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Old 04-06-2004, 12:38 PM   #1
eyeFISH
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Default FILLET-O-FISH (pics)

Someone asked me to post step by step instructions on the eyeFISH method of filleting a salmon/steelhead that I had posted on the PP Board. Wish I had a fresh springer to demonstrate with, but a vacuum-frozen Kenai River sockeye from last summer will have to do (yeah, planked sockeye for dinner tonight!) This method works for a fish in the round (ungutted) or one that has been cleaned. The demo is on a 9# sockeye minus head and guts:

1) Make a long deep cut down the lateral line right down to the spine, then several cross cuts, depending on the size of the fish.




2) Start on the tail end, and begin removing fillets by sweeping your knife from the spine toward either the belly or the back. Keep your knife on the bones and turn the piece as you go.






3) Keep going in similar fashion, removing each piece while working your way toward the head end of the fish.









4) Flip it over and do it all over again.






5) You should end up with a featherweight carcass that is nearly transparent, except for the meat between the first 10-12 ribs which are sort of flattened. It is impossible to salvage this meat with a fillet knife alone.... gotta cook up the carcass and pick it out with chop sticks.






6) Here's the finished product. As you can see, there is VERY little waste with this method. Some guys may not like the fact that you don't end up with one intact fillet per side, but honestly, who can eat an entire fillet all by himself... especially when you are cutting something as big as a 50# king? This method gives you nice generous dinner-sized portions to satisfy the largest of appetites.



Give it a try! You'll be surprised at how easy and reproducible this method can be.

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Old 10-10-2004, 05:24 PM   #2
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Default Re: FILLET-O-FISH (pics)

Impressive. I wish I had noticed this posting before, rather than after salmon season. Can't wait to try it out next year.
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Old 10-11-2004, 10:12 AM   #3
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Default Re: FILLET-O-FISH (pics)

I have used this method since I saw it earlier in the year for cutting up salmon to use for canning. It's been a great way to go, and when I tell peolpe about it I get to introduce them to IFish and tell them where they can find their own pictorial on how it's done!!!

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Old 01-01-2005, 03:49 PM   #4
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Default Re: FILLET-O-FISH (pics)

Nice outcome. Can't wait to give it a try. Just curious what make is your knife.
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Old 01-01-2005, 04:25 PM   #5
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Default Re: FILLET-O-FISH (pics)

I also have been using this method ever since eyeFISH posted it on the board back earlier this year. There is no quicker or simpler method to filleting a fish! Thanks again for the tip

-jokester
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Old 01-01-2005, 08:42 PM   #6
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Default Re: FILLET-O-FISH (pics)

Hey aaron how can you use this method you never catch any fish! hahahaha
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Old 01-02-2005, 09:48 AM   #7
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Default Re: FILLET-O-FISH (pics)

Quote:
Hey aaron how can you use this method you never catch any fish! hahahaha
HEY...I resemble that remark :grin:

-jokester
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Old 01-02-2005, 10:18 AM   #8
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Default Re: FILLET-O-FISH (pics)

Yeah Aaron so Do I brother. Rp
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Old 01-02-2005, 10:20 PM   #9
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Default Re: FILLET-O-FISH (pics)

Thanks, I think this way is the best to fillet. Seems to be less waste of meat. Now that I have a boat to go get 'em.... :grin:judyfish99
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Old 01-03-2005, 02:13 PM   #10
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Default Re: FILLET-O-FISH (pics)

Impressive, most impressive. I may finally be able to cut some fish without butchering it. Thanks.

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Old 01-03-2005, 09:25 PM   #11
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Default Re: FILLET-O-FISH (pics)

thanks for the pics of how to do it, that helps a lot. maybe next time i wont mess it up as bad as i have in the past.
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Old 01-04-2005, 12:18 PM   #12
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Default Re: FILLET-O-FISH (pics)

Thanks for the pics. That looks far easier then the way i'm doing it now. Personally i like the idea of having smaller filets to cook up, seeing how my kids don't seem to enjoy fish the way my wife and i do. Thanks again
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Old 01-06-2005, 11:36 AM   #13
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Default Re: FILLET-O-FISH (pics)

