Best New Fish Filleting Trick
From In-Fisherman Editor In Chief Doug Stange:
Shooting television footage on Manitoba’s Winnipeg River near Pine Falls one year with Kenora, Ontario, guide and former Professional Walleye Trail angler Larry Snow, we got to talking about cleaning walleyes. Snow told me that he’s cleaned thousands and thousands over the years. I told him that I’d cleaned a few myself—told him I could fillet a fish perfectly in about 25 seconds. “I can do one in 18,” he said.
Part of Snow’s secret (he uses a regular Rapala fillet knife) is something I’d never seen before. Most of us remove the fillet, then flip it skin-side-down and ribs up to remove the rib bones. Snow keeps the skin side up, placing the heel of his hand on the middle of the rib cage, pressing down slightly. This makes the leading edge (the top edge) of the rib cage stick out. As he slides the knife under the fillet, it naturally catches the edge of the rib cage, and the knife slides perfectly over the cage to remove it. It’s almost mistake proof—a perfectly clean rib removal every time.
It’s one of only a few new things anyone’s showed me about filleting fish in 40 years. The technique works modestly well with perch, not at all with pike. You’ll have to experiment with other species.