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Cleaning Fish- Freshwater Fishing

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Tools Needed To Filet Fish
Tools Needed for Fileting

Knife, flat table and sharpening tools are needed

Ronnie Garrison
I ate fish often while growing up. Most were small bream and cats caught in local ponds. After I got married, Linda and I ate fish a lot - out of economic need. We would fish for bass during the day but release all them and run trot lines at night for cats. Then I learned to filet bass and now filet everything I catch. Filets are much better to me than fish cleaned any other way.

Fileting fish is fairly easy. Following is a step by step process that works for me.

1. Catch a fish. I prefer bass of about 1 1/2 pounds and never keep bass over three pounds, letting the bigger ones go to catch again. You can filet any fish but bigger bream and crappie are better. Hybrids from 1/2 to three pounds are good, too.

2. Ice fish down over night. Fish left on ice overnight produce bloodless filets the next day and are much less "fishy" tasting, I think. Fish fileted and fried on the lake bank right after catching them are best, but if I am going to wait till I get home to clean them I always ice them down.

3. Get a good filet knife, sharpen it and find a flat table to use. The picture below shows my set-up with a board across a trash can. I like a big filet knife and I sharpen it just before starting. Many people use electric knives and they work well, but I often cut thru the backbone when I use one and hate cleaning them!

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