Click here for
Bluegills "Kab" Cakes Recipe
More Fishing Articles
Keeper of the Keys
Loons on the Lake
An Open Letter
In a Hurry?
Finest of Times
Want to see larger photos?
You can order the same step-by-step instructions
(a 4-page version in .pdf format), now enhanced with larger,
easier to follow, full-color graphics --
along with a special recipe! Only $0.99!
Sample page of complete Y-Bones Article
After purchase, a link to the downloadable file will
be e-mailed to you. The article can then be easily printed and/or
laminated to become a must-have accompaniment for your tackle box -- a
set of instructions you won't want to be without. Great
gift for that hard-to-buy-a-gift-for fisherman!
...Panfish go by myriad names – like sunfish, sunperch, copperbelly or
bluegills – and are overlooked by many due to their “diminutive” size.
Over 100 of the little guys in about an hour’s worth of fishing is not
uncommon. Cleaning them is another matter: the size and anatomy of the
fish makes cleaning them something of a chore. But when I tasted the
results, it was I who was literally hooked.
I always make a point of setting aside some time just for bluegill
fishing and a fish fry. The best ones – if you can locate them – are
about the size of your hand and some go much larger! Filleting 'gills is
not difficult, but it does require some time because you need a lot for
a good fish fry. If you have a great spot for catching bluegills, it is
a tremendous way to get a kid hooked on fishing. The action can be fast
and furious when they start to hit, and it can be tough to keep your
line in the water. Sometimes the boat can be anchored and bobbers can be
used or, if the location is right, all the fun can be had from shore!
|As always, a sharp knife is extremely
Zwilling J.A. Henckels 7-in. Twin Pro S Fillet Knife is at the top of
my list when it comes to filleting
article about knives
Fish Cleaning Bundle Special (Save 33% off the
Now available from R. Karl, step-by-step
instructions (pdf) on filleting all four of the most popular freshwater gamefish (northern
bass and bluegill)
bundled as one downloadable .zip file for only
Start as you might normally start: place the fish belly side towards you
with the head of the fish on your left. Make the first cut down
and into the fish, just behind the pectoral fin and gill plate.
|Then, rotate the fish through almost 180° so
that the dorsal or back side of the fish is facing you and,
starting at the back of the head, use the tip of the knife to
cut through the tough skin and along the backbone to a point
that is located just about at the end of the dorsal fin. The cut
here will not be very deep – you only need to cut to the point
where the ribs attach to the backbone. Be careful not to cut
through the ribs.
|The point at the end of the dorsal fin is
roughly where the rib cage stops. Now push the knife blade all
the way through the fish and out the belly side. Maintaining
downward pressure on the flat side of the knife, continue
cutting back toward and finally through/out at the tail.
At this point, the fillet is only attached at the rib cage and
|Now, lifting the small slab of the fillet,
use the tip of the knife to begin to separate the meat from the
rib cage. I find it easier to start at the rear of the rib
cage/back of the fish. Cut downward, following the curve of the
rib cage, and gradually working your way forward towards the
front of the rib cage. The curve of the rib cage is rather steep
and therefore somewhat difficult to follow. As always, a sharp
knife is a must and practice makes perfect.
|The last cut to make will be through the
belly: the one that allows you to detach the fillet from the
carcass. Repeat the process for the other side of the fish. You
may find as I do, that one side always seems to be a bit easier
than the other – especially at first.
Slide the knife between the skin and meat to remove the skin and
what is left should be a tiny little boneless fillet. If the
‘gills are fairly large, four to six fish per person will do
rather nicely for a fish fry… although it depends upon how
hungry you are after cleaning all those fish!
from readers who have used these instructions:
"Thanks for your fish cleaning tips!" (S.G.)
"Good exhibits on filleting." (T & L)
"You're right! Cleaning blue gills is
easier than I thought!" (R.R.)