Filetting Your Catch

Article and photos by Capt. Galen Pruett 

Cleaning or filleting your fish can be one of the most tedious parts of the fishing trip.  You want to start out by taking proper care of your fish after you catch it.  

The best ways to do this is by using a stringer, a fish basket, a livewell or just putting them directly on ice. Filetting is a popular way to prepare fish for meals. You are pretty much just cutting the flesh away from the bones and skin. Below is a step by step guide to help you make the most of your next catch.
? Hold the fish down on a cutting board or table with the back of the fish facing towards you. Cut behind the head all the way to the backbone (you only want to cut about 1?2 the thickness of the fish) and turn the knife towards the tail. 
? Run the knife along the backbone and dorsal fin. You will want to “feel” your way with the knife along the ribcage.
When the knife no longer contacts the ribcage, push the knife through the width of the fish. Continue cutting along the bones until the fillet is cut off at the tail.  Another way to do this, is to cut through the rib cage, but if you do this, you will also have to cut the ribs away from the meat. 
? Next, you will want to remove the skin from the fillet by inserting the knife at the tail and cutting the meat from the skin. Or, you could leave the skin on if you wanted to cook the fish on the half shell. 
? Repeat these three steps on the other side.
FilettingAfter you have filleted your catches, you can store the fish in the fridge for up to a few days. If you plan on keeping it any longer than a few days, I would recommend freezing the fillets.  The best method is to vacuum seal them. If you don’t have a machine for this, I suggest putting them in zip lock bags and submerging them in cold water. Either of these approaches will help prevent freezer burn.
Captain Galen Pruett has been fishing off the Texas Gulf Coast for over 25 years.  To book a fishing trip with him, call 409-457-2339 or visit his website at for more information.

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