How to bleed and clean a bluefish – all you need to know

Looking at a bluefish wondering How to bleed and clean a bluefish

I’ve had to bleed and clean many bluefish over the years.

I fact, it’s probably one of the most common fish I catch and clean around this area, and they are here all year round.

I do like eating them, some don’t, but if you want to keep your bluefish to eat – keep reading.

It’s important to understand how to bleed and clean a bluefish before you eat them because it improves the flavour and texture of the flesh.

To bleed a bluefish simply strike it hard just above the eyes to stun the fish as soon as you land it, then cut the gills out from the top of the gills downward. This is where the blood supply of a bluefish runs. Once the gills are cut, hold the fish upside down to drain the blood out.

If you’re bleeding bluefish, you’ll want to know whether you can eat bluefish! Click here to find out.

By taking the time to bleed a bluefish, you can ensure a cleaner and more enjoyable fillet.

If you want a more in-depth guide, please read on.

Bleeding a bluefish is a relatively simple and easy-to-learn technique that can make a noticeable difference in the taste of your freshly-caught seafood.

As you follow this guide, you’ll gain a better understanding of the process of properly bleeding a fish, which will, in turn, enhance your overall fishing and cooking experience.

Stunning and Bleeding Process

Techniques for Stunning Bluefish

I prefer to stun the bluefish before you bleed it out.

I find this makes the fish easier to handle during the bleeding process, meaning you’re less likely to mess it up and cause suffering.

To stun the fish, locate the soft spot behind the eye, which is where the fish’s brain is located.

Gently but firmly strike this area nice and firmly with a blunt object to immobilize the fish.

Bleeding Bluefish Step-by-Step

Once the bluefish is stunned, you can begin the bleeding process.

I find that an effective bleeding process on the beach, will help produce cleaner fillets with a better taste when you come to chuck them in the frying pan later on.

Follow these steps to effectively bleed a bluefish:

  1. Position the fish: Place the stunned bluefish on a cutting board or flat surface. The top of your bait box or esky is fine if necessary too. Hold the fish firmly with your non-dominant hand, and position the fish so that the gills and bottom area are accessible for cutting.
  2. Cut the artery: Locate the artery that runs along the bottom of the area between the fish’s gills. Use a very sharp knife to carefully cut through this artery. You’ll know you’ve succeeded if there is significant blood loss or blood on the knife. If there’s no blood, try cutting slightly higher up.
  3. Allow the fish to bleed out: After cutting the artery, let the blood drain from the fish for a few minutes. This will help remove any residual blood from the fish’s body and produce cleaner fillets.
  4. Place the fish in ice: Once the fish has stopped bleeding, place it in a cooler or a container filled with ice. This will help preserve the freshness of the fish while also effectively slowing down any potential bacterial growth.

By following these simple steps, you can ensure the bleeding process is done properly and results in better-quality bluefish fillets for you to enjoy.

If you need more guidance, these videos are pretty good for instructions on bleeding fish and they actually show a bluefish being bled out and where to make the cut.

Cleaning and Storing Your Bluefish

Cutting and Removing Gills and Scales

To properly clean your bluefish, start by making a cut along the belly of the fish between the bottom fins are, starting from just behind the gills to the fin at the back of the belly.

Next, locate the fish’s gills and after having cut through the artery that runs along the bottom of the area between the gills, pull the gills downward toward the tail of the fish.

If you’ve made your cuts correctly then the gills and innards should come out fairly easily.

Then to get rid of the scales, use a scaler or the back of your knife to gently remove the scales from the fish, working from tail to head.

Remember to rinse the fish thoroughly to remove any remaining scales and blood.

Storing Bluefish: Cooler and Ice

Once your bluefish is cleaned, it’s crucial to store it properly to maintain its freshness and quality.

Place the cleaned fish in a cooler or a bucket that’s large enough to accommodate it.

To keep your bluefish cold, lay a towel at the bottom of your cooler or bucket and layer it with ice.

Position your fish on top of the ice, and then add more ice on top to entirely cover the fish2.

This method will help ensure that your bluefish stays fresh and ready to be filleted and cooked at your convenience.

By following these simple steps, you’ll be able to clean and store your bluefish effectively, preserving its quality for your next delicious meal.

How to bleed and clean bluefish sitting on a table in a group

Preserving Flavor and Texture

Draining the Blood Completely

To preserve the taste and quality of your bluefish, it’s essential to drain the blood completely.

By doing so, you’ll maintain the flavor and texture of the fish fillets.

I tend to do it as soon as I’ve decided whether or not I’m keeping a bluefish.

So on the beach, when I’ve landed the bluefish, that’s when I’ll bleed it. This means your fish are as fresh as can be and you’ve taken measures to improve the fillets too.

I tend not to keep more than I can eat in a day or two because after 24-48hrs the flesh starts to disintegrate and they aren’t so good to eat.

Click here to learn to best learn how to eat bluefish.

It’s important to do this as quickly as possible after catching the fish to ensure optimal preservation of its taste and texture.

Comparing Bluefish to Popular Options

Bluefish, like other fish such as salmon, can offer a unique and delicious taste when prepared correctly.

By properly draining the blood and taking steps to preserve the fish’s flavor and texture, you’ll be surprised at how the quality of the bluefish compares to other popular fish options.

Keep in mind that proper storage and preparation are crucial to achieving the best possible dining experience with any fish, including bluefish.

How to bleed a bluefish – Concluding Thoughts

Bleeding a bluefish properly can greatly improve the quality and taste of your fillets.

By following a few simple steps, you can ensure a clean and delicious meal for you and your family.

Sometimes a hose can help expedite the bleeding process. Direct a stream of water at the incision site, being careful not to damage the fish. This will also help wash away any leftover blood and keep the area clean.

Remember that the way you handle a fish can also affect the quality of the meat. Be gentle and avoid causing unnecessary stress to the fish, as this can negatively impact the flavor.

Incorporating these techniques into your fishing routine will result in a cleaner, tastier product that is sure to satisfy.

Happy fish-prepping!