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  • Filleting Techniques

    I have used many different types of fillet knives including electric ones. Long bendable fillet knives work best for me.

    I have seen people cut salmon into three sections, cut along the back and fillet down to the belly. I have seen people start at the gills, cut down to the backbone and then straight to the tail. Personally, I cut at the gill but not deep enough to puncture the rib cage. Then I fillet down to the tail. This leaves you with a nice fillet and with no rib cage. There is a trace amount of meat left on the bones but this way it much more presentable and easier to work with when the meat is being prepared.
    sigpic

  • #2
    Filleting on a bank

    I've seen those techniques work slick on a table but they're hard (at least for me) when you're trying to fillet the fish without a table. I like to bleed and fillet my fish as quickly as possible and because there's rarely a table nearby, I usually end up filleting right on the bank. I try really hard to keep the meat clean while I'm filleting because I'm somewhat anal-retentive about not using a bunch of water to rinse the fillet off after I'm done (strips away a lot of the natural oils and can do bad things to the texture of the fillet). This is the technique I use when I don't have a table handy:

    1) gut the fish and clean away the kidney (dark red stuff along the spine); 2) cut off the head (including pectoral fins); 3) ring the tail by slicing all around the base down to the bone but don't remove it; 4) from the internal side, slice down both sides of the spine, breaking all the small bones along the way, and continue the cut around the anal fin down to your tail ring, then deepen the cuts down to the skin but not through it - the fish should now lay flat on the ground; 5) remove the rib bones by carefully starting a slice underneath them and then laying the off-hand on top of the ribs while the knife-hand continues to slice the ribs away (you should be able to see your knife blade through the membrane covering the ribs) - once you've cut the ribs halfway away from the fillet you should be able to pull them the rest of the way off from there; 6) cut away the belly meat along with the pelvic fins; 7) start peeling the fillets away from the skin by working your fingers between the meat and the skin near the spine (at the biggest "corner" of the fillet"); 8) once you have the corner of the fillet peeled away, grab the corner with both hands, plant the heel of your boot on the newly exposed skin to pin it down, and then pull the fillet the rest of the way off.

    This method takes a little practice but is well worth it because you essentially use the skin as the barrier between the fillet and the ground you're working on - the dirt stays on the skin you leave behind and the clean fillet goes with you. Running a wet hand over the fillet should easily wipe off any little bits of sand or grass that may have gotten on there while you were working. Because doing it this way requires a number of smallish cuts rather than a few big cuts, I've found that the best knives aren't fillet knives but something that's smaller and a little broader, like a folding Buck knife.

    Hope this helps someone sometime...

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    • #3
      fillet

      a small piece of artifical turf about 12'' x 24'' will keep it out of the dirt, and the fish wont slide around on it.
      its easy to roll up and pack with you and easy to clean..
      it is also easy on knives if you make a slip.

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      • #4
        I head the fish, cutting just behind the top of the gills, diagonally down, removing the pectoral fins. Gut, but leave the kidney in place. I fillet with an electric knife, remove the bellies, and the ribs, in that order. Done correctly, one can see light through the remaining carcass, the bellies are separated for smoking or, as we use them for grilling, and the resulting fillet is beautiful—smooth with no ragged edges or saw marks and well-shaped.

        One evening a couple years back, the kids came off the beach with 97 headed and gutted reds. Once here at the house, we set up a slime line: one of the girls flipped me a fish, I filleted, handed it off to a guy who cut the bellies off and handed it to another who removed the ribs. We did the 97 fish in sixty-five minutes

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        • #5
          I head the fish, cutting just behind the top of the gills, diagonally down, removing the pectoral fins. Gut, but leave the kidney in place. I fillet with an electric knife, remove the bellies, and the ribs, in that order. Done correctly, one can see light through the remaining carcass, the bellies are separated for smoking or, as we use them for grilling, and the resulting fillet is beautiful—smooth with no ragged edges or saw marks and well-shaped.

