Bluegill - Big Bluegill

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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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I just whack them on the forehead with the back of the fillet knife. A sharp rap is all that's needed.


Not sure about thump on the head with the back of the knife. A sharp puncture directly to the one side of the head going from one side to another, just 1cm above the eye, then a quick slice from the sides to the forehead. That cuts the brain stem, preventing any additional signal going from brain to body, ceasing all function.

Craig, I normally dont worry about fishs feelings because next you will be worried about taking them away from their wife and children  or be worried about how the cricket or worm feels when you shove the point of the hook in , then the next thing you know you have gone Vegan on us . Vegan is an old indian word for " Not good fisherman". Craig ,  YOU ARE TOP OF THE FOOD CHAIN. Now I know you have to keep peace at home , so do what I do, I take the fish straight out of the water an put them on ice in the cooler, they flop for a minute then they get cold and dont move anymore. I prefer them this way because it keeps the flesh fresher and therefor more flavorful.  Do you think bears in Alaska worry about how the salmon feel  when he catches them going upstream  and eats them?         LOFR

Tell her she should do her part and pitch in.  Tell her the most humane way to do it is to hold the fish firmly in her hands and in one motion, bite its head completely off.  I usually keep a few big ones for the skillet when I fish. I clean them with a fillet knife. I dont think about it since its for food consumption. You should have seen my grandfather saw off one of old Betsy's hind quarters several years ago. She didnt like that one bit. The other cows made fun of her for a long time walking around on 3 legs. Best steak i ever had.

LOFR has a good notion, especially when summer comes. Fish spoil perhaps faster than any other food, and putting them on ice, ASAP, will preserve their flavor and goodness.

There times when lugging a load if ice is not an option, like when hiking creeks. For cleaning fish that are still flopping, I use two knives. One is a stout, strong back "hunter" style knife, and the other is a delicate filet knife. They are both maintained so as to be wickedly sharp.

For fish like panfish, I deliver the coup de grace by quickly severing the spine behind the head. For really large fish, the kind you can lay out upright, I pierce straight into the brain cavity with the knife point.

'Im not worried about a fishes feelings, as Lloyd suggests, but I also don't like butchering any creature alive. They should be dispatched first.

Lol, ya, I'm not too concerned about a fishes feelings either. I'm more concerned with the health of my ears.

While we're here, any good guides/videos/other on how to make/keep a fillet knife sharp?

 I use a hone steel or what is called plasma steel ,it keeps filet knives so sharp you can cut yourself just looking at it.          LOFR

I use a two-sided Hewlett fine/medium diamond plate from Ragnar's Ragweed Forge.  Check out his website.

As long as you dont have any major nicks in your blade, get a medium grit and fin grit stone.  Put some honeing oil (or other LIGHT oil) on the stone,  rule of thumb for most knife edges is about 23 degree angle.  What I do is start straight up and down at a 90 angle, half, then half it again and that is about your 23 angle.  Keep that angle as best you can then with steady pressure, act as if you are slicing a thing layer off the top of your stone away from you, then flip kniffe over and do the same thing back towards you.... just remember to do the same number of passes on each edge of the blade..... this will take time and practice to get your edge right.... start with the medium stone to get any small nicks that you dont really see or affect the edge much, then repeat the process on the fine stone, this will put the edge on your knife..... OR if you know a bladesmith or someone tha knows how to work a beltsander you can use that for a real quick good edge.... if I dont use stones, I get my Father In Law to do my knives since he a blade smith! Best of all it is free! :D

Yep. Nothing's better than a knife sharpening station. Costs less than $150. The only thing is, you can't bring it to the fields with you when you need a quick ultra razor sharp blade when you're in a pickled of a situation. Never ever cut with a slightly dull knife, and definitely not with a dull knife.

I always clean fish at the lake, so they get filleted and then rest thrown for the coons to finish. Never heard of killing them before cleaning.....least no one I know does that.

never heard of such a thing either.. must come from some PETA people

i use a live net so my fish stay alive until its time to go home .. unless it gets to full then a few may die but thats a good thing..

also i throw my live net in the very back of my truck so all the air hits them and they kinda dry out.. they are much easier to clean and handle when dry ..


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