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How To Fillet And Clean A Fish

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Yay you caught a fish! Well done Indiana Jones, now you can really impress your camp buddies by cleaning it and serving it for dinner. It's easy to fillet or clean a fish, just take your time and work carefully and you will master this great life skill in no time.

What you need:

  • Fillet knife (make sure that this is super sharp)
  • Cutting board
  • Fish
  • Bowl of cold water

Remove the scales first. Hold the fish by the tail and, with the back of your knife, scrape from the tail to the head. The scales should fly off.

Lay the fish flat on the cutting board with its spine facing you. Locate the pectoral fin just above the gills. Hold the knife at a 45 degree angle, next to the pectoral fin, with the bottom tilted towards the fish's head. Make a single cut down across the width of the fish from spine to belly. Cut down to the spine, but not thorough it.

Now angle the knife the other way and slice down the length of the fish from gill to tail so you have one solid fillet. Repeat on the other side for your second fillet. Rinse the fish in the cold water. Now you can fry your fillet, batter or or bake it in foil over the coals.

How to Clean a Fish

If you want to cook the whole fish, it's easier to clean. Remove the scales first. Hold the fish by the tail and, with the back of your knife, scrape from the tail to the head. The scales should fly off.

Cut off the pectoral fins using two 45 degree cuts on both sides of the fin.

Lay the fish on its side with the belly facing you. Lay one hand on the top of the fish and then cut through the middle of the belly from the gills to the tail. Reach in and remove the innards.

Wash the whole fish and cavity with cold water.

You can cook the fish straight on the grill or wrap it in foil. Season with dill, salt and pepper. You can also stuff the fish cavity with interesting fillings. Try onions, basil and tomato or sprigs of dill and lemon slices.

Note: Be responsible when discarding scales, fish heads and innards. Dig a whole to bury them and ensure that you don't create a mess in the campsite that the next campers have to deal with.

Wildlife may also be attracted to the smell of fresh fish , so discard bits you don't want away from your campsite.

You can test whether your fish is properly cooked by poking it with the tines of a fork. If your fish is done, it will be opaque and it will flake easily. Be sure to poke the tines of a fork into the thickest portion of the fish.

Helpful guides, recipes and scary campfire stories can all be fond in our wonderful camping cookbook. Get your copy of the Flaming Marshmallow's Guide to Campfire Cooking.

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