Whalebone Presents: How to Fillet a Fish

Filleting a fish is EZ. Catch fish, kill fish, slice fish, eat fish. It’s EZ. Of course it does take some items (like beer and knives), and directions (like the ones you’ll find below) aaand a little bit of experience (or beginner’s luck). Fortunately, we know a thing or two about correctly preparing a fish to be eaten.

Below you will find #original Whalebone instructions for filleting a fish. Our lawyers said that we’re legally required to inform you that if you cut off your fingers and or hands, we are not responsible nor liable for the cost of replacement limbs. That being said, best of luck and godspeed.

Items Needed

  • A fish. Go down to the dock and make friends with a local or try Gosmans or Duryea’s.
  • A knife. A proper knife. A fillet knife.
  • Large Ziploc bag + ice.
  • Thick skin. Make sure you aren’t scared of a little blood and guts. This is the East End way to make a good meal. And literally, have thick skin. Some fish are known to cut a bit.


1. Crack open a beer. We like Budweiser (or Montauk Brew Co.).

2. With the tip of your knife, pierce the stomach of the fish using the small hole by the tail as a guide. Run the knife from the tail to the head, cutting open the stomach. Clean out the guts and rinse the fish in cold water.


3. Take a sip of that beer sitting next to you.

4. Make a long cut around the head and just below the gills on both sides. Leave that head on though, you’ll need it for some leverage while doing the work.


5. Finish that first beer. Open second beer.

6. Holding the tail towards you, gently run the knife down the spine to the tail — not sawing, working the blade between the spine and the flesh. Repeat until the fillet begins to come away, lifting the fillet as you move along to see where you’re working.


7. When you get to the rib bones, let the knife follow the shape of the fish and slice over the bones. Make sure to keep as much meat on the filet as possible. You should feel the movement of the bones as you slice, letting you know you are cutting right along the ribs.


8. Finish second beer and take a deep, manly breath.

9. Once you’ve removed the first fillet… set it aside and get ready for another.


10. Turn over the fish and repeat steps, this time starting at the tail and working towards the head.

11. When you’re done, check some amazing recipes and be sure not to leave that carcass in you kitchen trash can for too long.