How to Correctly Clean a Fish with Camping Tools

How to Correctly Clean a Fish with Camping Tools

One of the best ways to enjoy a camping adventure is to go fishing. Whether your activities are successful or not isn’t as important as the time you get to spend with family and friends.

If you do catch some fish that you want to bring back for dinner, then you may need to use your camping tools to do the cleaning work. 

That means you need to keep the fish fresh on a stringer until you’re ready to return to the site. Then place the catch in a cooler with ice water to retain the quality and flavor.

Steps to Follow When Cleaning a Fish

1. Scale the fish first.

Always work with one fish at a time when you prepare them for a meal. Hold the head with one hand while using a scaling tool in the other. Use small raking motions that go from tail to head, being cautious around the sharp fin edges. Rinse in water once you have completed this step.

2. Skin the fish if necessary.

Catfish, bullheads, and other bottom-feeding species have thick skin that most people prefer to remove. Cut the sharp spines away, then make a cut behind the head and along the belly fins. While holding the fish by the head, grab the skin by the other as you pull by the tail. Rinse the fish when you are done with this step.

3. Clean and gut the fish.

Insert your cleaning knife into the anus of the fish near the tail. Then slowly slide the blade toward the head, stopping at the base of the gills. You’ll need to open the abdominal cavity with your hands at this point, removing the guts of the fish. Pull them to get them to come out. Some species have a kidney located near their spine that a spoon can get for you. 

If your catch has a dark inner membrane, then you may wish to remove it since the flavor of the fish is oily and a bit bitter with it. Then remove the head if you want by cutting behind the gills. Rinse the internal cavity before proceeding to the next step.

4. Prep the fish for eating.

The fillet method is usually suitable to use when camping. It even negates the need to skin or scale the catch if the fish is large enough. After inserting the knife behind the pectoral fin, turn the knife flat with the sharp edge pointed toward the tail. Use a sawing motion, staying as close to the spine as possible. Then insert the knife between the fish and the skin to make the meat ready for cooking.

Steaking is an option for large fish, salmon, and some other species. You cut perpendicular to the work surface along the entire surface, creating products up to one inch in thickness.

Remember to trim excess fat and bones whenever possible to have a safe eating experience. You don’t need to remove the backbone when steaking, but it does necessitate a careful eating experience. 

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