How to fillet a Bluegill or Sunfish

There are a couple different ways to fillet a fish, but this is what I have found to be fast and easy and learning and practicing on bluegill/Sunfish has made me pretty good at it now.

*Some images may be considered graphic.

This is my set up. I have one bowl for the clean fillets. The fillets go into ice water. The other bowl is for the skin and bodies after the fillets are removed. (The fish are already dead from being in ice.)
First, make a slice just behind the gill plate. There is a good amount of meat behind the head so you want to curve up and around. (I did miss some of that meat in this and I am kicking myself for it. lol)
Second step is cutting along the spine. Place the knife just on the side of the spine and fin and slice straight in.
Then, place your knife just behind the ribs and bring it through the belly.
Bring it down to the tail. Now, here you can leave it attached or cut it off. I actually prefer to just cut it off, but here I’ll show you a little trick to getting it off the skin.
Peel it back and slice down along the ribs to remove the meat from the ribs too but leaving the ribs intact. Then just slice up the belly to disconnect the fillet.
Here you can flip the fillet back and now its easy to remove the fillet.
Keeping the knife almost flat with the surface of the cutting board slice up and remove the fillet from the skin. Then you just flip it over and repeat on the other side.
Where the green line is, there are tiny pin bones. I always remove these.
Final fillet!
Bowl of fillets, ready to cook for dinner.

Published by esr-outdoors

I love the outdoors and I am finding myself and teaching others how to do it too. We are all works in progress and masterpieces.

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