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How to Fillet a Smallmouth Bass with No Bones - Smallmouth Bass Cleaning

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Published on Dec 17, 2007

Hello folks, this week we show you how to quickly and easily fillet a smallmouth bass into boneless fillets.

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This method will work for any type of bass, whether it be small mouth, large mouth, striped, or sea bass.

I will also show you some tips on how to make your fillet taste better.

To start, make an incision behind the neck on a slight angle towards the head of the fish. Flip the fish and do the same thing on the other side. Then run your knife along the inside of the top fin, all the way to the back of the fish. Then turn the fish and do the same thing on the other side.

A Bass has one bone right up the middle and a rib cage. So you can take your knife and just run it along the top bone where you made your cut and around the rib cage. Once you get around the rib cage, just poke the knife through so it sticks out the bottom of the fish and bring it right along to the back of the tail until that side of your fillet is loose.

Do not remove the fillet!

It will helps balance out your fish and allows you to remove the other fillet much more easily. If you take the fillet off you'll find that, while removing the second fillet, you'll end up cutting into the ribs instead of along them.
So leave the fillet, flip the fish, and cut around the ribs, poke the knife through and bring it right along to the back of the tail until that side of your fillet is loose.

Now you can remove your fillets. Spin the fish and starting at your very first incision, move your knife around the ribcage and then down the side of your ribcage to completely remove the fillet. Repeat this step on the other side. This way there should be no bones in your meat.

So now that you have your fillets, typically you would run your knife along between the skin and the fillet to remove the skin. However for this one I'm going to stay off the skin about 1/16th of an inch, leaving a little bit of meat on the skin. This meat is the dark muscle meat of the fish and it doesn't taste very good.

You can see that I've only left one little strip of dark muscle meat and all the rest has been removed. You should remove that dark muscle meat from any fish that you clean, especially blue fish, as the fillet will taste much better without it.

If you end up with a fillet that has a lot of blood in it, make sure you wash it very very well and remove as much blood as you can; it will taste ten times better.

One last thing to do is to remove some of the fat. It's the little bits of white, discoloured meat on the edges of your fillet. You'll find it along the belly and along the top and you can just cut that off.

Fish it very healthy and they do recommend eating it once or twice a week. Bon appetit!

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As always until next time, good luck and good fishin'!

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