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How I gut and gill a Snapper

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    Posted: 08 Aug 2018 at 9:34pm
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After filleting a Snapper there is alot of meat left behind, so rather than throw it in the bin I like to give them away to people.
Gutting and gilling the fish leaves the recipient with a clean and ready to cook/smoke/boil frame and head, heres how I do it.

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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote The cook Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Aug 2018 at 11:04pm
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Nice work Coxie my method is very similar.
I'm a touch curious why you don't do this at sea?
Standard practice for me to pull into a sheltered spot on the way home & gut & gill my whole catch.

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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote coxie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Aug 2018 at 7:23am
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I fish from a jetski mate so there is not alot of room to be doing this sort of thing... Might have to see if I can come up with a way of doing it at sea though as it makes sense.
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We do it a little different. 1st a knife with a piont, slip in the poo hole blade pionting to the head.
 As the blade tip goes up towards the head inside and hit the breastplate mic part of the blade. Leaver the tip of the knife against the back bone, and go thru the breast plate.

Quick cut with fish still laying down across the throat.
 this then enables the tip of the knife slice the bottom of the gill away.
 Smaller fish can pull gills and gut out as illustrated but larger fish, the gills can be very abrasive to the hands and the top end of the gills hard to pull away clean.

 So on larger fish, cut the bottom if the gill away then with tip of the knife a good knick, or if lucky slice the top of the gill anchor and pull away.

Gutting thru the breast plate kills the butt to middle of the knife edge very quick.. sSo do this at the end of filleting and skinning, not during.
 And when sharpening the knife (my edges are stroped convex) with the filleting / point about 22 deg and the main blade 30/35 deg.. The 22 deg gives fine 'peel away' but not robust to cutting bones. And the 30/35 deg far more robust to keeping an edge for bpin bones and skinning.

Aski any chef, butcher etc, be it fish lamb , beef , the sweetest most tender meats are next to the bone... ie back strap, chops cheek , wings, fish forehead... 

And another hint.. gutting at sea.. assuming a bait board.. fix a insert into the bait board to raise the floor up. that way you can cut straight into the fish rather than over the edge.
 I leave an 1" or so at the back of the board for sinkers etc.
 I used to have a wooden insert, great, this board have one of those white plastic chopping board trimmed to fit.
 Dont use the plastic chopping boards, they kill the edge on knives very quick... big mistake yet to fix.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote MacSkipper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Aug 2018 at 8:30am
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I find if filleting at home and fish chilled nice and cold is easier to fillet than fresh fish?
I think the flesh is firmer maybe a bit of rigormortis set in?
Good fishing trip nothing breaks, great trip catch fish.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote Fish Addict Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Aug 2018 at 1:53pm
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Have you tried eating the wings Coxie? They are great on the barbie or baked in the oven with some spices for 20 min. Removing them off the frame of a fish is hard on knives however there is an easier way. The link below demonstrates how it's done without cutting through any bones. I found it a bit hard to grasp at first but at around 1.48 into the clip it becomes a bit clearer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGloKICpbOQ&t=12s
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote The cook Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Aug 2018 at 6:39pm
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Originally posted by MacSkipper MacSkipper wrote:

I find if filleting at home and fish chilled nice and cold is easier to fillet than fresh fish?
I think the flesh is firmer maybe a bit of rigormortis set in?

100% right MacSkipper, the idea is in fact for the whole process of rigor mortis to pass. The energy needs to fully dissipate from the fish. Two key element to this with fish temp & time. The quicker you can get the core temp to 0c the better, hence the beauty of a good slurry. At this point the fish sets (rigor), ideally you want to wait a min of 3-4 hours after this for rigor to pass. At this point the fish has set & relaxed (rigor has passed) the fish is firm & tender.
To my mind this is when fish is at is premium.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote smudge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Aug 2018 at 10:57pm
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Originally posted by The cook The cook wrote:

Nice work Coxie my method is very similar.
I'm a touch curious why you don't do this at sea?
Standard practice for me to pull into a sheltered spot on the way home & gut & gill my whole catch.


The Cook, I don't fillet or gut/scale/prepare fish at sea simply because I prefer the nice stable platform that a concrete floor has to offer. On a calm day, maybe the boat is ok for flashing knives around but when you are as awkward as I am there's nothing like having your feet on mother earth to do a good butchering session. I agree the fish needs time for the flesh to set before filleting.

I'm interested on your thoughts about time before serving too The Cook. I prefer my snapper (especially snapper) to age at least a day in the fridge before eating. Do you agree?


Best gurnard fisherman in my street
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Steps Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Aug 2018 at 9:18am
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Working around rigor motis.. never thought of it that way before.
Catch a fish, on the board, gut and fillet straight into a hot pan beside..., allow to rest a few minutes, tender full of taste, excellent.
Catch, yes or nah to gut before bin.. gutting means chilling also from center thu.. home fillet, and in the pan...again very similar if not the same as from hook to pan.

Cook up the following day or days the meat doesnt cook as well , melt in the mouth  texture.. As it is a little more firm, stir fries, butter fish, pies curries etc... anything chicken in particular maybe used in.

I don't fillet or gut/scale/prepare fish at sea simply because I prefer the nice stable platform that a concrete floor has to offer.
 Thats a very good point.. a bigger boat where 3 or 4 ppl at least can walk around certainly changes that.
 But if can do so,, just rip up the gut, pull internals out rinse in the bin.. keeping fish poo/ blood etc out of the fish bin, and the filleting board (s) later certainly makes a huge difference to a clean flavour. Sort of like at meat works, beast is killed , hung, gutted.. then chilled, processed or processed ...
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote MightyBoosh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Aug 2018 at 11:38am
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Originally posted by coxie coxie wrote:

I fish from a jetski mate so there is not alot of room to be doing this sort of thing... Might have to see if I can come up with a way of doing it at sea though as it makes sense.

Have to agree. I scale my fish at sea if I can because it makes such a bloody mess, but working with sharp tools on a bobbing jet ski is no fun!

Anyway, I also save my heads/frames for donation. Have a big box ready to go, all gutted/gilled and fresh frozen. I believe there is a local charity that takes them, so will try there this time.

BTW, I use a pair of heavy duty shears/scissors to make the cut from the anus to the head. Saves dulling knife edges and a bit safer.



It's a good day out when nothing gets broken or lost, and no one gets injured. Fish are a bonus!
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote brmbrm Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Aug 2018 at 7:38pm
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I use snips for the bits where a knife struggles: saves the knife, and saves accidents
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