How to Clean a Saltwater Fish

How to Clean a Saltwater Fish
Saltwater fishing is an activity with a wide range of possibility, from hooking a swordfish out of a motor boat to angling for a humbler catch off a local pier. However, it always involves gutting and cleaning the fish--if keeping it, taking it home and putting it on the dinner table happens to be on the agenda.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Knife
  • Knife
Step 1
Set the fish on a flat, stable and clean surface. If the fish has scales, remove them by holding the tail, and then running a knife along the body from the tail to the gills, against the grain of the scales. Then flip it over and repeat the descaling on the other side. Keep in mind not all saltwater fish have scales. Sharks, for example, have skin.
Step 2
Stick the knife into the belly at a point near the tail, and open it up to a point near the gills.
Step 3
Reach into the fish and pull out the innards. Use the knife to cut out anything that won't come out easily, but be careful and mind your own fingers.
Step 4
Look inside for any cartilage that might be left in the belly, and either cut or pull this out. Also try to get out the big, dark vein that is running along the spine, if there is one. Then use clean water to rinse the empty cavity inside the fish.
Step 5
Cut off the fins, and then the head from behind the gills, and your fish should be ready for cooking.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

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