How To Fillet A Smallmouth Bass – Oh So Easy!

Here I will step you through filleting a bass and removing the skin and all bones, including that small strip that was right above the top ridge of the rib-cage. This method is fast and easy to learn.

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Step 1

Have a sharp knife, this will make all the difference in the world. You can fillet with a dull knife, but it will take a little longer and be more work. A good knife, you can fillet a bass in a minute or less.

Step 2

Place your knife under the Pectoral Fin and make a cut done to the center fishbone. The cut will go from the bottom of the gills up to the back of the head, at approximately 45 degrees.

Step 3

Now take your knife and start at the top of the head, where the cut is and make a cut down the back to the tail. The cut should be only ¾” deep and running right on top of the fishbone, going right past the Dorsal Fin.

Step 4

Start near the bottom of the Dorsal Fin and make a full length cut along the fishbone toward the rib-cage. Work deep into the fillet along the fishbone and cut over the rib-cage. Next take your knife and continue to work over the top of the rib-cage, starting closest to the head and working down toward the tail. Once you have filleted over the rib-cage make your final cut all the way down the fishbone to the tail. DO NOT cut the fillet off the fish, leave it attached to the tail.

*Note, when making your cuts over the rib-cage and down the center bone (fishbone) you will hear and feel the bones. If you cut through part of the rib bones, just remove them after you have the fillet and skin separated.

Step 5

Now flip the fillet with the skin on it, over the tail. Place your fillet knife as close as you can to the tail at a 45 degree angle and make a slice through the meat to the skin. Now just slice the fillet off the skin by making a horizontal cut back and forth until the fillet has been removed from the skin.

Step 6

Now for those bones that were just above the top crest of the rib-cage. Take your finger and feel the bones right where the thickest part of the meat transitions to the thinnest part or belly meat. Make a thin cut on both sides of these bones, as they are straight up and down, and remove this strip and toss. You now have a fillet with no bones or skin.

*Oh So Good!