fillet a fish


Mankind has hunted to provide food on the table for eons. If you want to put your fish on the table, you need to learn how to fillet your fish. Fishing is an enjoyable way to escape to the great outdoors and spend quality time with family and mates. It’s also a rewarding bonus to return home with a few decent fish for the table. You’ll reduce you weekly, fortnightly or monthly grocery bill too.

The only downside to retaining a few fish is the cleaning and preparation that is required. That’s where effective and efficient filleting tools and techniques make the process much more pleasant.

This Quick Guide covers popular and efficient filleting techniques in less than 5 minutes.


Sharp filleting knife: An ultra sharp, dedicated filleting knife makes the task of preparing fish much easier and more efficient. A professional filleting knife will glide through fish flesh with ease, cuts will be neater, and there will be much less wastage.

Sharpening stone: A sharpening stone or file is essential for keeping your knives sharp and in tip-top shape.

Filleting gloves: Filleting gloves are handy for gripping fish and preventing accidental nicks and cuts on your hands. Filleting gloves can also double-up as gloves to handle sharp, spikey or toothy critters.

Filleting board: Purpose designed Filleting boards incorporate a clamp to keep slippery fish still and in position for filleting.

Fish scaler: A fish scaler is a fast and safe tool for removing fish scales.


The best filleting outcome is to remove as much flesh as possible whilst minimising mess. It needs to be a fast, efficient, and effective technique, especially when the catch is substantial.

The technique employed by most seasoned and professional anglers is to slice off the shoulders and flanks of fish and then skin the fillets. This technique completely negates the mess of scaling and gutting and is the best method for preparing boneless fillets.

Check out this video for a step-by-step guide to filleting fish. This universal filleting technique provides an efficient and relatively mess free way to fillet medium to large fish.


If you intend to cook a fish whole on the barbeque, bake it in the oven, or fry it on a pan, it may be necessary to gut and scale your fish. This approach creates more mess than filleting and is most suited to pan size fish species. Try to gut your fish on the water to avoid unnecessary odours and wastage. The gut can also be a useful bait or berley.

Here is a quick and efficient way to scale, gut, and gill common panfish.


Leather Jackets are a common and tasty fish species in Australian waters. What makes them very appealing is that they can be prepared for cooking with a quick and simple method. Their leather-like skin does not possess typical fish scales and can easily be removed without a mess.

Here’s a great example of how to gut and skin a leather jacket in less than one minute.


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Peter Hollingsworth

Peter has been fishing all around Australia since he was a boy. He loves camping, fishing and kayak fishing.