6 Tips for Cooking Fresh Fish for the First Time

Most people cook fish that they purchase at a store, but this fish is usually not too fresh. When you do this yourself, you get food as nature intended. The following are six tips to prepare and cook fresh fish.

1. Bonking

The first thing you have to do is prep your fish, and that starts before you even get to the kitchen. It starts when you catch your fish. The last thing you want is for the animal to suffer longer than it needs to. This is the reason you’ll need to bonk your fish the moment you remove the hook. To do this, you’ll need a stick, a rock, or some other kind of bonking tool, which you should apply between the eyes. This should render the creature unconscious.

2. Bleeding it Out

Right after rendering the fish unconscious, you want to bleed it out. You want to do this as quickly as you can. This step will help prevent your food from spoiling.

You probably still have more fishing to do, so preventing spoilage is important. To bleed the fish out, you want to use game shears to cut through the gills. Make sure you do so on both sides. If you don’t have these types of shears, you can just use a knife, but most folks already have their fishing gear ready. Place the fish back into the water until the water flows out. Massage the fish along its back to speed the process up. Put the fish back into your freezer box afterward.

3. Scales and Skin

Now, this tip depends on the type of fish you have. Those who caught fish with smooth scales or thin skin don’t have to do anything. Trout is like that, and you can cook trout with the skin and scales. Fish with thicker skin or rough scales can’t be cooked as is. This includes catfish or salmon. Do this before you remove any innards. If you want to remove scales, just run the back of your knife on the scales from the tail to the head. Skinning can be left until you’re done filleting the fish.

4. Cutting the Belly

The next step to take before cooking freshly caught fish is removing the innards, which starts with cutting the fish’s belly. You’ll want to start by placing your fish on a cutting board. Grab a sharp knife and hold your fish firmly on the board. Run the knife across the belly, starting from the anus to the neck. Make sure you don’t cut too deep. You don’t want to poke holes through any of those organs.

5. Removing the Innards

Reach right in and grab those innards with your fingers. Resist the urge to use a tool or a fork because you might end up puncturing the organs. Start near the neck area and continue pulling stuff out as you keep going. Throw everything away and rinse the inside of the belly with water.

6. Cooking the Fish

The last thing you have to worry about is cooking your fish. This part is pretty straightforward. You can do anything you can think of at this point. You can fry or bake it. You can cut the fish up and fillet it. In essence, you’ve already processed the fish. You can just proceed as you would normally if you bought fish from the store.

Hopefully, these tips make it easy enough to get your fish ready to cook and eat it.