diy: Filleting yellowtail

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diy: Filleting yellowtail

Postby chris oak » August 25th, 2015, 9:32 pm

So I got some questions about this a year or so ago and finally got down to making a video. I don't claim to be the fastest or the best at it, but if you haven't filleted yellowtail before it might help you out. I use this method to filet out any of the large fish and if it's really big then I'll only use the quartering method as the pieces will be big enough to bag and eat. Smaller fish I'll just use the half filet method. The quartering method works well for big wsb, especially since they have that gigantic backbone that makes it hard to filet close to.

You don't need the serrated knife, but Corey gave me that tip years ago on grouper and man it zips through the bones and doesn't dull my main filet knife. I can usually process a big fish in a couple of minutes if I have both knives. When I'm done I'll put a zip lock underwater and get the air out for any of the pieces I freeze.

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Re: diy: Filleting yellowtail

Postby Westbury » August 25th, 2015, 10:27 pm

Thanks for taking the time to make that.
Excellent video Chris!
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Re: diy: Filleting yellowtail

Postby Eric Bodj » August 25th, 2015, 10:32 pm

Nice video Chris, is there a reason why you leave the skin on instead of skinning it before freezing/storing it?
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Re: diy: Filleting yellowtail

Postby chris oak » August 26th, 2015, 3:30 am

Eric Bodj wrote:Nice video Chris, is there a reason why you leave the skin on instead of skinning it before freezing/storing it?


Yes the skin keeps it from getting freezer burned. If the pieces are small I'll put them meat/meat with the skin side out. Even when I'm grilling I prefer the skin on, I usually sear the meat side first, then flip it and grill on the skin side until I'm done, the skin just falls off because of that fat layer underneath it. If I'm going to immediately eat the fish I'll scale it underwater but I rarely even do that anymore because on yellowtail or wsb the meat gets soft and sometimes water gets in it, those scales really work well to protect the meat.
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Re: diy: Filleting yellowtail

Postby Bowhunter » August 26th, 2015, 5:50 am

Nice video,thanks for posting.
I also have started to leave the skin on,less exposed meat.
Great tips and great looking filet station.
Chuck
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Re: diy: Filleting yellowtail

Postby db1 » August 26th, 2015, 8:37 am

Great video Chris, thanks a lot for putting that up! It is cool to see different techniques and synthesize your own methods from what you've seen.

PS Who's big fish did you borrow for that video? I know you didn't shoot one that big! ; )
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Re: diy: Filleting yellowtail

Postby Blue Man » August 26th, 2015, 8:49 am

Thanks for the video. Nice fish too.
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Re: diy: Filleting yellowtail

Postby mikeme » August 26th, 2015, 8:59 am

Great video Chris. Thanks
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Re: diy: Filleting yellowtail

Postby Blaine Morgan » August 26th, 2015, 10:20 am

Excellent video Chris, thanks. When you don't have sea water, how do you mix your sea salt to water?
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Re: diy: Filleting yellowtail

Postby Freediverman » August 26th, 2015, 10:34 am

Nice little clip Chris. Always good to see other people's methods of filleting. You can always take things away from them. Very clean lines you got there.
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Re: diy: Filleting yellowtail

Postby ApneaAddict » August 26th, 2015, 11:33 am

chris oak wrote: If I'm going to immediately eat the fish I'll scale it underwater but I rarely even do that anymore because on yellowtail or wsb the meat gets soft and sometimes water gets in it, those scales really work well to protect the meat.


Interesting. Could you elaborate on this a bit more? I've gotten into the habit of scaling most all of my fish and then freezing it skin-on with my logic being that I get the benefit of skin protecting the meat without worrying about scales getting on the meat and most of the slime gets removed during the scaling process (plus if you ever want to eat the skin, like with salmon, you don't want the scales on).
What's the point of a hobby if it doesn't fill your stomach?