After I read eyefish's initial post about this, i tried it on some on some twentysomething lb nooks and i'll tell you they came out perfect. I did the crosscuts in sizes that I wanted for serving sizes of smoke/grill sections. Easy, very little waste and the best part was that even a novice could do it...thanks, great technique!
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Old 01-07-2005, 05:50 PM   #14
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Default Re: FILLET-O-FISH (pics)

Thanks for the great explanation, I do better with pictures. Did this method Last year and worked great.
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Old 01-08-2005, 09:58 PM   #15
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Default Re: FILLET-O-FISH (pics)

That`s great! I have used this method twice now. I love it!
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Old 06-11-2005, 11:56 AM   #16
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Default Re: FILLET-O-FISH (pics)

great schooling Thanks
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Old 06-20-2005, 09:47 PM   #17
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Default Re: FILLET-O-FISH (pics)

I tried this out on a couple of fresh summer steelys the past week. All I can say is WOW! This method is so easy and results in almost zero waste.

Thanks for the wicked post.
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Old 06-21-2005, 08:53 AM   #18
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Old 06-23-2005, 04:10 PM   #19
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Default Re: FILLET-O-FISH (pics)

I tryed to fillet a steelhead once what a disaster. I just fillet the salmon the wife caught! Oh my gosh to easy I'll never do it any other way again. Thanks again for showing us how to do it the easy way!
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Old 02-10-2006, 11:35 AM   #20
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Default Re: FILLET-O-FISH (pics)

Wow I've never seen it done that way before. I'll be trying that method on my next fish. Thanks.
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Old 02-10-2006, 04:23 PM   #21
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Default Re: FILLET-O-FISH (pics)

Great job in describing and illustrating...I'm anxious to give this a try. Two questions for those who have used this method thus far...

1. no mention made of removal of the pin hooks...presume this is being done at some point?

2. in the case with a frozen fish, as used in the illustration...would think that it might work a little better if the fish isn't totally thawed out. has that been the case?
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Old 02-10-2006, 06:00 PM   #22
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Default Re: FILLET-O-FISH (pics)

I did it with a fresh fish. It worked like a dream. I don't worry about pin bones until I'm getting ready to eat it. Too lazy to pull the bones out before it's cooked. I don't think I'll do it any other way unless I need a whole fillet. The part I like the best is they are the perfect size and shape for smoking.
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Old 02-13-2006, 11:23 PM   #23
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Thanks....great post.
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Old 04-01-2006, 07:25 PM   #24
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boy this is sure a timely article, i never was satisfied the way i fillet a fish this way looks so much easier, i got a nice springer today an just cut it up in chunks wish i would of known this method, cant wait to try it on my next fish , thank you for sharing your way of cutting up fish.
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Old 04-01-2006, 08:36 PM   #25
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WOW!! Wish I'd seen that earlier today. That's just plain NNNNiiiiiice.

Gonna try it ..... Hopefully soon!!


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Old 04-02-2006, 04:10 PM   #26
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Let's SEE , an critical review of the EYEFISH method. Slash, slice, bam, and a boom..... thirds of halves on each side. Total time 1.02 minutes. I will give that a 9.999999999999999989. I see the light.


Well that is a salmon in '12 Easy Pieces', plus soup bones.








Never mind, that is a 10.
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Old 04-02-2006, 07:48 PM   #27
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Yum.
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Old 04-03-2006, 10:05 PM   #28
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Great idea and pics especially for bigger fish. Thanks Doc
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Old 04-05-2006, 09:12 PM   #29
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Nice pics.
Thanks.
Another new method I'll have to try out!
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Old 04-11-2006, 06:10 PM   #30
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Thanks for the great tip!

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Old 04-11-2006, 07:43 PM   #31
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Default Re: FILLET-O-FISH (pics)

I love it. It should work really well for smoking.
It will give me something show my fellow fishing crew.
Thanks for the great post.
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Old 04-16-2006, 10:14 PM   #32
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Great tip Im learning a lot of great stuff here on IFish
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Old 04-24-2006, 09:26 AM   #33
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Thank you most exellent post...clear concise AND with pictures.....

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Old 04-25-2006, 08:58 PM   #34
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Default Re: FILLET-O-FISH (pics)

Let see... I just got home, I got 2 springers sitting next to my laptop here on my kitchen butcher block.

Thanks for the post!!
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Old 05-07-2006, 11:49 AM   #35
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Much easier for an amateur like me to pick the carcass clean. Tried it on a springer last week. Thanks.
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Old 04-23-2009, 11:51 PM   #36
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Hard to believe the original thread is now over FIVE years old. This was actually one of my first mega pic-posts on this board when I first joined.

