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This is how I clean Bluegills under 10” over that I filet them.

It’s also how to use that old toothbrush thats laying around, thats not used to clean your guns and reels

(please don’t mix them up they make the fish taste like WD-40 or Hoppes or CLP).

This is just the way I do it you may do it different that’s cool, however it’s done that get’s them cleaned and ready for the pan, fryer, smoker or grill.

I’ve set up the drawings in 4 sections:

 

 

1. The Spine cut and scaling (tools used; pocket folder 4” heavy blade also used to remove the scales)

2. De-fin (tools used; pair of wire cutters due to the heavy fins of cats bent the peelers so I switched)

3. Belly cut (tools used; filet knife)

4. De-heading and cleaning the gut cavity (tools used; 4” pocket folder, toothbrush and filet knife for those little pockets in the back)

I hope this helps those that may not know how to clean a fish yet you can print out this section of the first timers that way they know how to do it in the field as well as the cleaning station at home.

Section 1: I use my heavy folder to slice thru the side of the fish just below the ear tab and slice thru to the other side severing the spine then hose off the blood (the fish is still breathing and if done correctly it should still be by the time you remove the head) this keeps the fish from flopping and allows for a finger hold to help in scaling. I start at the tail and hold my knife at a slight angle away from the tail and scrape the scales off toward the head pay attention to the underside of the tail and between the anal fin and pelvic fins.

After both sides are de-scaled hose of the fish and working surface.

Section 2: De-fin the scaled fish, I begin with a pelvic fin with the wire cutters flush with the body from the rear side towards the head toss it in the waste bucket.

Next a pectoral fin with the wire cutters grasping the fin in the jaws twist a half turn and roll toward the head and pull off the fin and toss in the waste bucket.

Moving up to the dorsal fin begin in the rear of the fin cutting flush with the back and cut toward the head throw it in the bucket.

Next the pectoral fin on the opposite side in the same fashion as before.

Then the last pelvic fin as before.

Last the anal fin with the wire cutters starting from the tail side cut flush with the body towards the head and toss in the waste bucket.

Section 3: Slitting the belly. With the filleting knife cut from the anus toward the anal fin to help open the working area then place the filet knife into the anus and slice toward the pelvic plate between where the pelvic fins were this allows the easy removal of the head and most of the guts in the next section.

Section 4: Removing the head and clearing the guts out. I use my filet knife and flip the fish on it’s side drawing my knife along the line from the spine cut along the back if the gill plate and down to the pelvic plate to match the belly cut on that side, flipping the fish over do the same cut on the other side.

Grasp the head at the spine cut slot and pull it down and away from the body. This removes a majority of the guts attached to the head as well as most of the intestines, leaving the reproductive organs and lower intestine this helps you assure yourself of sex of your catch if your keeping up or for your post here on Big Bluegill. At this time if you lost any IRON (hook and snap in my case) I’ll remove that from the mouth or guts attached to the head and clean them off. (the acid from the fishes digestive tract will breakdown the hook and snap fairly fast). Now for the icky part I use my thumb and forefinger to grasp the reproductive organs and intestines and drag them out. Flip the fish carcass on it’s side then use my folder knife and scrape the sliver skin off the inside of the ribcage (cooking with the silver skin on leaves a nasty taste) holding the back of the carcass in hand scrape the gold air sac and leftover blood and guts along the spine to loosen them then use the toothbrush to brush them out. (hah you never knew the toothbrush was so handy).

Flush out the cavity with my hose and use either the filet or folder to get the leftovers if any and re-brush and flush. Now you have a clean cavity. Tilt up the carcass with the belly down just above the anal slot you’ll see a bump of membrane slice open this membrane and you’ll see a small grayish urinary bladder scrape this out of the pocket and flush the area with water, you can now scrape the outer skin to remove the ooze re-flush both sides and you have a fish ready for the fryer, grill, smoker or pan.

Happy eating.

Yours in service

James Acerra

 

Any tips or comments on what I’ve done or how you do it great. Enjoy the HOW TO and feel free to pass it on to the up and comers.

If you want the full size drawing added to the site please ask and I’ll add it to my pictures.

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Replies to This Discussion

I like to leave the head on. Just open the gut up and scoop out, then remove gills. Batter and fry, lot of meat wasted when the head is cut off. (I spent over five years in the orient so have no problem with head on.) Lot of meat over the head of the BG that is really good to eat.

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