It’s probably safe to say that most of us are perfectly adequate at filleting fish, but when approached with a deep sea monster like this big halibut, we would probably do more head scratching than cutting. That’s definitely not the case with my buddies at Afognak Wilderness Lodge, however. These guys clean more fish on a daily basis than most people (including myself) process in a year’s time.
Needless to say, they have the system down. Even with some hands-on help, I was embarrassed by how slow I was compared to everybody else. Garrett Wood, one of the lodge staff, patiently showed me the different techniques for each species of fish, explaining that it took him about 50-60 fish to really get the feel of it. Filleting is all about feel. It’s quite a bit different than the knife work I’m used to—skinning furry critters—and requires long, smooth strokes and really employs the flex of the blade.