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We Didn't Used To Waste Fish

Old 09-03-2020, 09:15 AM
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Default We Didn't Used To Waste Fish

No, we didn't used to waste the fish we caught and every scrap of meat was eaten off the backbone. It seems nowadays most of the fish that are caught gets filleted and I am old enough to remember when we didn't fillet any fish. I recall the very day that a friend of my dad had gone up north and caught a bunch of Northern Pike. He had them on dry ice and brought them to show my dad what they were doing up north and calling it 'Filleting." I too watched as this friend showed us how it worked and we were in awe of how great it was. During the rest of my dad's life everything was filleted and he could fillet a hundred Bluegills in very short order, (I never had the patience) be he fillets those little fish and pickled and canned a many of them. Before we learned about this fillet deal we scaled our fish and gutted them, deep frying the whole fish to put on the plate. We would love the crunchy corn meal and first bite off the tips of the tail. Then with a fork or fingers we removed the fins and ate the first side of the fish down to the backbone. We then pulled the backbone neatly out and bare of any meat as we ate the rest of the fish. The only thing left on the plate was the bare backbone and a couple fins, and some of the tail.

The meat of a fish between the backbone is especially sweet and good tasting but now I watch people fillet their fish and throw all that good meat away. It's such a waste and I was wondering if any of you still eat the whole fish? I think I will start doing that on some of the smaller species like Mangs etc. Here is a great way to remove the scales:
Old 09-03-2020, 09:19 AM
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When I fillet a fish you can see through it. There is nothing left but membrane along the backbone so I don't know what you're talking about leaving meat behind.
Old 09-03-2020, 09:52 AM
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I think maybe not everyone is so professional as you because I see a lot of people filleting fish and leaving most of the meat behind. Maybe you could send a couple of photos of the fish you fillet so we can all learn from it. You might be one of those people who are afraid to try something new. When you buy a ribeye with the bone in and one with no bone many people can tell a big difference in the taste. You probably don't notice any difference because everyone is different I suppose. Please send pics as soon as possible if you ever catch anything.
Old 09-03-2020, 09:56 AM
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Eat the belly....
Old 09-03-2020, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by SWF Pontoon Angler View Post
I think maybe not everyone is so professional as you because I see a lot of people filleting fish and leaving most of the meat behind. Maybe you could send a couple of photos of the fish you fillet so we can all learn from it. You might be one of those people who are afraid to try something new. When you buy a ribeye with the bone in and one with no bone many people can tell a big difference in the taste. You probably don't notice any difference because everyone is different I suppose. Please send pics as soon as possible if you ever catch anything.
You'd be wrong. I (and my Dad) grew up eating bluegills fried whole. Now both of us fillet everything because it is a pain in the ass dealing with bones for a marginal improvement in taste. I don't generally take pictures after cleaning fish, and have been releasing most of mine lately but I'll take a picture just for you next time.

Also most of the species I catch minimum size limits are too big to cook whole anyway. Sounds like you should try catching bigger fish.
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Old 09-03-2020, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by N2theblue View Post
You'd be wrong. I (and my Dad) grew up eating bluegills fried whole. Now both of us fillet everything because it is a pain in the ass dealing with bones for a marginal improvement in taste. I don't generally take pictures after cleaning fish, and have been releasing most of mine lately but I'll take a picture just for you next time.

Also most of the species I catch minimum size limits are too big to cook whole anyway. Sounds like you should try catching bigger fish.
Fishing the flats of SW Florida right now we have a minimal choice of what huge fish we can catch and keep. What huge fish do you catch and keep on the flats that are legal? Maybe where you live you can keep everything? I'll wait for you pics. Maybe you should make a Youtube video to help many of the rest of us out.
Old 09-03-2020, 10:22 AM
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I like to fry the whole fish when the size small enough to do so. The would include catfish, croaker, bass, bream.
Old 09-03-2020, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by SWF Pontoon Angler View Post
I think maybe not everyone is so professional as you because I see a lot of people filleting fish and leaving most of the meat behind. Maybe you could send a couple of photos of the fish you fillet so we can all learn from it. You might be one of those people who are afraid to try something new. When you buy a ribeye with the bone in and one with no bone many people can tell a big difference in the taste. You probably don't notice any difference because everyone is different I suppose. Please send pics as soon as possible if you ever catch anything.
There is no difference in taste, that is a myth. Have you ever compared the two side by side. I have done it myself.

