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How to Clean Your Catch: Part 2

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Cut off the head if you elect to.
  5. Make sure to wash your cutting board and area right away. Gather the intestines, head and scales to dispose of them appropriately.
  6. 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.

  1. Place your fish on a flat surface and hold it by the head.
  2. Using a fish scaler or spoon, rake the scales from the tail toward the head.
  3. Do this to both sides of the fish’s body.
  4. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. Gently cut through the skin behind the pectoral fins and head.
  3. Use pliers to pull the skin off of the body from the head down to the tail.
  4. Snap the backbone at the base of the fish’s head
  5. Tug the head and guts away from the body
  6. Rinse your fish in water!

Steaking Your Fish

A bigger fish is often cut into thick steaks.

  1. Before steaking it, place the fish in a freezer or cooler so that the fish is hard for cutting.
  2. Clean your fish in the fashion you find appropriate.
  3. Remove the skin and scales.
  4. Slice the body from tail to head. Cut each steak from .5 inch to 1 inch thick.
  5. 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

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