Sunday, March 15, 2015

How to Fillet Your Fish

I taught Andrew and Nick how to clean a trout a few weeks back, and I wish we had taken photos to share with you here (next time). But after spearing some fish at the ocean with Alex, Justin, and Chris I decided to do a post on how to efficiently fillet a fish.

This method works great for many large fish (if it’s smaller, just gut it, scale it and cook it whole). I fillet rockfish, lingcod, and freshwater species like catfish and bass.

Step 1- Place the fish on a board or flat rock and make and incision with a sharp blade right down to the backbone at an angle (as shown) in the soft tissue just behind the head and hard gill plate.

Step 2- Angle the blade now parallel to the spine and saw through the rib bones found in the first 1/3 of the fish all the while keeping your blade slightly bumping the spine so you retain the most meat possible in the fillet. NOTE- stop cutting near the tail but before you cut through the skin (keep the fillet connected to the fish).

Step 3- Flip the fillet, still attached to the skin, and slice parallel to the skin all along the fillet effectively removing skin from meat. By keeping the skin attached to the carcass it gives you a good grip and makes the process far quicker.

Step 4- use your index finger to identify where the rib bones are located along the lateral line of the fillet. You will feel them poking out where you cut them free from the carcass. Then make an incision through the fillet alone the upper side of the fillet’s lateral line, above the ribs (as shown).

Step 5- Make a second incision perpendicular to the length of the fillet effectively severing the belly meat from the rest of the fillet.

Step 6- Give your boneless fillet a rinse and cut it into one inch cubes. Mix up a simple batter of flour, salt, paprika, and beer. Dip the cubes in the batter, fry them until golden brown, and get ready for the best fish tacos around!

I hope that helps.

Keep the old ways alive!

Getting Out for Mountain Trout

“Damn! This flatbread is awesome!”- Andrew, after eating the Manzanita-smoked wild goat Gyros we made.

On a whim Andrew, Nick, and I headed out to a high altitude lake in pursuit of cold water wild trout.

The first night we made some feral goat sausage gyros with homemade flatbread. Delicious was an understatement!
The next morning we finished the goat sausage with potatoes, bacon, and eggs. 

Then we scouted around with my .303 British in search of wild boar. No such luck as we had suspected…far too high elevation.

We also cut a nice oak burl which we will later carve into a bowl.
Once Nick arrived we switched our focus to fishing and within two casts I had landed a nice 13 inch trout.

Nick had not been fishing in nearly a decade, yet after a few pointers he was casting like a champ again and ended up landing his first fish (a 14 inch trout) within the first hour!

A few more bass and trout chased our lures and bait but we caught no more that day (though Nick kept casting until the trout hit the pan…after landing his first trout he was as hooked as the fish).
As much as we all agreed we would take a photo of the incredibly delicious fish sautéing in Nicks cast iron skillet over Manzanita coals, we forgot every time! I think we were just too excited about eating them!

The next day I landed a little bass but released him back and Nick caught yet another sizable trout.

Both nights we ate like champions and the goat chili was a great breakfast too!

By the time we packed up camp to make our way back to civilization we all made a pact to return to this amazing location in the future…especially since I now have a canoe…but that’s another story.

Keep the old ways alive!