          One evening a couple years back, the kids came off the beach with 97 headed and gutted reds. Once here at the house, we set up a slime line: one of the girls flipped me a fish, I filleted, handed it off to a guy who cut the bellies off and handed it to another who removed the ribs. We did the 97 fish in sixty-five minutes

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          • #6
            I like steaking them out, the tend to cook more evenly but I also like to filet them as well. WG's method is the same way I do it but like akpryde said, fileting them on a bank can be tough sometimes!

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            • #7
              Here's a link to a tutorial with pics for how I do those on my boat.

              http://www.piscatorialpursuits.com/r...ter/fillet.htm

              As Slimm mentioned, you'll see what I cut on Good tip Slimm!

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              • #8
                Yes, steaks do cook better than do fillets because steaks are all the same thickness. But it is possible to "steak" a fillet.

                First trim the angled cut behind the head with a cut perpendicular to the length of the fillet. Next, come down the fillet twice the thickness of the desired steak, proceeding thusly until you come to the end of the rib section, after which the remaining piece is more or less the same thickness and boneless. Next, remove the pinbones from the cut pieces of fillet. Then butterfly each piece, cutting down to but not through the skin.

                When folded in, skin-to-skin, you will have a perfect, boneless steak cut from a fillet.

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                • #9
                  I'm a dipper and live "near" the Kenai. I rip a gill and toss in a cooler. I filet when I get back to the house on the dedicated filet plywood on saw ponies. A sheet rock screw from the bottom side makes a nice spike to slam the head on to keep the fish from slip-sliding away. Surgery forceps are handy for pulling side bones.

                  Heads, tails, guts stay attached and go into a plastic trash can, then back to the river.

                  If it's got ribs - it ain't a filet!

                  Repeat after me: Placement. Bullet. Caliber.

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                  • #10
                    I generally do it a little different. first I do rip a gill and let it bleed out. I use a board or a table. If try to bring one to where I fish if possible

                    Then I cut straight down behind the gill plate untiL I touch the backbone. Then turning the knife flat against the backbone I cut the whole filet off, ribs and all until I almost reach the tail where I stop. Then I flip the filet over end to end so that the meat is up and the filet is flat on the board and still attached at the tail. Then I take my knife and keeping it flat between the meat and the skin I cut the whole skin off. Now I have a skinless filet with the ribs still attached.

                    For all the above, I like a stiff, very sharp, extra long knife.

                    Then with a more classic filet knife I slip the blade just under the ribs and skin them off as well.

                    This is a very fast, efficient way to get great fillets. The heads, guts, and backbone and skin are all still connected they are tossed. Well some of the guts usually come loose in the process but not many.
                    Wasilla Real Estate News
                    www.valleymarket.com

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                    • #11
                      Here's a link to the web version of a fillet method that I had published in Salmon Trout Steelheader last year:

                      http://www.ifish.net/forum/showflat....&page=0#514620
                      "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
                      sigpic
                      The KeenEye MD

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                      • #12
                        Thanks Doc...

                        In the past I have used the same method as Bob Ball...for the most part pretty happy with it, just have to pick out the little bones.

                        I'll have to give this a try, portions are cut and keeps the bones out. Wife should be happy!
                        When all else fails...ask your old-man.


                        AKArcher

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                        • #13
                          from the STS article...

                          This technique really shines on a BIG fish like a king:

                          Here's the what it looks like BEFORE we get started:

                          ...........

                          Click image for larger version

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                          These are the preparatory cuts:

                          ..........

                          Click image for larger version

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                          Last edited by fishNphysician; 06-05-2006, 22:25.
                          "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
                          sigpic
                          The KeenEye MD

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                          • #14
                            Now we start taking the pieces off the carcass like this:

                            ..........

                            [ATTACH]227[/ATTACH]

                            [ATTACH]228[/ATTACH]
                            "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
                            sigpic
                            The KeenEye MD

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                            • #15
                              One side done.

                              ..........

                              [ATTACH]229[/ATTACH]





                              Second side done

                              ..........

                              [ATTACH]230[/ATTACH]
                              "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
                              sigpic
                              The KeenEye MD

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