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  • Writer's pictureCapt. Jay Leach

How to Clean and Gut a Fish Safely

Updated: Feb 11, 2021

Cleaning and gutting are essential skills if you want to prepare a whole fish for a meal. Since you can’t eat the bones or guts, you’ll have to carefully remove them with a knife. To do this, you’ll need a clean work station, a sink or faucet, and a sharp filet knife. If you follow the steps to do this safely, you’ll be enjoying fresh fish fillets in no time!

First steps include knocking out your fish if it isn’t already dead, rinsing your catch in cool water to clean it, removing the fins from the fish by cutting them off, scaling the fish by scraping the side with the back of your knife, sliding the tip of the knife into the vent of the fish, and cutting your way up towards the neck.

The next steps for gutting and filleting the fish include spreading the stomach open and remove the guts and entrails, scooping out the fish’s kidney by the spine if it has one, rinsing your fish under cold water and clean the abdominal cavity, removing the head if you don’t plan on using it, cutting through the fish’s spine to create fish steaks, turning the fish’s spine towards you and cut above the backbone to start a filet, and peeling the side of the fish up to cut a fillet out.

Enjoy your fish and have fun with it!

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