Bluegill - Big Bluegill

Do you love big bluegill?

There's a discussion about when to ice down. I say it's anytime before the fish dies, but I don't bother with the type of ice (i.e., crushed or chipped vs. cubes) - I just make sure there's plenty of water mixed in, so the fish chills SUPER fast! Your beer/tea/soda/whatever-it-is-in-a-can-or-bottle will chill deeper and faster, as well.

Second, I recently heard of a way to make it really easy to remove the bones from a 'gill: just before dropping into Crisco Bay, make a slice along each side, near the spine. Then, my source claims, the meat almost pulls off the bone as it cooks, leaving very little effort required from the eater. Sounds logical to me, but has anyone else ever heard of this?

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The higher the oil content of the fish's meat, the faster it needs to get on ice/cooled. Bluegills are not terribly critical in this regard, compared to say... white bass, or steelhead, etc.. If your hauling ice to keep bait/beer/lunch cooled, why not ? When I fished with my Dad, we cooked fish just gutteg/head off. Had never heard of trick to make bone removal easy, woulda loved it ! Now that I fish with my Dad-n-law, have learned to filet everything, and except for steelhead and trout, no bones anyway. But thanks ! steve b
This is 110% true. If your gonna fry them whole always givem a couple slices from top to bottom. After they have cooked all you have to do pull the top fin off and chew the tips off, chew the tips of the tail off then stick your thumb in the slit thats closest to the front, stick the tip of your finger inbetween the bones at the top and the meat and just work your way down wedging the meat off. It takes a couple to get the technique down but once you got it you can tear down 4 or 5 gills and Have a clean plate with a ton of super tasty fried meat and another with bones in under a min. Its kid friendly fish without wasting anything like you would filleting. Well that is unless you can fillet one like musky. I prefer the skin though.
I love the skin too....back in the early 80's, a bunch of my long haired band mates re-sparked my interest in gill fishing. And having never been a big fish eater I would never keep fish, until the day these guys decided to have a fry. They would scale the fish and then fillet them....great flavor!
Ice em down before they die... absolutely a must !.... I use crushed ice as opposed to cubes... makes the job much quicker... but having some water in with the crushed ice is a definite plus...

As for the bone thing... sounds like too much work... I'd rather do the work filleting them... and then when they arrive at table... my son Jon Jon and I can Chow down without any worries.. Pass the salt please... Oh and don't forget the Malt Vinegar ...

Tight Lines

Rob

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