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Re: diy: Filleting yellowtail

Postby scott diego » August 26th, 2015, 12:07 pm

Next time you are with Hughes, watch how he filets yellowtail ('Mr. Longrange' is a serious pro!). It seriously changed my whole life, and is how I filet them now. He puts a finger hole by the tail and 'pulls up the filet'. It almost comes off just from pulling. Then I go outside the ribs and get all the belly meat without even penetrating the gut cavity. (the pulling does not work as well for whites or dorado but it works amazing on YTs)
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Re: diy: Filleting yellowtail

Postby byronq » August 26th, 2015, 12:14 pm

Nice job, Chris! Again, always good to see other methods. I really liked your serrated knife- looks solid.

db1 wrote: PS Who's big fish did you borrow for that video? I know you didn't shoot one that big! ; )


Don't worry, Dylindo, I'll bring a few of mine by this week for you to test your skillz on!
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Re: diy: Filleting yellowtail

Postby ricduenas » August 26th, 2015, 3:18 pm

Great video! I've never thought of using that quartering technique on non-flat fish. Interesting!
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Re: diy: Filleting yellowtail

Postby KelpChaka » August 26th, 2015, 3:30 pm

Chris, you are the man. Great video. I shared it with a few guys I hunt with and they were stoked. Thank you.
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Re: diy: Filleting yellowtail

Postby John Hughes » August 26th, 2015, 4:04 pm

scott diego wrote:Next time you are with Hughes, watch how he filets yellowtail ('Mr. Longrange' is a serious pro!). It seriously changed my whole life, and is how I filet them now. He puts a finger hole by the tail and 'pulls up the filet'. It almost comes off just from pulling. Then I go outside the ribs and get all the belly meat without even penetrating the gut cavity. (the pulling does not work as well for whites or dorado but it works amazing on YTs)


Thanks for posting up the video and going through the hassle Chris. You can always learn from others and I'm always looking to find an easier way. I liked the quartering technique you use.

Some things work for some, other things work better for others. The pulling the fillet thing Scott is talking about is here for those that don't hit the DIY section much....... viewtopic.php?f=18&t=1243
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Re: diy: Filleting yellowtail

Postby Bowhunter » August 26th, 2015, 5:50 pm

Blaine Morgan wrote:Excellent video Chris, thanks. When you don't have sea water, how do you mix your sea salt to water?

If you don't want to drag salt water home,you can go to a aquarium/fish store and buy either the pre mix salt water,or just the salt.comes in buckets of different sizes (1gal-5gal)or 5-10lb of the salt.
Good luck,Chuck
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Re: diy: Filleting yellowtail

Postby db1 » August 26th, 2015, 7:51 pm

byronq wrote:Nice job, Chris! Again, always good to see other methods. I really liked your serrated knife- looks solid.

db1 wrote: PS Who's big fish did you borrow for that video? I know you didn't shoot one that big! ; )


Don't worry, Dylindo, I'll bring a few of mine by this week for you to test your skillz on!


My filleting skillz are even more inferior than my "shooting big fish" skillz... so I can use all the DIY videos Oak can make!
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Re: diy: Filleting yellowtail

Postby dam » August 26th, 2015, 9:36 pm

Here's another quick timelapse video of our own resident Japanese chef fileting a yellow:

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Re: diy: Filleting yellowtail

Postby LookPointShoot » August 26th, 2015, 10:14 pm

Pretty hard to contribute anything to this thread, but I guess I'll throw one tip in:

I hate cleanup and since I don't live in a factory like Chris apparently does (or whatever his situation is there -- regardless, I'm very jealous of that sweet fillet station) I usually throw my cutting board on a table and then put a bunch of trash bags over the board and the table and fillet on that. You'll probably slice the bags up but very little blood and guts should leak out onto your table and cutting board, making cleanup a breeze.

The added bonus is that you don't have to worry about getting saltwater or risking fouling your meat with fresh water. If the area gets too slimy/bloody/messy, you can just fold up all the trash bags and put new ones down.

