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How To Clean Bluegil, Cleaning Perch and Other Pan Fish

Cleaning bluegill, cleaning perch, and cleaning crappie and other pan fish is done the same way.  This is how to clean bluegill, crappie, and perch without filleting them as they are so small usually that there is nothing left after you get done.  Preparing crappie, bluegill, and brim without filleting also adds to the flavor as the bones do add flavor in my opinion.  Cleaning blue gill only takes a minute and this helpful fishing article will give you the details of the best way to clean crappie, blue gill and other pan fish.
Cleaning bluegill, perch, rock bass, and other brim (pan fish) is done the same way as cleaning crappie.  It is fast and easy and well worth the trouble as these are some of the tastiest fish that you can get.  You do not fillet perch, crappie and such fish as there would be nothing left to eat most of the time.  The skin is not tough and has a good flavor.

The first step in cleaning bluegill is to remove the scales.  I find that a good stiff butter knife is the best tool for this purpose.  It is rounded and not sharp and is the perfect tool for removing fish scales.  You grab the bluegill’s head with one hand and pinch it firmly in the gill area to give yourself a good grip.  You start from the tail and with the knife almost flat against the fish but with the blade tilted slightly in to the fish, you scrape the scales off in short strokes, being careful to get around the fins, on top of the back, and on the belly.  You will feel your knife slide smoothly across the skin of the panfish when all of the scales are gone.

Next, you simply cut the head off behind the two side fins that are on the body and near the head.  I like to hold the fish up with its belly on the cutting surface and cut from the top towards the fish’s nose and behind it’s “ears” as there is a nice piece of meat there not to waste and then behind those two side fins which causes the head to be cut off in somewhat of an arch.

Then, shove your finger up in the belly and pull the guts out.  If you are cleaning a huge crappie or a larger perch, you might want to shove the knife into the rear end of the belly and cut it open for easier access.  Rinse the fish and you are done.  This whole process takes less than a minute.  This is how to clean black bass also if you are baking them whole or if you are frying them and they are smaller in size.  I like to clean small stripers like this as well and then slice their sides from top to bottom in about 4 places and then fry them.  The meat then comes off in small chunks and they cook very even.  For some reason they seem to have a better flavor that when they are filleted, probably from having the bones in them when cooked.

When you are fishing from the shore of the ocean, you catch a lot of ocean perch and small black rock fish.  You clean ocean fish the same way if you don’t fillet them if they are the types that have scales also such as when you catch sand dabs.  And, remember that butter knife!  It is the tool for scaling fish.  Also, watch those fins on the back of the perch and crappie as they are pointed and sharp and can jam in your hand pretty painfully.

When you fry the fish, use a mixture of flour, corn meal, seasoned bread crumbs, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.  The corn meal seems to stop the fish from burning.  I do not use batter on anything as it is too overwhelming.  I use just water to hold the breading on the fish which give it a light and crispy texture and a great taste.  I cook my abalone and all of my seafood that I fry this way.   Fry the pan fish golden brown.   A lot of people don’t eat perch, crappie, and these brim because they find them too boney.  They just don’t know how to eat pan fish!  

Eating bluegill is done with the hands, not a fork and knife.  You lay the pan fish on your plate and pull on the fins along the back and stomach and they come right out.  Look and feel for any left over bones there.   These fish all have one main center skeleton that runs from head to tail down the center that comes out in one piece except for a few rib bones.  Start at the tail and scrape to that bone and just pull the whole side of the fish off in one piece and turn it over.  Look for the rib bones and remove them where needed and do the same to the other side.  Now you have two fillets that you can pick up and eat after a little lemon juice is applied!  It don’t get no better than that!  My grandma used to keep corn bread on the table to wash down little bones with in case you got one in your throat.  Of course she always kept corn bread on the table 24/7 in case gramps or my dad or uncles wanted the delicacy of “corn bread and buttermilk” during the day!  Enjoy your fish and come join us in our fishing forums and join our FREE fishing community here at Fishnfools.com!