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EASY PINBONE REMOVAL FOR BLUEGILL FILLETS

Just a quick blog for those who want to remove the pinbones from their bluegill fillets. In the pic below, the fillet has been started and the top of the ribcage is exposed...

At this point simply lift the fillet by peeling it back with your thumb. With cold fillets ( fish that have been on ice) the pinbones will remain intact to the ribs as you peel. You can lay the knife on the fish as shown to 'hold' it in place as you peel...

Lift and slice the fillet, scoring tightly to the longer ribcage bones on the belly section of the fillet...

The above photo shows the row of pin bones parallel with the back edge of the knife. If done correctly, it should look something like the the above photo.

Flip the fish over and repeat the lift/pull/scoring process as you did with the other side of the bluegill. Takes a few times to get it down, but once you get the hang of it it is actually quite easy to master. The picture above shows a 6.5 inch bluegill that, though small, made for some decent fillets.

You may not find it neccessary to worry about the pin bones. But if so, this is the quickest, and easiest, method I have found for keeping them out of the fillets. Works best on cold fish as the flesh is easier for me to handle and the separation of the flesh from bone seems to be better than with live, or warmer, fillets.

Hope this helps!

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Comment by Jim Gronaw on November 1, 2013 at 8:43am

Same here, Dave. I like the 6 in knife for shinning as well...seems to be more flexible, too. The only thing I do different is to vacuum seal my fillets and freeze. If you want a pack for supper just put them in the fridge in the am and they will be thawed and ready by evening time. Plus...they seem to hold up better than freezing them in solid ice in freezer bags, like i used to do. But either way works well.

Comment by Dave Lipps on November 1, 2013 at 7:49am

Great pictures, Jim, on the technic of simple filleting after you get the hang of it and can be done inside at the kitchen sink with little mess( if wife allowed :).

Have done this in this manner over the past 40 years or so.  Now use the poly board for ease to clean. I keep fish in a cooler with a frozen ice jug to transport fish home for cleaning. Even after a couple hours before cleaning the fish become well tempered and are easier to fillet.  I fillet with a 4" blade size and then I remove the skin using a 6" blade size fillet knife by placing the fillet skin side down on the poly board and start at tale end to peel the skin from the meat part of the fillet. Place fillets in plastic freezer bag if not immediately eating catch to freeze. All has seemed to work well for me through all these years.

Comment by Jim Mc Leod on September 20, 2013 at 5:02am

tks I will try with cold fish///////

Comment by Leo Nguyen on September 6, 2013 at 10:10am

Thanks! Will try the method.

Comment by Mark on September 4, 2013 at 7:41pm

great info ! i will have to try this out next time. 

Comment by dave schuyler on September 2, 2013 at 8:56am

Good info, thanks Jim

Comment by Jim Gronaw on September 2, 2013 at 7:51am

I have never used those clip-style boards. Actually, I prefer a wood board rather than poly, but in the photos I have the poly board.

Comment by John Sheehan on September 2, 2013 at 7:45am

Thanks for this Jim!

Comment by Bruce Tomaselli on September 2, 2013 at 6:49am

You guys ever use one of those clip boards to hold the tail of the fish while you're filleting them?

Comment by Bruce Tomaselli on September 2, 2013 at 6:47am

Thanks for the post. I will pay more attention to detail.

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