Bluegill - Big Bluegill

Do you love big bluegill?

Hey guys,

My girl always gets on my case for not killing the BG before I clean them. When I asked her how I'm supposed to kill them, she offered "I don't know, with a spoon?"

So, how do you guys humanely save your BGs from an agonizing death and make it a quick/clean/painless one instead?



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Yeah, my dear old dad (RIP) taught me to hit the trout on top of their heads to kill them before you gut them.  I can't stand to see people start filleting live fish, like the hardy catfish, and to see them shake and still gasp for air.  You gotta kill them first.  I know they are just fish, but hey they are alive and feel pain.  You wouldn't want to gut a live deer or pig now would you?  I respect all living things... and I'm getting to be an old softy in my old age.

Hooray for Barney - he taught you the same as my dad. I whack, or cut the backbone first on any fish that is still alive. 

I like the ice chest and recommend it whole heartedly - where practical. I like to go lightly and toting ice around doesn't fit in that scheme.

I believe any creature deserves a humane death where I have the ability to control that. This goes for fish. Im in the "old softy" boat with Jeff.

I've been watching this conversation, afraid to say anything, but I'll throw it out there anyway. By virtue of having our own ponds 3 minutes from the front door, most of our fish are still alive when filleted. To my way of thinking, it doesn't get any fresher than that. Three minutes from water to fillet table, plus the use of a fish basket, usually means live fish when the knife comes down. Two kinds of fish I don't like to fillet: Dead long enough that their eyes glaze over, or frozen solid.

I understand and respect other's feelings on the matter, I think it's a case of each individual drawing the line where they're comfortable. Would I dress a live squirrel? Of course not. A fish? Wouldn't give it a second thought.

Tony, well said. In a humanitarian perspective, we kill animal completely before consuming. As Jeff Soto placed it well, respect the animals as you consume them, as they nourish our strength for the days to come. Keeping alive as much as possible, and consume them as fresh as possible is the key to truly savor the sacrifice. Whether they are killed on the cutting platform, or slowly die in the water as they belly up, or suffocate and freeze over in the icy bath, their death is imminent. I rather have them killed fresh, either before consumption for preservation.


I know I have no problem seeing the fish still move while eating it. I know my family members don't either. However, out of respect for those who do not wish to see the fish suffer while I gut, cut, and fillet the fish, I do make sure the fish is completely dead by severing all nervous and anatomic function. But everyone has his/her own perspective. That is what makes all of us angler's unique in our own masters of the rods and kitchens. Keep sharing perspectives, and let all of us learn what is the unique ideologies exist in the angling world.


You know, I'm going to think about this discussion next time I eat raw oysters,you know they are still alive when you open their shell, and I think I have actually heard several of them scream in my mouth as I was chewing them, and they were delicious!     LOFR

that's funny, I too have heard this scream after about a half pitcher of Bud light

Live fish jump, wiggle and can cause you to waste meat or cut yourself. Whether I ice the fish or keep them in a basket then dispatch them with a whack on the head, its as much a safety factor as it is anything else.

I don't want any critter to suffer, including me. An immobilized fish on the cleaning table is less likely to cause injury.


I like to take a metal milking pail with enough water to cove the fish!!!!! Attache the frayed end of an extention cord to either side of said bucket!!!!! Plug into a wall socket until the fish stop moving or I BLOW A BREAKER which ever comes first!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is how we do it on the prairie!!!!!! :-)

ROFL., you love the Soviet's style of torture don't you?

Leo, If I am camping in the rough I have to use a CURRENT BUSH!!!!!!

Filleting live fish is difficult because the flesh is not firm, hence more difficult to remove from the skeleton even with a sharp fillet knife. I just do like many others here and immediately put the 'keepers' in an ice chest, with cubed ice, and let them get cold and die. They will not flop all over the place and the flesh from a dead fish separates much easier from the ribcage and backbone when put to the fillet knife.

I have never 'bleeded' any panfish specie, nor do I soak them overnight in salt don't have to. To do such a thing would alter the natural taste of the fish...which is what I'm after. If I am going to eat fish that evening, or the next day, I simply put the fillets in a large bowl imersed in ice cold water, and leave them in the fridge (not freezer) covered with aluminum foil. They will be good for 2 days like this...then if you haven't consumed them, I prefer to vacuum pack them for any storage time. Put the packs right in the freezer. Thaw them out in the morning...ready for supper that day!

Putting fish in an ice chest is probably the most humane way to put the fish 'down' But to me personally, I don't have an issue with killing fish, or game, that I intend to enjoy for food.

Well, there are a lot of different ways to skin a cat here, aren't there? (pun intended). Speaking of which, am I the only one that's driven an ice pick through the head of a catfish and into a board to hold it still while skinning it? Catfish, by the way, are the only fish I "soak". And that consists of placing the fillets in a ziplock bag, covering with 7-UP, squeezing out the air and tossing in the fridge for 6-8 hours. Bluegill fillets are never soaked, just rinsed off well and placed in a bag in the fridge. The only time I freeze fish is when I'm ice fishing in January. Although last year, I did get the job of catching ,cleaning, and cooking a large quantity of Bluegill for a family reunion, and by neccesity I had to freeze the fillets. I placed them in a ziplock, filled it with water, squeezed out the air, and pitched em' in the freezer. Everybody loved them, but I could taste the difference from fresh.


I've never had a problem getting a clean fillet off a live fish, and after 45 years I still have all my fingers. I guess it's all in how you were raised, and what you're used to. Everyone's technique is different, and there's always something new to be learned. I enjoy hearing how people take different approaches to the same problem.


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