Thursday, September 8, 2016

How To Fillet A Sunfish

OK, you've set your objective and met it - catch enough fish for a meal. So you've got those Blue Gills in a cooler and, well, what next? Descale and fillet, that's what's next and here's how.

Put your fish on a cutting board and stare at it with respect, the ferocious predator died that you might live. Meditation over, get a knife, a kitchen knife will do, and remove the scales; you don't want to eat them. 

Next step, use a fillet knife to cut around the head, gill and fin of the fish, then work the knife along the the back of the fish, following the bones of the ribcage as a guide. When you're clear of the ribcage you'll feel it; push the knife through the fish and cut through to the tail, being sure to keep as close to the bone as possible.

That done, work the knife over the ribcage, severing the flesh from the bone. Don't be pernickity, cut the fish flesh off the ribcage when it's obvious that you'll have no more flesh. Then cut out the fillet.

Look at that small Sunfish fillet but don't be dismayed, it'll puff up several times when it's deep fried, making for a great snack.

So that's how it's done, at least in LSPland. There are different ways to do this and you can go out and do them, good luck to you, but there's no rule. At the end of the day it's all about catching your own fish, like a Sovereign, then prepping them and having a meal.

Fish On,



LL said...

Pound for pound, they fight harder than any other species of fish that I've caught. They are not the best eating fish, but they're not bad (better than catfish, for example).

The action is fast when they're biting - and they remind me of piraña without the big teeth. Apparently the snake at Lake Whitney likes them too.

Fredd said...

I enjoy blue gill nuggets, but the effort involved in preparing a meal for 10 people is enormous.

While on vacation at a lake in northern Wisconsin, we were sent out to catch a mess of fish to feed the crew. Our original intention was catching walleye, a very tasty fish. The walleye weren't biting, but we were getting quite a bit of action from the blue gill. After a few hours of throwing back blue gills, and catching no walleyes, we decided we were going to ditch Plan A as we were not going back empty handed: we decided to kick into Plan B and go into blue gill production mode.

No more throwing back blue gill, me and three other guys ended up catching approx. 150 of these fish from my boat (a 1974 Sidewinder jet boat, 455 Olds V8 with Panther jet, meant for skiing but it served well as a fishing platform), and spent the better part of two hours scaling and filleting them, just exactly per the instructions above.

Everyone raved over them, including me: we used Krusteaz instant pancake batter to bread them, and deep fried them in a 2 inch deep pan of Wesson corn oil. Sounds pretty pedestrian, but I am here to tell you they were a big hit.

And a ton of work.

LL said...

Fredd - I take it that Aunt Sally wasn't there preparing the sides and overseeing your fish frying efforts?

LSP - Having eaten your mother's cooking, it would be interesting to see if she had some sort of secret Texas bluegill recipe. She's a good cook.

LSP said...

The snake's a big fan, LL, and good pirana point. They do look a bit like that and for sure, fierce little fighters.

LSP said...

I can imagine the work, Fredd. LOTS. But right tasty, too. Neat sounding boat, but I'm guessing that was a lot of work too?

LSP said...

It's odd, LL, but my mother's not much into fish...

Fredd said...

The boat: I owned it in my 40's and 50's, but it was a young man's boat. I bought it in completely awful condition and restored it. Very fast, very loud, very expensive to maintain. Since it was only an 18' calm water boat, I made the step up to do the same process to a 35' Carver Mariner - the maintenance on this 12,000 pound, twin V-8 beast over the 8 years I owned it did me in.

I became a boat hater after that. Got rid of both of them.

Fredd said...

LL: No, Aunt Sally is a southern gal from the rebel side of the family, and would not be caught dead in a Yankee campground eating Yankee blue gill, and especially if she was not involved in the entire process to make sure everything was real tasty.

(I embellished that last 10 words or so)

LSP said...

That's quite a boat story, Fredd, and there comes a point when hobbies become more than a chore.

Maybe I should get a canoe, perhaps with a small outboard.

Fredd said...

Pastor: do so at your peril.