https://amazingribs.com/technique-an...ke-meat-better

https://www.seriouseats.com/2013/03/...meat-beef.html

Old 09-03-2020, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by MTSkibum View Post
There is no difference in taste, that is a myth. Have you ever compared the two side by side. I have done it myself.

https://amazingribs.com/technique-an...ke-meat-better

https://www.seriouseats.com/2013/03/...meat-beef.html
Yes, I know they say it's a myth and maybe it's just in my head but I really think steak and fish do taste better with the bone in.
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Old 09-03-2020, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by pooldoo73 View Post
I like to fry the whole fish when the size small enough to do so. The would include catfish, croaker, bass, bream.
Yep, and some people even eat the skin on small fiddler cats. I've done it a time or two but can't get over the thought of it even though I love beef tongue, squirrel, rabbit, turtle, and pig brains.
Old 09-03-2020, 10:48 AM
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It kills me when I see the charters come in, filet the fish for their customers and throw everything else overboard.
Old 09-03-2020, 05:41 PM
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At Fort Pierce ramp we have some hatian ladies who sit at the cutting table all day next to a big ice chest where they collect every-bodies heads and carcasses.
Old 09-03-2020, 06:00 PM
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Not all the time. Best whole fish experience is a big mutton or ARS.

Here are a couple from keys trip two weeks ago.



With bigger grouper we cut out the cheeks and collar like I think most people do, but whole fish are generally snapper.
Old 09-03-2020, 06:11 PM
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Very common dish at mexican is restaurants is a whole fried tilapia. We can save the tilapia debate for another conversation but it is damn good.

I have been experimenting lately with scaling, gutting and beheading surf whiting before frying whole. Don’t always get into ones that are big enough to fillet and there is no size or bag limit. Decent results so far but still perfecting cook time and temp. I usually save the backbone from kings and offshore fish to make chowder and bisque. There really isn’t enough meat left on the carcass to lose sleep over on reds, trout and drum though.
Old 09-03-2020, 06:23 PM
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It drives my Dad crazy when he watches me clean fish and throw out the rib cages, he will scoop them up when I’m not looking. Says my grandpa would be rolling over in his grave, just doesn’t sit well for the Florida Cracker in him.
Old 09-03-2020, 09:42 PM
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The best thing about “The good ‘ol days” is that their gone. My grandma used to make lye soap and hominy. I don’t miss it. I don’t miss floor furnaces, swamp coolers or carburated engines either. I also don’t miss eating whole fried catfish at my grandparents house with the head still attached and filled with tiny bones. I fillet mine. Not always perfectly, but I don’t waste much. If I couldn’t fillet them I’d catch them just for sport because I wouldn’t eat them otherwise. The main difference is, my Granddad enjoyed catching fish but did it for food. I love catching fish and the food value is just an added bonus.
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Old 09-04-2020, 12:05 AM
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I leave a good bit behind when I fillet wahoo. Then break the backbone into 4-5 pieces, slat & pepper it, throw it on the grill with some smoldering fruit wood. Ono Bacon!
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Old 09-04-2020, 05:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Lone Ono View Post
I leave a good bit behind when I fillet wahoo. Then break the backbone into 4-5 pieces, slat & pepper it, throw it on the grill with some smoldering fruit wood. Ono Bacon!
Yes, same way if you like mullet deep fried fillets, do the back bones too, the meat tastes the best.
Old 09-04-2020, 05:35 AM
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Originally Posted by 7hetexsan View Post
The best thing about “The good ‘ol days” is that their gone. My grandma used to make lye soap and hominy. I don’t miss it. I don’t miss floor furnaces, swamp coolers or carburated engines either. I also don’t miss eating whole fried catfish at my grandparents house with the head still attached and filled with tiny bones. I fillet mine. Not always perfectly, but I don’t waste much. If I couldn’t fillet them I’d catch them just for sport because I wouldn’t eat them otherwise. The main difference is, my Granddad enjoyed catching fish but did it for food. I love catching fish and the food value is just an added bonus.
Depends on your tastes, I like fish as much or more than chicken, pork, or beef.
Old 09-04-2020, 05:38 AM
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Originally Posted by EricF View Post
Not all the time. Best whole fish experience is a big mutton or ARS.

Here are a couple from keys trip two weeks ago.



With bigger grouper we cut out the cheeks and collar like I think most people do, but whole fish are generally snapper.
You're doing great, I love it. You know what you're doing!

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