Guest Blogger: Michael
Pike often get a bad rap. Many people don’t know how to clean them properly. This alone has turned many sportsman off to the species. Properly preparing these fish will make them as good, or better, than most fish you have eaten. Many times we’ve piled high a plate combined with fresh caught pike and walleye. The guys eating (who swore they didn’t like pike) had no idea what they were eating and ate several pans full. It’s important to give credit where credit is due. My Step-Father Fred taught me well and I eat better with every trip to the cabin because of it.
I must admit; there is a certain amount of hesitation in sharing these secrets… I would hate to think that this blog would turn the world on to the joys of catching pike and eventually deplete the fishing grounds of some of my favorite localities. Alas; my favorite weed beds are well hidden in the north.
Let’s not over complicate this…You’re main objective in cleaning this fish is to “eliminate the Y bone…”
First simply take off the fillets and skin them.
Depending on the size of your fillet, you are probably going to want to cut it into quarters. The tail will not have many Y Bones (and is the best piece to eat 😉 If you’re running the cast iron save them for yourself and send the rest to the table.
The middle pieces will have more Y Bones just to the right of center when facing up. This is the tricky part. You will be able to see and feel with your finger the points of these bones sticking up along the top of the piece of the meat. Your first cut will be to the right of these bone tips down slowly, feeling for the bones with your knife. This requires a flexible, sensitive knife to detect these soft bones. As soon as you feel these bones, turn your blade to the right and away from the center of the fillet. Now go back and make an incision just to the left of the bone tips at the top. Cutting down and slightly to the right, cut at approximately the same angle.
This is difficult to articulate without showing you personally and even then it will take practice. Expect to carve up a few fillets the first few times. But I promise, if you learn this technique well and you enjoy eating fresh fish this is something that will soon have you reorganizing your tackle box with classic red and whites at the top.
Always remember, if you’re upset because you’re not catching any fish you’re missing the whole point.