How to Gut a Fish: A Step-by-Step Photo Tutorial by Paddy (Aged 7)




Paddy was keen to learn how to gut and cook fish… so that’s what he did!

Soon enough, not only was he a dab hand at gutting the fish by himself but also teaching his siblings how to do it too. As if that wasn’t enough for a seven-year-old to know, he also prepared and cooked it – and the rest of the meal – not only for himself but for me, Mike and his ten siblings still at home.

If you want to learn how to gut a fish see Paddy’s step-by-step tutorial. Do be warned though, some photos are quite graphic and it’s probably not for the squeamish so if you’d rather, you might want to skip this post and come back in a day or two for Paddy’s recipe with the already gutted product!


Lay the fish out on a chopping board in front of you. Paddy chose to gut and cook rainbow trout. Look happy to see it.


Time to begin. Insert the knife into the anus near the end of the fish…


Draw the knife along the belly up to the head, stopping just before you reach the gills


Work carefully and concentrate


You might find the fish is a little slippery to handle well while cutting. Holding it with a clean, dry cloth will help you keep a better grip on it


Once you have cut along its belly, hold the fish up and slice down from the back of the head


Cut down at an angle but don’t cut all the way through – you want to keep the head attached to the body at the bottom


Bend the head forward and pull, pull, pull…


You might need to pull a little more than you had expected to. The blighters can be quite tough!


Keep pulling until the guts come completely out. You did it!


Celebrate with a quick break to examine the inside of its mouth.
Celebrate with a quick break to examine the inside of its mouth. This step is optional.


Now that the guts have been removed you need to tackle the dark line of blood at the top. Open it up…


It's that line right there. If you don't remove it the fish will taste bitter.
It’s that line right there. If you don’t remove it the fish will taste bitter.


Press your thumb in at one end and run it along the line, using your nail as a kind of shovel, pushing it and lifting it as you go…


…like so, until it has been completely removed.


Once done, your fish can be washed clean and prepared for cooking!



Note: Please remember not to leave children unattended when using knives or other cooking equipment. While Paddy did carry out all the gutting of the fish himself (all six of them!), he was constantly observed and monitored throughout. 

2 thoughts on “How to Gut a Fish: A Step-by-Step Photo Tutorial by Paddy (Aged 7)

  1. A tip we have for removing pin bones from fish after gutting, is laying the fillet (bone side up) across an inverted mixing bowl. The bowl’s curve will make the bones stick out and easier to find. Use needle-nose pliers to pull the bones out and job done.

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