One of the most popular inshore gamefish of the southern states is the redfish. Redfish are extremely common and can be caught in a variety of ways. Both charter boats and recreational fishermen target red drum not only because of the fight but also because of their tastiness. The question often exists how do you fillet a redfish?

Should You Keep Redfish

Lets first start out by understanding why you would want to keep redfish for your next meal:

Flavor and Texture

Freshly caught fish, in general, have much better flavor and texture than buying them at a grocery store or fish market.

The flavor of a redfish fillet is commonly described as being mild and sweet. 

As far as the texture is concerned, it is medium to firm and slightly flaky. 

Lots of Cooking Options

Redfish can be cooked in various ways, including grilling, frying, sauteing, baking, and many more. Nobody really wants to cook redfish the same way everytime. Luckily you won’t have to with the number of great options you have here.

Filleting a Redfish: Everything you need to know

Filleting a redfish is not difficult, but there are certain concepts and ideas that you must have in place before you start. Always be sure that you are following these steps so that you can get the best tasting and largest piece of meat when you fillet the fish.

Legal Limits Are Important

First, make sure that the fish you are keeping are of legal size and in season. This is not something that you want to mess around with because you could lose your ability to fish for another redfish if you get caught.

Prepare Before You Start The Fillet

Have zip-lock plastic bags available for the prepared fillets. Some prefer to wear gloves to help avoid cuts and have a better grip on the fish. In addition you will avoid that lovely redfish smell that may stick around for quite some time without the gloves on.

Sharp Knife

Sharpen a fillet knife before starting. If your knife is not sharp enough you risk damaging the fish and your hands. It only takes a second to properly prepare a knife to fillet your redfish, this is worth the time.

Steps To Get Bone Free Redfish Fillets:

Depending on the size of your redfish and the area that you have to prepare it, the process for filleting your redfish may vary. However here are some of the key steps you can take to make sure that it is done properly.

Ensure the fish is no longer alive for the sake of the fish and avoid you getting hurt while preparing it.

It’s not a race! The job can be done slowly for safety and quality. 

Position the fish so that the top fin is facing towards you. Cut behind the gill plate down to the backbone from the top of the head to the belly of the fish.

In the area that the cut was made near the head, insert the knife’s tip and work the blade along the back of the fish towards the tail. Be sure the knife is running on the right side of the rib cage or the top side so you will feel the bones beneath it. 

Continue to work the knife deeper but remain outside of the rib cage again, cutting from head to tail. 

Once you feel the end of the rib cage near the middle to end portion of the fish, push the blade completely through.

Follow the spine from the rib cage back out to the tail with the blade completely through. 

Flip the fish so that the belly is facing towards you. Just like step one, repeat by cutting down to the backbone from top to bottom by the head. 

Then you will Insert the knife at the point near the head where the last cut was made.

Again follow the spine down to the rear of the rib cage but this time on the opposite side of the spine. 

When you are at the end of the rib cage, push the knife through the fish and follow the bones to the tail.

On each side, carefully run the blade along the rib cage to remove the meat portion away from the bones. Do this on until each fillet falls away from the body. 

Discard the body of the fish.

To remove the skin, start at the tail portion of the fillet and slide your knife between the meat and the skin.

Rinse the cleaned fillets and check for any bones.

These are the steps to repeat for each fish and drop the fillets into a zip lock back that is chilled in ice.

Once you have the process down, it becomes quick with repetition. Here is a video to watch the steps. You will soon look like a pro lining up fish on the fillet table and turn them into tasty fillets in no time at all. Take a look at recipes for your favorite cooking methods. You can even mix and match. Enjoy the fresh catch.