the first cut behind the fishes head and above the dorsal fin (fin on the top or spine on the fish). Cut in a saw like motion until reaching the tail fin (fishes tail) of the fish. It is important when doing this to ensure that the knife is flat, to do this press down on the knife causing it to bend. The reason behind this is so that when you are cutting you will be getting all the meat and just scraping along the fin rays (bones along the spine) as to not get bones in the fillet. This cut is only needed to get to around the middle of the fish.

Step 5: Fourth Incision

There are two ways for this step, the first being to take the knife and do long light cut passes in the previous incision until having separated the meat from the bones to the bottom. The second method involves going into the first cut protruding through the bottom side of the fish, bending the knife so it scrapes to bones, and cutting with a saw like action all the way to the dorsal fin.

Step 6: Fifth Incision

Next you will need to cut away the rib cage, to do this it is recommended cutting well above the rib cage in order to not get bones in the fillet. By doing this you will lose a little meat but not a lot.

Step 7: Removing the Skin

Once the meat is separated from the fish, the skin will need to be separated. Start by making a cut about a 1/2 inch from the end that came from the tail fin (will be the thinnest piece in width of the fillet). While doing this ensure the skin is on the cutting board and the meat is facing up. Cut down lightly until the knife is rubbing against the skin. Once that is accomplished put the knife at an angle and apply pressure to make the knife bend. Continue cutting in a saw like motion the length of the fish until the skin is removed.

Step 8: Enjoy

Lastly wash the fillet off in a sink, or with a hose. Run a hand over the fillet to ensure there are no bones; if there are small bones just pick them out. Now their is one fillet completed, repeat the same steps to the other side of the fish and start the grill.