Gutting and cleaning a fish doesn’t have to be a daunting task especially for beginners who have just started fishing. Today store-bought fish is so easily accessible, that we’ve never been given the chance to learn how to properly gut and clean a fish for eating.
But if we’re out fishing and get our hands on a good catch then we don’t have a butcher to do the dirty work for us. But not to worry, gutting and cleaning aren’t difficult once you get the hang of it.
Step 1 – Rinse fish with cold water
Firstly, before we get started we’ll rinse our fish in fresh cold water to remove any slime coating of the fish. This will make the fish a lot easier to work with.
Step 2 – Clip off the fins and tail
Once the fish has been thoroughly rinsed, with a sharp pair of scissors or knife we’ll remove the fins and tail. While removing the fins be very careful as they’re sharp and you can easily get pricked.
Removing the tail is a matter of preference and if you wish to keep this for presentation then you can do so.
Step 3 – Descale the fish
Using the back of a knife or a descaler we’ll begin by removing the scales of the fish. Work the knife until all scales have been removed.
A cautious warning, you can expect the scales to fly everywhere whilst descaling. Ideally, I like to do this outside to avoid creating a mess inside and cleaning scales of walls and on the floor.
(This step can be done before cutting off the fins and tail. Though to avoid getting pricked I recommend doing this afterward.)
Step 4 – Remove the guts
With a sharp filleting knife, we’ll make a cut underneath the belly starting from the vent to the bottom of the gills. Keep in mind we’re only trying to make a cut on the outside to take out the guts and not puncturing the fish’s stomach.
Once we’ve opened up the fish either with your hands or metal spoon remove and clean all the insides thoroughly.
Step 5 – Thoroughly wash and ready to be prepared
The final step before the fish is ready to be prepared. Underneath running cold water we’ll give the fish a good clean both on the outside and inside.
There you have it as easy as that your fish is now ready to be prepared however you wish!