Introduction: How to Fillet a Fish

Whether you've just caught yourself a fish or bought one from the market, you can't do much with it without first filleting it. The filleting process is relatively similar in all species of fish, and is fairly simple to do.

Materials needed: 

Fillet Knife
Cutting Board

Step 1: Knife Selection

A filleting knife is preferable (such as the one pictured above), however, you may be able to find one at home to use if you would prefer not to purchase a new knife. Any long, thin, non-serated knife will do. Be sure to sharpen it before starting.

Step 2: Setting Up Your Work Area

Filleting a fish is a messy task, so the best option is to set up a designated workplace beforehand. Set down some newspaper and place the cutting board over it, as well as having a plate nearby to put the fillets on. 

Step 3: Prepare the Fish

Once you have set up your work area, it's time to prepare the fish to be filleted. Rinse the fish in cold water and dry with a paper towel if desired. Place the fish across the cutting board horizontally with the bottom surface of the fish facing you. 

Step 4: Remove the Head and Tail

Place the knife behind the gills and slice downward with a slight angle towards the head through the bone. Turn the fish over and repeat this step on the other side. Dispose of the head in the trash. Now place the knife where the tail and body connect and cut straight through the bone. Dispose of the tail in the trash. 

Step 5: Remove the Fillets

Place the knife behind the gill cover, lifting it slightly from the body of the fish. Insert the knife and cut downward until it hits the backbone. Rotate the knife in alignment with the ribcage and press down so the tip of the knife is about halfway down the fish's body. Run the knife along the ribcage to separate the fillet from the ribs. Once you have done that, press the knife through the vent of the fish. Keep cutting along the bones until you reach the tail end of the fish. Now remove the fillet from the fish and set it on the plate. Turn the fish over and repeat this process. 

Step 6: Cleaning the Fillets

Hold the fillet on the plate and, using a needlenose pliers, gently pull the pin bones out of the meat. 

Step 7: Skinning the Fillets

Place the knife at one end of the fillet between the skin and meat. Hold the knife at a slight angle and slice along the length of the fillet, separating the skin and meat. Repeat on other fillet. 

Step 8: Bibliography

Cutting Board. N.d. Wikipedia. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.

Filleted Fish. N.d. New Fulton Fish Market. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.

Head Removal. N.d. Cooking Light. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.

Pin Bone Removal. N.d. Spin-A-Recipe. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.

Removal of Skin. N.d. BD Outdoors. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.

Rinsing Fish. N.d. Chowtastic. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.

Shiels, Eric, Pat H, and Naama Bar-llan. "How to Fillet a Fish." WikiHow. N.p., n.d. Web.
             25 Mar. 2014. <>.

Swiss Fillet Knife. N.d. Swiss Knife Shop. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.