How to gut and clean a fish

The weather is getting warmer, the sun is shining brighter, and that means the fish are out and about, ready for you to catch them. Picture this: it’s the perfect summer day, you have all of your fishing gear ready, you hook your bait, cast your line and you catch a big one! So now what? While some like to participate in the popular catch and release routine, others fish and hook to cook. Before you get to grilling that juicy fish, first you need to gut and clean it and we’re here to teach you how in just four easy steps.

Before you get started on gutting your fish, you will want to find a flat surface. If you’re in the house this is easy since you can just use the countertop and cover it with newspaper or a cutting board. However, if you’re outside, look for a large flat rock or bank of the waterway that is relatively flat. Make sure you have a good sharp knife like the Rapala 7.5″ Fish ‘n Fillet knife.

1. It is very rare to keep the head of the fish that you catch so the first thing you want to do is find the pectoral fin. This is just on the back side of the head behind the gill. From there, place a sharp knife just behind the fin and cut straight down to cut the head clean off the body of the fish.

2. Next, you’re going to want to find the little hole on the back underside of the fish and insert the tip of a sharp knife in the hole. Slowly slice forward on the underbelly clean through the end where you cut the head off.

3. Now you are ready to remove the innards. Use the sharp tip of your knife to scrape the innards out of the crevice in the spine of the fish. Sometimes this will wash out under running water or if you’re near a natural source, swish the fish in the water a few times.

4. You have made it to the cleaning part! When cleaning a fish, there typically aren’t a lot of big scales that need to be scraped off, especially with trout. There is a natural protective film on the outer part, something we like to call fish slime. This is what makes fish so slippery and hard to pick up. Rub the outside of the fish while rinsing in water to remove this slime and cut off any remaining fins.

And there you have it! Now your fish is ready to be grilled, baked, or fried in your favourite recipe. Or you can freeze your fish to preserve it for a future meal. For more tips on fishing and making sure you have the proper gear for your next fishing trip, visit Triggers and Bows, your source for hunting goods, located at 340 Bishopsgate Road in Burford.