How to Clean Striped Bass Like a Pro


How to Clean Striped Bass Like a Pro

Make this great gamefish into great table fare


Striped bass are the most sought-after gamefish on the East Coast. So many anglers fish for them, especially during the spring and fall migrations from their breeding grounds in the Mid-Atlantic to New England and back again, that they are highly regulated. Most of the member states that make up the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, the interstate compact that manages striped bass, currently have a bag limit of one fish with a minimum size of 28 inches for ocean-caught stripers

Wild-caught striped bass are also amongst the most delicious fish you can bring home to eat and with the tight bag limit, it only makes sense to take the time to properly prepare and clean the fish you plan to eat. Stripers are one of the harder fish to clean because they have a large section of dark red meat running down the middle of the fillet. It is located along the fish’s lateral line beneath the skin, and it is comprised of blood vessels, nerves and connective tissues that, if not removed, can give the fillet a distinctly fishy, oily flavor. The rest of the fillet is muscle that when cooked is moist with a delicate, delicious flavor. Unfortunately, many anglers ruin the eating quality of the fish by doing a poor job of preparing the fish for the table. 

This guide will walk you through the process of handling, cleaning and preparing a striped bass, so it will provide you with a most delicious meal. We’ve also included a great recipe in this article.

The process of enjoying the best eating quality of striped bass starts as soon as the fish is brought aboard the boat. It has to be bled immediately. After you unhook the fish, lift one-gill plate and cut the red gill rakers completely through with a knife or scissors. Put the fish in the splash well or in a live well (if you have one big enough), and let it bleed out. The process can take five to ten minutes. Then put the fish in a cooler with ice and leave it there until you’re ready to clean it.

Step 1: Doing the job right requires two knives: a large, stiff-bladed knife for filleting and a thin-bladed fillet knife for trimming the dark meat. Both should be extremely sharp. 

Step 2: Use the heavy-bladed knife to make a diagonal cut about one-half inch behind the gill plate from the lateral line to the top of the back. Do not cut into the stomach cavity or you could release stomach acid that could taint the meat.


Step 3: Insert the knife point into the first cut, so it falls just above the centerline of the back. With the blade facing away from the fish, cut just deep enough to split the skin above the dorsal fins all the way to the tail.

Step 4: Turn the knife around and begin carefully cutting downward to start removing the fillet. The blade should be guided by the bones beneath it. Only cut until the blade hits the thick backbone down the center of the fish. Do not complete the cut to remove the fillet at this time. 

saltwaterfishinvol7no8howtocleanstripedbass112415image6Step 5: Turn the fish over and repeat what you did on the first side: diagonal cut behind the head, split the skin down the opposite side of the dorsal fins down the back, and then make the cut to the backbone to begin removing the fillet. 

Step 6: Now you remove the fillet completely by continuing the cut with the blade slicing along the bones beyond the backbone and out through the skin, but only from the tail forward to the rib cage as shown.

Step 7: With the tail portion of the fillet lifted, continue to remove the fillet by working toward the head and carefully tracing your way up and over the rib cage. Flip the fish over and finish removing the fillet from the other side. 

Step 8: To remove the skin, place the fillet skin-side down on the edge of the cleaning table so you can work easily. Starting at the tail, carefully slice down through the meat to the skin, turn the blade almost flat to the table and work it forward, holding the skin near the tail in your other hand. Be sure to work the blade back and forth in a slicing motion, so it cleanly cuts the skin from the meat.

Step 9: Cut the fillet in half lengthwise, slicing along pale pink line down the center. 


Step 10: You’ll end up with two pieces—the large back strap portion and the smaller belly section. 

Step 11: Turn the fillet pieces over so the dark meat side is facing up. Using the thin-bladed fillet knife, remove the dark meat by making a shallow cut with the blade almost horizontal to the fillet that begins near the middle of the fillet and gets deeper as you roll the blade over the edge. 

Step 12: This is done down the length of the fillet, so it looks like this when the cut is complete. It takes a little practice, but it cleanly slices away most of the dark without sacrificing the good stuff.


Step 13: There will be a little dark meat left down the center of the fillet. Remove that as shown. Repeat this process with the other three fillet sections. 


Step 14: When finished, you’ll have back strap and belly section fillets like these from each side of the fish. 