Might not be the greenest thing I ever do, but I'd rather burn through 10 trash bags than do a whole bunch of cleanup.
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Re: diy: Filleting yellowtail

Postby Bill Norton » August 27th, 2015, 7:33 am

Great video thanks. The serrated knife advise....great idea. Thanks
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Re: diy: Filleting yellowtail

Postby jgrant » August 27th, 2015, 8:02 am

:obscene-drinkingcheers:
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Re: diy: Filleting yellowtail

Postby coreyf » August 27th, 2015, 8:23 am

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Re: diy: Filleting yellowtail

Postby wardo » August 27th, 2015, 3:24 pm

Great vid Oak! That filet station is next level. Do you have a source for a good deal on one of those things?

What's your ratio of sea salt to fresh water for your salt water solution?
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Re: diy: Filleting yellowtail

Postby chris oak » August 27th, 2015, 8:14 pm

Thanks guys, that video wasn't as much work as the yellowtail video I'm uploading right now. It's taking forever because I keep adding new pieces to it. Stay tuned it should be done by friday or sat and it's a culmination of a lot of trips. Some of the schools were E P I C.

Wardo et al, that's not my table it's someone elses. My table is very similar at home, I've got a 6' one that I picked up on craigslist for about a hundred or so if I remember correctly. Mine has a sink as well, I hook up a garden hose to it and then the drain goes to my garden. I only use it when I'm processing a lot of fish. If it's just a couple hollywood hughes hooked me up with a plastic table that I set up on my lawn. When I'm done I hose it off and it goes back into my shed. If you are using a stainless table you have to get a big good cutting board, otherwise when you graze it with the knife it instantly dulls the knife.

Corey uses the same half fillet method I use, a lot of guys use that. Johns is very similar is well except he actually makes a hole in the meat. I figured the quartering technique by watching the guys in Japan filleting fish, they do it very similar on big tuna and it works great on bigger yt and wsb.

That knife corey linked is the real deal, I bought one and it literally saws thru big bones. On the flip side you have to be VERY careful as it's so sharp I've cut myself nasty several times, my wife calls it the "killer knife" and refuses to pick it up because she was cutting veggies with it and it tried to maim her. She hid it but I found it and keep it separate from the cutlery drawer.

For your main filet knife you want it sharp, but not too sharp. This is from hughes and it's pretty true. If it's too sharp when you fillet off the skin later it keeps cutting thru the damn skin. So I use a 25 degree stick sharpener and only use the gray rods and not the finishing white rods.

Carter I think it depends on your level of care, you probably take much better care of your fish than I do. I used to scale my yt and wsb and then noticed they became more mushy when we were piling a lot of fish in the fish bag. My lameo theory is that the scales and slime protect the fish skin a bit better. When the scales are removed if you don't make sure that the fish stays out of the ice water and don't have fish against each other the freshwater goes thru the skin easier via osmosis. The fish slime/skin seems to protect the fish better in the freezer too, it never is freezer burned under the skin.

And finally anyone who asked about the salinity, I try to use a bucket of pure seawater whenever I can. But when I'm home, I picked up some of the cheapest bags of "instant ocean" (it wasn't that brand but a similar one) and keep them at the house. I don't use a refractometer or specific gravity meter, I just kind of dump salt in and taste it until it tastes like seawater. I use that when I'm burping the ziplock bags before freezing them.

I'm going to do a sashimi prep video soon and I'll post it up here as well.
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Re: diy: Filleting yellowtail

Postby 32juan » August 27th, 2015, 8:34 pm

I try to keep my fillet knife razor sharp. It's a 10" forshner scimitar. I utilize the 1/2 fillet method method, and it will slice thru ribs from 30# yt like butter. I use my kitchen knives for skinning the fillets during meal preparation, so going thru the skin is not usually an issue.

I also use the 6' plastic lifetime tables, but I put some strips of skateboard grip tape spaced apart and it helps to keep the fish from sliding around too much.
Image

For the collars, I have a Ginsu serrated knife that does the trick. I filleted my last yellow in around 4 min.

One last thing, I don't separate the fillets until I've cut both of them clear of the spine. Trying to cut along a curved fish is much less easy than a whole one
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Re: diy: Filleting yellowtail

Postby WetStarfish » September 22nd, 2015, 11:49 am

Thanks for the DIY video and nice narration!
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