If you do decide to eat what you catch, then you will need to clean the fish preparing it to be eaten. Preparing fish involves gutting, scaling, and possibly filleting the fish to be eaten. These tips guide through these different processes step by step.
1. Set up a fish cleaning table outside and place it near a water hose.
2. Rinse fish thoroughly with fresh water and determine if fish has scales, such as fresh water Perch. Fish without scales, such as Catfish, have to be skinned prior to cooking. Use the tip of a spoon to scrape the scales off the fish and rinse again.
3. Use a sharp fillet knife to remove the fish head by placing the fish on the table and inserting the knife below the gills. Cut the head off and rinse again.
4. Slice down the center belly of the fish and open the gut to remove and discard entrails. Rinse fish thoroughly, removing membranes and other unwanted particles. Pat dry with paper towels.
5. Decide whether to cook the fish whole or to fillet the catch. Small fish, like Perch, are usually cooked whole and larger fish must be filleted.
6. Assemble cooking utensils and ingredients for deep frying your fish. Place ample amounts of cornmeal, half as much flour, salt and pepper to taste in a flat dish, stirring to blend seasonings.
7. Heat cooking oil in a cast iron dutch oven to 400 degrees and dredge fish in the cornmeal mixture. Drop fish into hot oil and fry once on each side until it floats. Remove from hot oil and drain on paper towels. It is ready to eat.
Tips: Overcooking fish will make it dry and tough. Always keep fish in the refrigerator or on ice before preparing.
Warnings: Use extreme caution when frying to prevent injury.