6

I've caught a fish and want to gut it (remove it's insides ready to eat/keep). How do I do this?

Where do I cut? What needs to be removed, etc?

8

This varies slightly from fish to fish (for example gutting a skate is different to gutting a pollock) but for a typical "fish shaped fish" o_O

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You want to have a very sharp flexible knife. It's easier to ensure the fish is dead (though not necccasry, commerical fisherman will often gut a live fish). If it's not dead, stun it be hitting it hard on the back of the head using a cosh of some kind, this will stun or kill the fish (depening on how hard you hit it!).

To gut a typical fish you want to turn it upside down and locate the anus (towards the back there should be a small hole):

      /"*._         _
  .-*'`    `*-.._.-'/
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                 ^
          about here

This is there you want to cut towards. You start at the head. Locate the point where the gill slits join or failing that simply the flesh under the jaw bone:

      /"*._         _
  .-*'`    `*-.._.-'/
< * ))     ,       ( 
  `*-._`._(__.--*"`.\
    ^             
    about here      

You want to insert the tip of your knife into this flesh (at the head end) about 0.5cm. Hold the fish firmly with other hand. Slide the knife all the way down the underside of the fish opening up the underneath of the fish until you reach the anus (which you located earlier). The sharper the knife the easier this will be. Be careful not to cut your hand you only need to insert the tip of the knife so don't go slashing all the way though the fish!

You should now have a cavity the whole length of the underside of the fish. Insert your index finger into the cavity at the head end, and basically try and hook the innards out. No use being gently here you hant to get a hold of the guts and give them a good pull. Remove anything that isn't flesh. Any blood should be rinsed out (in a river or under a running tap).

You want the cavity to be clean and bloodless. Any guts, swim bladders, etc. should be discarded (throw these into the river, lake or sea where they will be eaten by other animals).

For flat fish the process is the same but the cavity is located in a different place (typically) the side of the fish not the underside. The above should be applicible to most "standard shaped" fish.

  • 1
    After stunning, bleed fish before gutting to improve taste. Gutting live fish is animal cruelty, they have been proven to be sentient and feel pain. Discarding the guts in a river/lake/sea is illegal in some jurisdictions, and unacceptable in many more. – user5330 Dec 24 '16 at 1:22

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