If you’ve had a great day out on the boat fishing and looking forward to eating your catch, you will need to get rid of the bones and scales for a more enjoyable eating experience.  Follow our How To Fillet a Fish Guide for a few simple tips….

It’s All About The Knife

First things first, you will need a good sharp knife. You can pick up a filleting knife from your local fishing and tackle shop, but if you are without such a tool, you can get the job done using a thin knife with a pointed end  - just remember the sharper and heavier the blade the easier the job. Keep your knife clean and wet as this provides a more controlled cut. You may also need another sharp knife which is more thick in width to remove the thick skin.

Heads Or Tails?

So do you start the filleting process from the head of the fish, or do you work from the tail up? Well, if it’s your first time filleting, you will probably find it a lot easier to start at the top and work your way down.

1. Place your fish on a hard and flat cutting service, and place the knife on a 45degree angle, at the top of the head below the mouth of the fish near the top fin. Slice across the fish towards the gut but not entirely though the fish itself.

2. Place your hand on top of the head and slide the knife through your incision down the backbone or edge of the fish until you reach the beginning of its tail.

3. Peel back the fillet and tidy up your work by running the knife across the backbone in small quick sawing motions, to ensure the fillet is solid and that there are no bones attached.

4. Turn the fish over and repeat the above process. Once you have gone right through to the tail, cut across the fish around the rib cage to release your fillet. It’s difficult so make sure your knife is really sharp. Once done, flip the fish back to the other side and cut through that side also. You should be left with two fillets and the skeleton.


Again, when it comes to removing the tough skin from your fish, keep your knife clean and wet. You will need a thinner knife for this process. Place the fillet on your hard surface skin down so that the flesh is facing you.

1.  You will probably find that there are still some fine bones left on the flesh side of your fillet. Try and cut gently along the fillet from top to bottom so that you can easily remove the bed of bones left.

2. Make a small incision between the flesh and the skin, about 3 cm wide. This will act as a skin grip for you.

3. Firmly grip the skin, and slice the fillet away from you. Move the fillet and not the knife, while slightly pulling the skin as you slice.

And there you have it. It’s a bit of a procedure, but practise will make perfect, and pretty soon you’ll get the knack. Be sure to use the remaining fish carcass for a great fish stock.

Watch our great video for a more visual explanation. Happy Fishing!

How To Fillet a Fish, 4.0 out of 5 based on 4 ratings

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  1. Mr Bob Dobalina says:

    Hate filliting fish, always stuff it up and end up with either tiny fillets or fillets full of tiny bones. The video is really informative, thanks.

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