Basic Survival Skills – Gutting and Prepare Fish

Before you can eat any fish, you must remove parts that will make you ill first – Gutting and Preparing your fish is the number one step

There are several different ways of processing your fish for the grill, some hunters like to remove the head while others like to leave it on – it really is a matter of personal choice.

 Before any attempt to cook the fish, you must remove the innards fo the fish – THIS IS ESSENTIAL.

Make a slit along the belly and then you can just push your finger into the cavity and simply peel them out. Rinse the inside cavity very well with fresh water.

Never cook and eat any fish until you have removed all entrails –  Cooking fish with any traces of the entrails intact can ruin the meat and you have a very high chance of the fish making you ill.

fish gutting procedure

Ideally, for field expediency, you it is preferable to cook the whole fish first, and then remove the skin once it is cooked.

This will save time and effort as you do not have to scale the fish first. If, however, your plan is to fillet the fish into portions, then it will be necessary to scale the fish first.

The gills and the fins also need to be removed before cooking – the area also needs to be washed out and cleaned.

Learning this skill of preparing a fish properly is a very important wilderness survival skill and most definitely one that should be practiced often.

cooking fish on a rockfish cooking
Fresh fish needs to be handled carefully and to stop the fish from falling apart when you start to cook it – lay the fish on a flat rock – it only has to be close enough to the fire to maintain heat and it will cook slowly.Another way to cook your fish is by using several layers of saplings over the fire and support with forked sticks, then simply lay the fish on the saplings to cook.You can also drape or hang your fish over a single sapling that is above the fire,  but this method tends to make the flesh fall off as it cooks. Having having these type of wilderness survival skills means you can eat well while in the wild and not become sick.

There are certain things that will help you when gutting your fish and knowing how to prepare fish with these tools makes the job so much easier.

The most essential tool is a good Skinning Knife with a Gutting Hook  like the  Buck knife shown here.

Other equipment that can come in useful are latex/rubber gloves to reduce the spread of bacteria that is always present in the fish and animals. Carry some clean cloths and net bags to carry the fish in that allows airflow to cool the fish.

As soon as you find yourself in a wilderness survival situation there you will be certain things to survive. There are things you can do now to prepare yourself, so go out and practice what skills you can in a controlled environment before you need to depend on those skills to save your life.

Scroll to Top