Striped bass can vary greatly in size, so the fillets can range from easily manageable to much too large to cook in one piece. You can cut the back portion into two or three sections before bagging. As soon as you’re finished, bag the fillets and put them back on the ice. If you plan to freeze them, put the bags in the refrigerator for a few hours to firm up, then dry them with paper towels before you vacuum bag portion sizes for the freezer.

Striped bass fillets are delicious baked, broiled or sautéed. The meat is moist, delicate in flavor, and is complemented with a wide range of spices and sauces. Here’s one of our favorite recipes we know you’ll enjoy as much as we do. 

Crunchy Striped Bass Parmesan

  • 2 lbs. striped bass fillets
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper 
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs 
  • 4 tbs. unsalted butter, melted 
  • 2 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil 

Preheat the oven to 425°. Prepare a large glass baking dish with cooking spray, put in the fillets and season with sea salt and pepper. Mix the Parmesan cheese with the bread crumbs, melted butter and olive oil in a bowl, then liberally coat the top side of the fillet with the mixture. Bake it for 15 minutes or until the fish is flaky and the topping is golden brown. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Y

Visit Yamaha Today!

Original Source;  Yamaha 


Justice Denied Documentary Chronicles Racist Targeting of Chinese-American Bank

  Abacus: Small Enough to Jail Film Review by Kam Williams Justice Denied Documentary Chronicles Racist Targeting of Chinese-American Bank Asian-Americans are often referred to as the "model minority" because of their  success in the U.S. despite the existence of discrimination which has crippled other ethnic groups. However, the label has … [Read More its Good for You...]


Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama

  Rising Star The Making of Barack Obama  by David J. Garrow William Morrow Hardcover, $45.00 1472 pages ISBN: 978-0-06-264183-0 Book Review by Kam Williams “Barack Obama's speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention instantly catapulted him into the national spotlight and led to his election four years later as America's first … [Read More its Good For You...]


The Day After the Day Of

  The Day After the Day Of by Paul Ilechko   The sky sheds its tears. This morning is the morning of the day after. The day of mourning, the day after the day of.  I beseech the sky to shed tears in order to wash away the tears on my face.   This is the first day of the time after. This is the beginning of a new time, the … [Read More its Good for You...]

Real Estate

Castles in America

  Castles in America by Amy Lignor   Robin Leach and his “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” taught us all long ago that we absolutely love to sit and view ridiculous luxury (usually owned by people who inherited all of it and didn’t work a day in their lives). See that? We had to complain about something as we were beguiled by the amount … [Read More its Good for You...]


Stunning Stenberg!

  Amandla Stenberg The “Everything, Everything” Interview with Kam Williams Stunning Stenberg! Amandla Stenberg first gained recognition for her role as Rue in The Hunger Games, alongside Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson. After the success of that film, Amandla earned the 2012 Teen Choice Award with Jennifer for Best … [Read More its Good for You...]


Finding Bass During a Mixed Spawn Season

  Finding Bass During a Mixed Spawn Season Yamaha Pro Mark Davis Offers Two Solutions For Catching Bass This Spring Warmer-than-normal winter temperatures have shuffled bass spawning schedules on many lakes throughout the country this spring, but Mark Davis has seen it before, and the veteran Yamaha Pro knows just how to approach the … [Read More its Good for You...]


A Sport Where You Feel the Thrill Without Going to the Extreme

  A Sport Where You Feel the Thrill Without Going to the Extreme by Amy Lignor   There are many sports “fanatics” out there who literally dive head-first into an extreme sport in order to get their adrenaline pumping – taking on a sport that comes hand-in-hand with a monumental amount of risk. But for those who are not interested in … [Read More its Good for You...]


Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama

  Rising Star The Making of Barack Obama  by David J. Garrow William Morrow Hardcover, $45.00 1472 pages ISBN: 978-0-06-264183-0 Book Review by Kam Williams “Barack Obama's speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention instantly catapulted him into the national spotlight and led to his election four years later as America's first … [Read More its Good for You...]


Once Upon a Time Vacations

  Once Upon a Time Vacations by Amy Lignor   Whether you are a lover of history or you simply have the “Beauty & the Beast” obsession – which, according to movie revenue data, millions all over the world are suffering from – just think how amazing it would be to stay in an actual castle. We already know what the beauty would be … [Read More its Good for You...]