Clean your catch if you plan to steak your fish or cook it whole! Here is Part II of our How to Clean Your Catch blog posts.
How to Clean a Whole Fish
- Set the fish on a cutting board. Slice the fish’s belly from the head to the tail. Make sure the blade stays shallow so that you don’t slice any intestines.
- Open the body up and confiscate all innards. Find the fish’s anus and cut it out in a notch form. If your fish has a kidney by its backbone, you can remove it by using a spoon to scrape it out.
- Rinse out the inside of the fish. Sometimes fish will have dark tissue lining the abdominal opening that should get scraped off to prevent fishy flavor and scent.
- Cut off the head if you elect to.
- Make sure to wash your cutting board and area right away. Gather the intestines, head and scales to dispose of them appropriately.
- Your fish is now clean and ready to be cooked!
How to Scale a Fish
While learning how to clean fish, you may need to learn to scale the fish if you do not already know how.
- Place your fish on a flat surface and hold it by the head.
- Using a fish scaler or spoon, rake the scales from the tail toward the head.
- Do this to both sides of the fish’s body.
- Remember to take your time! Some fish have very fine scales that require much patience.
How to Skin a Fish
Bullheads, Catfish and other bottom-feeding fish are often skinned. Taking the skin off the fish improves the taste of many fish as well as removes the thin layer of fat right under the skin.
- Place the fish on a flat surface and hold it firmly with a clamp. It is often a good idea to clip off the spine prior to skinning your fish.
- Gently cut through the skin behind the pectoral fins and head.
- Use pliers to pull the skin off of the body from the head down to the tail.
- Snap the backbone at the base of the fish’s head
- Tug the head and guts away from the body
- Rinse your fish in water!
Steaking Your Fish
A bigger fish is often cut into thick steaks.
- Before steaking it, place the fish in a freezer or cooler so that the fish is hard for cutting.
- Clean your fish in the fashion you find appropriate.
- Remove the skin and scales.
- Slice the body from tail to head. Cut each steak from .5 inch to 1 inch thick.
- Trim away any belly fat or bones you come upon (but not the backbone).
Tips and Tricks
- Be aware when holding the fish’s head that certain fish have sharp teeth
- Fish fins are often super sharp as well – do not get punctured!
- Sometimes fish are too strong flavored or boney to be considered appetizing