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How to Descale and Gut a Fish With A Hunting Knife


Via: Unsplash.

Have you often wondered how to descale and gut a fish? Or have you just got a perfect hunting knife and want to save some pocket space and money when out looking for a fishy meal? Either way, today, we will take you through the basics of how to descale and gut a fish with a hunting knife.

Check out our other guide on How to Skin an Animal With A Hunting Knife.

The Perfect Hunting Knife


Via: Stag Knives.

To get everyone on track with this guide, for those that don’t have a hunting knife and want to join the club, we have a great knife to suggest to help upgrade your hunting game. So whether you seek a knife for general hunting activities or something to cut everything regardless of the occasion, we wish to present our Stag One Knife wonder!

Check out why you’ll love this knife here: The Benefits of a Great Hunting Knife.

The Pallet of the Fish Scale


Via: Unsplash.

So what are fish scales, and why are fish covered in pesky wee things? They might be a pain to us when it comes to delicious meat inside, but to the fish, it acts as a protective layer against all the water thrown at them. Moreover, scales are covered in a slimy mucus that allows for ease of movement in the water. These scales come in many colors, shapes and sizes, much like the variety of fish we can catch in the ocean. However, they aren’t particularly friendly to eat, so we much prefer to remove them before consumption, often with a descaler, but we would argue a knife is just as easy.

Descale Fish Raw?


Via: Unsplash.

So you’ve now caught your fish (or bought it), and you aren’t sure of the best state to scale it. Most generally descale their fish before cooking or fillet it into consumable portions. But is this the best way to descale a fish, and what are the benefits of scaling raw versus cooked? 

Most agree that for the best flavour, you should descale a fish raw, as the outer layer is often the least delicious part of the dish. So then all you are left with is the yummy raw interior which can be coated with batter and other goodies without fear of tasting hard scale or something else. 

Descale Fish Cooked?


Via: Unsplash.

Some dishes outright require you to cook a fish before you descale it, whether that be making it taste even better or because the dinner party requires you to present a near-lifelike example of the food about to be consumed.  In this case, you can leave the descaling to your guests and provide them with an excellent knife to remove debris. However, otherwise, descale your fish raw before you cook it!

Scaling Fish With Hunting Knife Technique

2.Hold Fish Length Ways Across Hard Surface


Via: Painting of a Man scaling fish (1672), from PICRYL.

Hold the tail of the fish without your dominant hand and drape it lengthwise across a hard surface, then grab your hunting knife with your dominant hand. Ensure you know the direction of the scales before you start, and that the fish is firmly in place.

2. Run Blunt Edge of Blade Across Fish Going Against the Hard Side Under Scales


Via: Quiringh van Brekelenkam - Man Scaling Fish (1660 - 1665), from PICRYL.

Place the blunt side of the knife against the scales and gently scrape away from you along one side of the fish up to the head. Slowly the scales will come off, and you can have a bin on hand to wipe debris away to keep your surface clean. Then when one side is done, flip the fish over and do the other side until it has been descaled. 

Gutting Fish With Hunting Knife Technique


Via: Frans Snyders - The Fishmonger (1667), from PICRYL.

Now it's time to get dirty and remove the fish's innards before it's ready for consumption. This process is straightforward; we will briefly walk you through this now. 

  1. Insert the knife in front of the anal fin.
  2. Cut up to the jaw bone.
  3. Remove the guts with your hand.
  4. Wash out the gut cavity with water.

Final Remarks: How to Descale a Fish With A Hunting Knife


Via: Unsplash.

Descaling and gutting a fish with a hunting knife is very straightforward. You don’t need expensive equipment to do something that one great hunting knife can do efficiently and save you pocket space and money. So get out there and apply these new skills on your next fishing trip and see how great a hunting knife can be!

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