Processing a Large Mouth Bass, plus fish stock

Large mouth bass are a good eating fish and can be found in many clean waterways, including this nice catch from Cayuga Lake.

first cut behind fin


Make an initial cut behind the gills. I then prefer to fillet bass from the top of the spine down, to insure I get around the rounded rib cage.  Most of the bass meat is towards the top of the spine even though they often look like they have nice, fat bellies.


bass filleting from top

Run a very sharp, flexible fillet knife along the rib cage and down to the base of the tail, leaving the fillet attached at the tail.

bass one fillet attached

Turn the fish over and repeat on the other side, again leaving the fillet attached at the tail.bass fillets attached at tailNote: This is how conservation officers want to see fillets that are crossing borders to insure that the fillets are indeed from one fish!bass fillets skinless attached at tail

Then at the tail where the fillet is attached, carefully run your knife at an angle along the skin to remove the fillet from the skin.taking skin off fillet taking fillet off skin

Do this on both sides and you have two lovely bass fillets.bass fillet

Want more from your catch than just two fillets?  You can make some fish stock to use in a sauce,soup or chowder! Remove and discard the entrails from the bass carcass and then rinse cavity and fish thoroughly.  Add cleaned fish to a large stock pot, along with some onion, parsley, some celery tops, a clove of garlic, a pinch of salt, and pepper.

bass going in pot for stockin stock pot with onion and parsley

Cover fish with water and gently simmer for about 20-30 minutes to make a fish stock.  Strain the stock through a colander and again through some cheese cloth.  Fish stock can be stored for a few days in the fridge or frozen for later use.

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