It's overdue for a little freshening up.

So here's an even more detailed series of pics on a big fall king, start to finish, including my hands in the pics to better show the angle of approach for the various steps.

Quote:
This series of instructional pics was first published in Salmon Trout Steelheader, May 2005. Photo credit for the fillet series goes to my oldest daughter ChiefGillRipper.
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Fresh caught




Gutted and gilled




1. Position the fish so that the tail is on the same side as your dominant hand (the one holding the fillet knife). Start by making a long sweeping horizontal cut along the lateral line from just behind the gill plate all the way down to the tail. The lateral line is in exact alignment with the spine. Make sure the blade goes deep to the spine itself.


2. Next make several vertical cross-cuts from the back to the belly. Start with a slightly diagonal one just behind the bony collar/pectoral fin and finish with one at the tail wrist. The total number of cross-cuts depends on the size of the fish. Salmon under 15 pounds should be divided in three sections, 20-35 pounders will need four sections (as in this 33 pound demo chinook), and anything over 40 pounds is best sectioned into five. Now is also a good time to remove a small belly strip containing the ventral fin.


3. Now its time to remove the fillets one section at a time. Place your blade deep in the long horizontal groove in the tail section tight against the spine. Make a sweeping cut toward the anal fin, keeping the blade tight against the bones. Turn the piece with your other hand as you sweep the blade so you can see exactly where you are cutting. To finish, pull slightly on the piece to apply tension to the hinging skin, and with one sweeping cut through the skin, remove the piece from the carcass.


Preparatory lateral and vertical cuts




Proper knife angle for sweeping against the bones




Cutting the skin to release the fillet



4. Successive pieces are removed from the carcass in similar fashion, starting at the spine and sweeping the blade toward either the belly or the back, following the natural sweptback contour of the ribs and spine bones. Remember, keep the knife edge tight against the bones.


Removing the next piece




And the next....




More than halfway there....




Last belly piece



5. Dont forget to salvage the collar (my favorite piece of the fish). Release it by making a flat undermining cut parallel to the spine toward the head (yes there are some bones to crunch through), followed by a deep diagonal cut from the upper corner of the gillplate to the top of the head (right at the borderline between naked head skin and scaled body skin).



Don't forget to remove that collar! MMMM... my favorite piece!




First side finished





6. Youre halfway there! Turn the fish over and just repeat the entire process. After making the preparatory horizontal and vertical cuts, I remove the collar piece first, then move on to the fillet sections, starting at the tail and working forward. Having the collar out of the way allows the spine to rest flatter against your working surface, making it much easier to remove the final back section.


Flip it over and repeat




Second side finished!




Featherweight carcass, side view....




Featherweight carcass, belly view....




GROCERIES!




Gotta love those fall colors in the PNW!


A considerable amount of time, talent, and treasure is invested to ensure success in catching our favorite salmon species. When one is fortunate enough to finally bring home some chrome for the table, proper care of fresh-caught fish is a must. Equally important, however, is how that fish is cut so as to minimize waste and literally get the most bang for the buck. This is a very simple and highly reproducible fillet method for salmon and steelhead that results in maximum meat yield, leaving behind a nearly transparent featherweight carcass.


Some guys may not like the fact that they don't end up with one intact fillet per side. But honestly, who can eat an entire fillet all by himself... especially when cutting something as big as a 35-45 pound king? This method gives you nice generous dinner-sized portions to satisfy the largest of appetites. In fact on any king bigger than 20 pounds, the back sections are so thick that I cross-cut them into inch-thick triangular steaks.

This method does not require a long rigid fillet knife to process a big fish. In fact, I prefer a shorter 6 blade with a little more flex to better follow the contour of the bones. The same knife can be used whether cutting a hatchery brat or a bonafide hawg. Another advantage to this technique is that it saves your knife edge from having to cut through all the rib bones at the spine, as is common with a standard fillet method. The only bones you will be cutting through are the finer pin bones in the back sections ahead of the dorsal.

I have yet to discover any another fillet method that can make an absolute beginner feel like an expert on the first try. If you are an experienced fish cutter, you will amaze even yourself at how virtually nothing is wasted with this technique. Give it a try. You will not be disappointed.
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