Fileted fish are a wonder, boneless way to enjoy your catch. Sadly, many fishermen are poor at performing this important skill. They either have little practice, since they catch few fish, or they just never learned.halibut aboardIMG_2287
Learning to filet requires practice. Hands on fileting is the only way to make the cut. Find a Mentor that will help you learn this critical skill. Many people do not enjoy eating fish because of bones. Fileting prepares the fish for a tastier, and boneless presentation. The more you filet, the better you will become.
On my recent trip to Alaska, the Green Rocks Lodge provided fish cleaning. Their boat boys would take turns at fileting your catch. Some of our halibut required two staff members to haul the “Big Butts” to the cleaning station. Once there, the Halibut Reaper grabbed a sharp, long, filet knife and dug in. This was a Big job that prepared these amazing fish for consumption. Done right, the finished product is amazing.
Filet skills require some preparation to make perfect filets.
Sharpen your knife. Fileting with a dull knife will ruin your catch. Acquire a decent sharpener and freshen your edge often. Using a flexible blade knife, especially near the tip, will help you to feel and follow the bone lines that you need to remove.
Cut away from fingers and your body A sharp knife can slip and cut quickly. You do not want to filet your body parts. Consider cutting in a safe direction. When making a cut, try to make a smooth complete slice, rather than sawing the meat.
Consider the fish anatomy Go with the natural contours of the fish. Where to cut becomes obvious once you gain some experience.
Safety First When learning to filet, try wearing a Kevlar glove to help avoid cuts. If you get any nicks from sharp fins or bones, make sure to clean and sanitize your wounds. There can be bacteria that can easily become infected.
Once you have finished your fileting, carefully rinse and inspect your meat. Depending upon your recipes, you may need to cut the large filets into manageable portions. Vacuum seal the filets into meal sized amounts to avoid waste.
Enjoy your bone free filet!
For more Montana Grant, cut in on him at www.montanagrantfishing.com.