Here is a lesson from the ADN on how to waste your belly meat...
Here is a lesson from the ADN on how to waste your belly meat...
I can't believe they are wasting that much belly meat. That is the best part. I love the belly strips from the smoker.
I spend a lot of time, effort and money to catch my salmon. I like to take them home hole and fillet them there. I can do a lot better job and keep the meat in a lot better shape if I do it at home. It bugs me to see people filleting their salmon on the beach and just hacking it up and covering the fillets in sand and mud.
I treat my salmon like gold.
Scott (and anyone else), I have a question for ya, do you at gut and bleed your fish before you leave the beach? I always make a point to bleed and gut the fish as soon as possible after catching, and normally am one of those people you see filleting on top of their cooler while packing up. I almost never have sand or dirt etc in my fillets since I am careful- but it can always be rinsed at home if need be, I hate wasting meat so I normally end up with extra bones from being too careful - especially with pike. I do know what you mean about taking it home though, just can't bring myself to let a fish sit that long without gutting, regardless of if its on ice or in the water... what are your thoughts/practices on this? - Thanks in advance...
Next, I think that since this thread addresses poor filleting style, it might be worthwhile to expand it to include some good techniques that people have for various species- no hijack intended . I am by far no expert, but will say that I have grown to be nearly helpless without my battery powered fillet knife and could use some pointers on the good ole fashioned ways, especially for pike.
I always bleed my fish as soon as possible. If I am far from home then I of course will gut them and often fillet them (sometimes on a cooler). I live in Kenai so when I go dipnetting I just bleed them and throw them in a cooler. I am home and filleting them with in a hour or two at the most.
As for filleting them, I make a slice down the belly between the fins from back to front. next, a slice right behind the gill cover. Then slice along the back, to the ribs, straight down the tail along the backbone. I try to carefully fillet along the ribs and not leave any meat behind. A sharp fillet knife and long, smooth strokes are key. I am not an expert but I think that I do a pretty good job. I filleted 28 salmon in one hour after dipnetting this summer. 30 is about all that I want to have to deal with at one time.
Last edited by Sockeye Scott; 08-07-2008 at 16:32. Reason: spelling edits
The deckhands have to fillet alot of fish day in day out after a long day on the water, and their fillet techinque will be to maximize speed and meat loss, who cares.
But, in general I hate to see how most charters handle fish. The just toss them in a hold to flap around and get bruised, with no effort to bleed or cool them.
Personally I prefer to stick a knife in the gills and put them in a bucket to bleed. When the fishing slows or before we move to another spot I put the fish in the cooler on ice.
I fillet the fish on a table at home, and don't gut them.
i like the way he filleted the fish! that would leave a nice big salmon belly for the smoker and that is the best part of the fish! Nothing better!
Man that guy needs to learn how to sharpen a knife. I like those fillets with the big belly meat fillets that are sized perfectly for smoking. I have always filleted around the ribs, but recently started taking big slabs like he does, then filleting the ribs out I seem to waste less meat that way, and I seem to go faster. I like to bleed my fish into the water right away too.
The captain that was filleting that salmon is very good at getting all the meat. He takes care of the fish more so than the average. If you look at the fish before he starts, he even takes the time to scale them.
It may look like he is missing alot of fish, but he really isnt, yes, he is leaving the "belly" on the fish, but its no problem to ask him for it, he will gladly make the 2 other cuts that is needed to take it off the fish.also, most people especially charter clients dont want nor care for the bellys and do not want to include them in the shipping cost.
I see alot of "weekend warriors" like myself think they are getting "more" meat and can fillet better because it takes more time to finish a fish. keep in mind, since these guys do it everyday, they just make it look that easy.
I love the charter guys leaving meat on- Whenever im in seward I go down to the barge with a snag hook and king pole and reel up free bait for rockfish off the shore; funny thing is tourtists think youre catching all the fish from the harbor
The clients often don't want the belly meat. They just want the fillet. Personal choice, especially when you are paying 6 bucks a pound to ship them home
I would love to see any of you demonstrate cleaner cuts and better techniques than that guy ( or a sharper knife). Most of the private boaters I see filleting salmon( or halibut or rockfish) in Seward are hacking them so badly I feel like helping them. Oh they get the belly meat and leave half the fillet on the fish. Ask Stickle back or some of the other guys on here that see it every day. Wanton Waste at the fillet table every day this time of year.
To each their own but that guy has been cutting fish and delivering beautiful fillets to his clients for twenty years. Those fillets were free of blood and bones.
Everyone is a critic.
When I was down in seward the man filleting the fish was the nicest captain I personally ran into.. well actually for the most part the captains were nice; only one giant of a man was mean; cursing at everybody at the fillet stations; heard him say how he wants to kill the dip***** around him... now i know which boat Ill never go on
I was impressed. I watched the video and thought... man his knife is sharp and he really knows what he is doing. I also thought I should troll over here and see how folks had already started bellyaching because he "wasted the belly meat", something my wife and I are more than happy to give to anyone willing to eat it! :-) I am sure his clients were more than satisfied, as we would have been.
That's exactly the way I do it, only cut the belly off afterwards for a brine-smoke-can treatment. My knife is not as sharp though, a skill I need to learn. Anyone have any tips on sharpening a knife? I always use the generic plastic sharpeners and it does ok, but I'd like to be able to sharpen them razor sharp. Anyone have tips on this?
Hike faster. I hear banjo music.
The fillet meat goes clear to the bottom. The belly fat of a salmon is about 1/4 inch wide in the very center. If you throw the whole bottom of the sfish away to avoid a very small peice of fat it is the same as throwing away any large strip of meat. I wish I would have never listened to whoever told me the belly was just fat. That is the stupidest thing I ever let myself believe. The more apropriate term is the tenderloins of the fish.
"You have given out too much reputation in the last 24 hours, try again later".
I used to use the steel sharpeners with the two bars that cross eachother, and they worked ok. But after getting a new, very sharp knife, or getting an old one professionaly sharpened, we bought a ceramic sharpening stick and run the blades over it a few times after each fish and it keeps the knives razer sharp every time. I bought mine through Jeane(i think thats her name. She fillets fish at the sewerd fillet tables too. Bought my knives from her also.) The ceramic sharpener just keeps an edge, but if it gets too dull, it won't do much so you just have to stick with it.
I freeze my fish whole after heading and gutting,glaze them 2x,no need to fillet till time to grub up.
And when I do I do them the same way ive done thousands and thousands of lbs of bait salmon for commercial halibut fishing.Cut in front of the collar bone,straight down the spine to the tail,bones and all,no hacking and sawing,sharp knife goes right through.
Ive got an old Green River knife,that Ive had for over 10yrs.I dont know what they cost but Id be surprised if they were more than $25.To make them last,heat them up by the blade on a stove top to perhaps 175-200 degs and coat with vegatable oil(high carbon blade rusts fairly easy).
This is not a fillet knife,its made to butcher fish,so dont expect it to bend around the ribs and all that BS.Flop the fillet over,Ill casually cut most of the ribs out,perhaps 3/4 of the length,leaving the belly meat and a bit of bone,only thing left is the pin bones.Sometimes I leave in the belly meat,sometimes I dont.
All scraps go into a freezer pile to be boiled down into dog food.