Project Description

Black Magic Brand Ambassador Kate Rogers, loves chasing tuna, marlin and swordfish off the coast of NSW. But she is also a firm believer in taking care of and making the most of your catch. Here is her step-by-step guide to how to set up and fillet a marlin or tuna.

Filleting marlin

Step 1

Once you’ve caught and brain spiked your marlin, it’s important to bleed it. I do this by cutting the gill membrane on both sides of the fish and sitting the deck wash hose in the fish’s mouth until the water runs clear.

Step 2

I then remove the guts out of the fish and have a heap of ice ready to fill the gut cavity and cover the fish if it doesn’t fit in the chilly bag.

I like to ice my fish for at least a few hours to ensure all the nerves in the meat stop working, and you end up with a nice pliable fillet. If you don’t do this, you’ll notice that when you start to fillet a fish that is “too fresh” the fillet will tighten up. This can result in a tough unpleasant fillet to eat. I call that process “setting” the fish.

Once you’re happy that your fish is set properly, I set up my filleting table and sharpen my knives.

Step 3

Marlin are really easy to break down. You fillet them just as you would a kingfish or snapper, the only difference being that the fillet is humongous, and the fish’s scales are like little daggers.

Have a large esky or chilly bin on hand to put the fillets into. And lots of paper towels to keep the fillets dry, and to wipe away any excess moisture or blood which may appear. Never use fresh water while filleting fish. Keep everything as dry as possible. This is to minimise the amount of bacteria on your fish, makes the fillet last longer and eat better.

Step 4

Sometimes it helps to break the side of the marlin down into smaller more manageable pieces. Cut vertically down the side of the fish into 3 pieces, so you have tail, mid and shoulder sections. I like to wipe my knife after each cut.

Step 5

I start at the top behind the head and cut down around the back of the pec fin to the belly flap.

Then cut down to the backbone and bony plates which come up from the spine. Jump the knife over the spine and continue your cut and that section should come away.

Repeat with the mid and tail sections, and then flip the fish over and repeat the process.

Step 6

I cut each section into half and then skin it. Smaller prices make it much easier. I then cut any of the darker meat out, portion and the vac bag the pieces ready to share.

Filleting tuna

Step 1

Again, the prep is key. Sharp knives, lots of paper towels, and a cold esky or chilly bin to put fillets into.

Step 2

Because of the round shape of tuna, I make the outlines of all the cuts I need to make on both sides of the fish before actually taking the fillets off.

Step 3

Start at the top behind the head and cut down behind the pec fin to the belly. Then work your way from the top all the way down to the tail without cutting too deep. Try not to use a sawing motion, as this will hack your fillet up.

Step 4

I then make two cuts down the centre of the fillet around the bones and bloodline that all tuna have. I make these cuts down to the bone all the way to the tail.

Then from the bottom of the belly, just outline your cut up to the tail.

Repeat on the opposite side.

Step 5

It should now be really easy to take each fillet off by simply cutting all the way down and up into the centre of the fish. You should end up with four quarters.

Then I simply skin each quarter and trim any excess bloodline out of the fillets, portion them and vacuum seal them.