Congratulations, you have taken your pond’s health to heart, and have the quality fishery to prove it. As a smart pond owner, you know harvest is an important part of your management plan.
Few things rival the satisfaction of catching your own food, but between your hook and the dinner table is the cleaning process, which is by no means difficult, but does take a bit of practice. Here are our tips to ensure a flawless finish.
Like many things, having the right tools will save time and effort when cleaning fish. An electric knife streamlines the process and can cut through bones where a filet knife cannot. Begin by laying your fish on a solid cutting surface. Next, washing off the excess slime will make the fish easier to handle. Make your first cut across the fish just behind the gills, from one side to the other. Do not cut deeper than the center bones. With an electric knife, you will be able to slide the blade along the center bones towards the tail, stopping before reaching the end. Leaving the skin attached to the body will make the filet job easier. Hold the fish in place, and position your knife where the meat begins by the tail. Gently slide your knife between the meat and the skin, working your way towards the end. Be careful not to cut too deep. The skin should peel away from the meat, as you slide your knife through the fish.
Next, cut away the section of bones that you cut through, and your filet is ready for the kitchen. If you are a visual learner, here is a video to help!
You will be surprised how many recipes you can substitute bass in. Fish tacos with cabbage, cilantro, pico de gallo, and a little lime juice, wrapped up in a warm corn tortilla are sure to impress even your fickle eaters. Showing off what your pond can produce, while providing a protein for a lean, healthy meal is a win-win. A healthy pond is both a paradise and practical. Happy Harvest!
Brad Metzler, President