Kayak Fishing Ultimate Resource

Thursday, 19 July 2018 10:53

Processing Your Own Fish

Written by
Rate this item
(1 Vote)

Few things in life can compare to the satisfaction of relaxing around a campfire at the end of a day of great kayak fishing and enjoying your catch, preferably with some good friends. However, before the fish hits the grill you first have to catch it and process it of course.

Sponsored Post: Preparing a fish in the great outdoors works a little differently than when done in your well stocked kitchen, but it is certainly not impossible. The problem is that in between ensuring that there is enough space for the fishing gear and camping equipment, there usually isn’ta lot of thought given to kitchen utensils. Fortunately, you don't need much to prepare your catch, but there are a couple of things you should know when it comes to processing your fish.

Keep Your Fish Fresh

The first step in processing your own fish is obviously catching it, but there is plenty of advice out there already on how to do this! What is more important is what happens to the fish after you have reeled it in and decided to keep it. If you want to enjoy fresh, tasty fish at the end of the day you are going to have to keep the fish fresh, which is easier said than done, depending on your kayak. Coolers tend to work the best for keeping your fish fresh, but for more advice, check out our article on how to store fish on kayaks (http://www.yakangler.com/kayak-fishing-techniques/item/3978-how-to-store-fish-on-kayaks).


One thing that is often overlooked is inspecting your catch for any signs of parasites or disease. You don't have to be an ichthyologist either to spot a sick fish. Telltale signs may include loose scales, gills that are bloody and slimy, eyes that are sunken and skin that is discolored. Basically if your fish has red gills and clear eyes, it should be fine. It is also important to stun or kill a fish with a humane headshot or else it will thrash around and you might end up with bruised meat. Bashing a fish over the head doesn't work for all fish, though, as some fish like halibut have harder sculls, so brush up on your knowledge beforehand. Also, it goes without saying that you should be familiar with the type of fish that you are catching and whether or not they are actually worth eating.

Cleaning Your Catch

Before cleaning your catch, there are a couple of safety tips worth knowing. First, as any good angler knows, even a dead fish can cause injury, so handle them with care if they have sharp fins or teeth. Most anglers begin the cleaning process by scaling the fish, which can be done with a fish scaler (if you have the space to pack one) or the back of a knife. While holding the fish by the tale, you then scrape it from the tail to the head. If done in a correct motion you'll find that the scales easily flake off. Rinse off the fish when you are done to get rid of scales that are still sticking to it.


Next comes the task of cleaning the fish, which requires you to create a clean cut from the anus right up to the jawbone. A steady cut works best and for that you ideally need a sharp cutting utensil. You should also take care not to make the incision too deep as this can result in intestine being punctured, which is a smelly outcome to say the least.


This is followed by removing the fish entrails. Simply pull out all the guts through the cavity you have created and scoop out all the organs. Take care to also to remove the black lining that you'll see inside the cavity as it will influence the taste of your fish. After another quick rinse with water your fish should be ready for the grill. If you have access to a fillet knife you can also fillet the fish before placing it on the grill.

The More You Know The Less You Have To Carry

It is one thing to be prepared, but you also don't want to be overloaded, especially when kayak fishing. While you can take along a variety of knives, fish scale removers and other equipment to make your life easier, there are also more convenient options available. One of these is the compact fish processing tool, known as "Gutsy," that was recently released by Gerber. It is the result of Gerber taking a long, hard look at basic fish scalers and deciding that a major overhaul was long overdue.


The result is a compact tool that can handle four essential functions, which means you'll be enjoying the fruits of your labor in no time. It has a scaler, that is ground into the metal, so you can get down to the business of removing scales without wasting any time. The gut hook, with its ultra-sharp edge is also ground into the tool, so you can open up the cavity quickly and easily. Best of all, it has a scooper built into the body of the tool, so you can clean out the fish without risk of unnecessary damage that can be caused by a knife. Just for good measure, Gerber has also tossed in a bottle opener, because nothing goes down better with freshly grilled fish than a cold beer.




If you have never cleaned and cooked your own fish after a day of kayak fishing, then you have definitely missed out on one of the great pleasures in life. Hopefully these tips will come in handy during your next trip and you will feel a little better prepared for the task. Of course, for many anglers all of this should already be second nature, so be sure to let us know in the comments or on the forum what your tips are for cleaning and cooking your fish and what tools you use for the job.


This article is a paid advertisement

Last modified on Thursday, 06 September 2018 08:03
Naomi Bolton

Yakangler's Community Manager and Editor - in charge of sourcing news and articles for the website. ┬áIf you have any ideas for new content, please do get in touch with me at: [email protected]

Please login to post a comment.

Get the YakAngler Newsletter!

Keep tabs on all the latest from YakAngler.

Latest From The Forum

    • daiwanut's Avatar
    • This Is Why You Always Wear A PFD!!!
    • I have an agreement with my wife...I will never be in my yak without my PFD on. As soon as i get out of the vehicle, i put it on and it does not come...
    • 3 days 4 hours ago
    • daiwanut's Avatar
    • old but feel new
    • Long time Native Propel 13 angler, currently a Jackson Big Rig HDFD angler.
    • 3 days 5 hours ago
    • daiwanut's Avatar
    • Page went down
    • It used to be much MUCH more busy. Maybe one day it will improve again!
    • 3 days 5 hours ago

More Topics »