How to Filet a Fish Rock Cod


Rock cod, also frequently referred to as rockfish, is a generic name for over 70 varieties of fish that live around rocky formations or solid rock bottoms. In America, they are most popular and frequently caught on the Pacific coast. Charter boats are available along the West Coast specifically geared toward the catch of rockfish, but part of the fish's appeal is that many varieties can be easily caught by shore fisherman, including the popular saltwater striped bass. Because of the firmness of their flesh, rock cod are easily filleted. Take care with the very sharp knife you use.

Things You'll Need

  • Cutting board
  • Steel mesh glove
  • Sharp filleting knife
  • Put the mesh glove on and set the fish on the cutting board. Make an angular cut from the bottom of the fish's head up to the top of the backbone on one side.

  • Cut along the dorsal fin, just to the side of the fish where you made the original cut, beginning at the back of the head until you reach the start of the tail. Keep the edge of the blade firmly against the backbone of the fish as you cut.

  • Turn the fish over. Repeat the cut along the head on this side and then repeat the cut along the dorsal fin for the other side.

  • Slide the curved end of the blade into the bottom of the fish, starting at the front of the tail. Press it into the flesh until you hit the backbone. Follow the backbone along the ribs up to the front of the fish where you made the cut along the head. Once the cut is complete, pull the fillet away from the body, but do not cut the flesh loose from the tail yet.

  • Turn the fish over. Using the attached filet from the other side to hold it firm, slide the knife through the flesh from the tail to the cut at the head, applying some downward pressure to separate as much meat from the ribs as possible.

  • Cut the flesh from both sides loose from the tail. Carefully trim away the dark meat at the bottom of each fillet.

Tips & Warnings

  • You do not have to remove the scales before beginning if you plan to skin the fish. If you plan to cook the fish with the skin on, it is easier to scale the fish before filleting than after.
  • Using a very sharp knife is key to filleting a rock cod. Do not omit the steel mesh glove, as you should use a knife that could cut into your own flesh very easily if it slipped.

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