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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I haven't kept any sunfish for the table in a few years, but here is how I treat any fish that I take home.  Fish are kept alive, either in a basket or on a stringer, until I'm ready to leave.  Fish are placed in a cooler, and I use either a knife or a pair of tin snips to cut the gills.  Remember, the heart is located just behind where the gills meet, on the belly side.  Doing this severs the main blood vessels, so they quickly bleed out and die.  Since they're on ice, they stay fresh until I clean them.

I never filet live fish because I ice my fish before cleaning.....Coagulates the blood and firms up the flesh.....all you need then is a sharp Filet knife and you're set!

i just throw em on ice when i catch them, they are dead when i get ready to clean them

I honestly have not filleted a live fish in years because I normally have an hour or two drive home from the lakes I fish. In the past I would use the old back of the knife trick when my folks had the place up north or when I was on a trip with a fish house. These days I always travel with a cooler and a big bag of ice. Every so often we will empty out the well into the cooler. This works good for a couple of reasons. Not only does it keep the fish fresh but it also lets me keep a count of what we have in the boat.

I have heard of guys bleeding fish to keep them freshest. I guess clipping a gill or the knife through the brain would work well. Leave them in the well to bleed out and then transfer them to the ICE bucket! I also find that fished cleaned out of the cooler seem to be a little less messy as far as the blood goes.

Craig, These guys are on track. Take along an ice chest, if you don't have a live well, just throw the ones you want to fillet directly on ice they will most likely be dead when you start the cleaning process....good eating and stay thirsty my friend.

Here's a question to ask you guys, since you guy like to ice the fish before filleting:

Which meat taste better: drained of blood or coagulated blood in tissue?


I always fillet the fish within 15 minutes of their death, and cook them soon after, or if I know I'm going to store them for the next day, I cut their blood vessel near the heart, and let them bleed out, before I bring them home to fillet. Fillets remain fresh and lack that bloody coagulating odor, similar to the big fish, either long after death or been on ice for more than 3 hours.

I don't know which taste better, drained or coagulated. I'm guessing drained from your post?

So are you saying not to put them on ice but to keep them alive in fresh water somehow (like a livewell or metal basket cage) until shortly before you fillet them?

Yep. That has always been my method for all fish, saltwater or freshwater. Cook them immediately after filleting to get maximum taste (just my land animal's meat), or, if keeping for storage, drain them from blood. Well, it's my observation anyway. Not sure if other cooking masters and gurus know any different. You can tell the massive different in catfish and carp.

Well Leo , I've never really thought about that question but I do know that the flesh is firmer after it chilled , I suspect that when the fish hit the ice a hypothermia situation sets up and the body itself takes the blood out if the muscles and directs it to the organs to protect its self from the cold. I have never had excessive bleeding from the flesh in my experience, it seems that most of the blood comes from the organs. When I put my deer on Ice I put it in a cooler with a piece of 2x4 under the end away from the drain spout that way the bloody ice water drains out and the meat is kept on ice not bloody ice water.  As soon as I take my fish out of the ice and filet them  the filets go right back into  clean ice and washed in the sink removing any remaining blood if any and oils. I 'm going to rev up my electric knife before I filet them next time , althought I know they cant hear it.   LOFR

I usually rev up my electric fillet knife a few times before starting to fillet them. The sound mesmerizes them, knowing that they will be thoroughly bathed in hot oil before being eaten. 

LOL! I'll be pissing and pooping in my skin if I'm one of the oil bathers.

Tim is right vibrate them till their eyes roll back in their heads!!!!!!


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