How to filet sheepshead

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This topic contains 25 replies, has 19 voices, and was last updated by ntaylor ntaylor 3 months ago.

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  • #33488

    eric h
    Member

    I was out fishing a couple weeks ago and saw a teen out with his mom fishing, after i fileted my fish i noticed he was still having trouble and was still on the first side of the first fish tearing it up. I went over and fileted them for him and showed him how i do it. Maybe some others would like a few pointers to boneless thick filets.

    First push through fish about half way down, if you cant go thru it all the way its probably the strong rib cage they have, just cut down the fish a little along the back bone till the knife goes all the way thru farely easily

    Cut down the back bone until just before severing the meat from the fish, this will allow the fish to be an anchor later

    Then come back up to where you originally started and slice around the rib cage up to the head just be hind the eye, you shouldn’t have to much resistance just slice the meat as close to the back bone as you can

    Then pull the meat back off the fish and slice thru the skin down the side of the fish (slicing the skin should help you run the knife along the rib cage without cutting bone)


    Once you go all the way thru pull the filet back and cut along the skin, keeping the knife flush with the table

    Once you have done the same to the other side you should have two nice filets

    Now if you ran along the ribs right you wont have any ribs but i think there is a floating rib cuz i usually end up with a small one and there is a little stomach lining where that usually is, cut that chunk of meat off. They also have a little bit of bone along the blood line that can run a couple of inches depending on the size of the fish, make a v cut and remove that also

    And there you go, a thick filet without bones

  • #33490

    Nam Nguyen
    Member

  • #33506

    Method looks good. Same here, but with an electric knife.
    Other than the Popeil Pocket Fisherman, the electric knife is,
    IMO, the fisherman’s best friend!!



  • #33509

    ixolib wrote:

    Method looks good. Same here, but with an electric knife.
    Other than the Popeil Pocket Fisherman, the electric knife is,
    IMO, the fisherman’s best friend!!



    yep!
    good on redfish and grouper too!

  • #33510

    Graham
    Member

    whoa man if PETA saw this………… haha

  • #33532

    Tony
    Member

    Can’t say enough about the electric or cordless rechargeable knives. I still have my old “get out and push” fillet knives but when I clean fish I want it done quickly.

  • #33533

    mike
    Member

    f in sea kittens!

  • #33536

    Mike Worden
    Member

    mwilson3 wrote:

    f in sea kittens!

  • #33538

    mike
    Member

    peta luvs u.
    werd!

  • #33555
    Russell A. Caipen
    Russell A. Caipen
    Participant

    Cool thread. It shows just how little meat you get from even a big sheepie.

  • #33557

    eric h
    Member

    peta has no business in the south, i think its more of a northern and west coast sort of thing anyways. I never met one and they have their work cut out for them if they are gonna be preaching their shtick to a cracker like me.

    Also you do get quite a bit of meat off a sheepy if you do it right, just about the same amount for a snapper of equal size. The key is bringing the knife up behind the eye, that hump is where the thickest meat is.

  • #33558

    Dan Harris
    Member

    Bravo! I caught my first two sheepies last weekend and the fileting process ended up like the texas chainsaw massacre.

    This photo-guide will really help!

    Thanks!

  • #33560

    DanH wrote:

    Bravo! I caught my first two sheepies last weekend and the fileting process ended up like the texas chainsaw massacre.

    This photo-guide will really help!

    Thanks!

  • #33611

    That’s a good basic guide, but you could still finesse a little more meat out of that fish. Good job though especially on the meat in the top of the head.

  • #33615

    Here’s a couple of pics I took a while back before I realized how much meat is back behind the head. These show a very good finesse cut on the backbone and rib cage, however some nice meat is still left behind the head where the pointers are.

    I have since learned to get all that meat out as well.

    TD–You did a much better job on the meat in back of the head.

  • #33616

    Brian
    Participant

    I’m going to add this post to my favs. You answered a question that has long been on my mind. Thanks!

  • #33620

    Lee Weber
    Member

    Another little tip for filleting armor plated fish like sheepies, drum, or triggers:

    When you make the cut behind the gills, angle the knife so that it cuts UNDER the scales rather than trying to saw through them in a vertical position.

    That not only makes the cutting easier but it also keeps the edge of your knife sharper for a longer time.

  • #33675

    stephen
    Participant

    nice
    Shooooooot

    Sheepies are easy.. try a large triggerfish.. or spadefish..

    Great lil tutorial there though.. Im sure it will help alot.

  • #33842

    eric h
    Member

    yeah snookmook i noticed when i was posting the pictures that little hunk of meat above the rib cage, i will probably try and get that the next one i catch, but when you have half a dozen to clean and you are tired from fishing all day it might be easier to forgo that little bit depends how difficult it is

  • #35092

    eric h
    Member

    ping

  • #35258

    Mike
    Participant

    Good tips, thanks. I cleaned a couple sheepies last Saturday night and it wasn’t that easy, by the time I got the 4th one I was tired of fish cleaning. I totally missed the head meat too. I will try your method next time. And I am also proud you can fillet in your kitchen, my wife wouldn’t allow such activity……I mean I wouldnt’do it on my own ….yea that is right I am my own man, do what I want when I want…yea that is it. .

  • #35692

    eric h
    Member

    its not that bad to filet in the kitchen. just get some clorox bleach surface cleaner and whatever carcasses and dirty pprtowels you have throw in a grocery bag and take out to the dumpster right after. keep the fish in the sink till ready to filet, or just find a boat ramp close to you they usually have a cleaning table

  • #35727

    Keith Reeves
    Member

    I fillet my fish backwards. I start at the tail and go to the head. You don’t lose all that meat at the head from starting that way and having to get your blade turned. I only fillet with electric.

  • #211328
    Neil Taylor
    Neil Taylor
    Keymaster

    It is just about that time of year again. This member did a good job demonstrating tips and technique for getting the meat off this species.

    I too cut a narrow area out of the center of each fillet to remove a tiny row of bones.

    For the first timers, be methodical and slow. Two dangers, the knife slipping while trying to cut throw the scales. Danger #2: This fish has protruding spines. Been stabbed at least a dozen times with careless technique by those things.

    Haven’t seen the numbers like I saw a few weeks ago but they will be coming back fast.

  • #211336

    frogbarm
    Participant

    Sheepshead are not like white grunts, still lots of little bones but no reason to filet same as grunts. If you look at fin on back you can see that there is a little gap between fin and where scales start. Start by the head cut all way down back in that spot and work tail back filleting.

    There are regulations about size and amount can catch per day for most sheepshead as well as most inshore snapper.

    I point this out since the “Snow Birds”, I apologize for term, are back and I saw lots of filleted grunt, snapper, schoolmaster type fish that were not more than 8″ in different places in south shore.

    Please check your regulations.

  • #418063
    ntaylor
    ntaylor
    Keymaster

    Photobucket killed everyone’s pictures.    Maybe when it’s time someone can recreate these photos.

    Sheepshead are basically the same as other fish.    One thing that is different.   That row of tiny bones in the center of the fillet.   I cut a small V out of the fillet and it gets rid of all those bones.

    Caution with sheepshead, if you are careless, those spines will make you say Great Googly Moogly.

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