Recently, I read an editorial claiming that most anglers don't know how to properly fillet a salmon.
The writer had come to this conclusion after inspecting hundreds of sockeye carcasses scattered along the Russian River.
He was troubled by the amount of meat remaining on the butchered fish and considered the situation a massive waste of a prized resource.
In addition, he felt that the abundance of fleshy carcasses served as a greater attractant to bears than if the salmon had been filleted properly with more meat taken.
Based on the techniques that I've observed while waiting for a turn at the cleaning tables, I'm inclined to agree with this gentleman to a certain extent. It seems like a lot of people struggle with a knife in their hands and often times end up doing a hatchet job on their catch.
When I fillet a salmon, my preference is to cut through the ribs and remove the entire slab on each side between the pectoral fins and tail. This method is fast and leaves a minimal amount of meat on the carcass. Besides, I find it easier to pull the bones after smoking / cooking.
In contrast, however, most of my fishing buddies like to carve off boneless fillets. Despite leaving a good amount of flesh on the carcass, they consider it a worthwhile trade-off.
What are your thoughts and experiences regarding the issue of wasting meat because of poor filleting techniques?
Is there a proven method for obtaining a boneless salmon fillet while leaving a minimal amount of flesh on the carcass?