Extraordinary Tips On How To Fillet A Sheepshead

Are you looking for the right technique to fillet Sheepshead perfectly? Well, learning to clean and filleting a Sheepshead is often ignored.

This is a fish which is even not a popular target for anglers. Sheepsheads are not regarded exactly as trash fish, but they make their way to fisher's table less.

You would have to learn how to fillet sheepshead apparently before eating them and once you learn the proper technique of filleting it, you would be halfway there.

Hence, we are going to help you to apprehend the right method of filleting a sheepshead so that you could prepare it exclusively to put it on your table. If you are interested, then just continue reading below.

General Difficulties in Filleting Sheepshead

Before filleting a sheepshead, you would have first to understand the way the fillets are made and how they are shaped after getting it from the bones it had as well as the way it would have to look after it is done.

 Difficulties in Filleting Sheepshead

A sheepshead fish is being filleted on a cleaning bench.

  • The entire process of filleting could be complicated. People who go for filleting for the first time often result in a big deal with the meat and the bones.
  • However, it doesn’t indicate that they don’t have the ability to clean the fish. They actually don’t know how the end product would have to look like and the technique of removing the meat from the body.

 Well, Sheepshead could seem delightful on the table, but maximum people throw this fish back, in fear of cleaning or filleting a fish that has more spines than porcupines. Another annoying thing about this fish is the large, added rib bones.

The heavy and sharp rib bones could burn out your electric knife quickly as well as destroy the sharpest standard blade. Sheepsheads are known to have a big head, thicker skin, large spines and dense skeleton.

Now, such a structure indicates that percentage of meat is low in this fish. An expert even passes a difficult time to approach 20 percent meat by filleting.

What You Will Need

Fillet Knife

You would require a sharp object to fillet such a spine fish in perfect order.

In this regard, a fillet knife would be a useful resource by which individuals will be able to cater their needs of filleting.

These knives are designed specifically for aiding people to fillet a fish. Fillet knives are used everywhere for both commercial and domestic purposes.

The concept behind designing such a tool is to offer more control to the users when they fillet the fish.

A fillet knife would smoothly move along the fish’s backbone and even under the skin. The explicit design, as well as the blade's sharpness, is the thing that is widely valued.

Even the grip of the knife plays a vital role in making the process of cutting or chopping easier. However, fillet knives are found in various sizes and designs.

If you want to find more information about knive, you can read more at here !

These are some products which you could consider to purchase for sheepshead:

1. Kershaw Fillet Knife with Sheath

Step by Step Instructions: How to Fillet Sheepshead

Step 1: Cutting Behind The Head

  • At first, place the fish on a clean surface, and then you will be starting with the first cut. You would have to hold your fillet knife at an angle for getting the cutting edge under the fish scales.
  • You will start cutting at the back of the sheepshead's head vertically till the backbone.

Step 2: Second Cut

After the first cut is done, you would have to go on for the second cut. You would have to start making a curving second cut starting at the initial cut, just over the lateral line at the back.

You would have to then cut downwards up to the anus of the sheepshead.

Step 3: Cutting The Flesh From The Backbone

Now you would have to flip the fish so that the back side of the fish faces you. Taking your fillet knife, you will be inserting it near the fish's backbone down to its rib cage.

As soon as the fillet knife moves through the rib cage, you would have to put it in every way through the fish. After doing this, you would have to cut the flesh from the backbone.

However, you will have to make sure that you are not cutting through the tab of the skin in front of the fish's tail.

Step 4: Cutting The Remaining Points

​At this step, you would have to start from in front of the fillet and cut away the points that are still there where the fillet is attaching to the structure of the fish.

Step 5: Cutting Through The Tab

This is the stage where you would have to cut the tab. Once the fillet becomes entirely free, you would have to start cutting through the tab attached to it till the tail portion. It would set aside the fillet perfectly.

Step 6: Repeating The First Two Steps

Now, you would have to repeat the first two processes for the other side of your catch. You would have to again start cutting from behind the fish’s head vertically till the backbone.

And then start making the second curve cut just over the lateral line at the back and then proceed down to the fish’s anus.

This time on this side you would have to cut the skin tab that holds the fillet with the tail.

Step 7: Cutting Points If Any

On this side, you would begin from the tail and crop up any points where the fillet is found attached to the structure of the fish still.

Step 8: Cutting The Skin

After you cut loose the fillet, you would have to keep it on the clean surface keeping down the skin side.

You will be holding it in place with the help of the finger tips on the tail end of the fish fillet. Taking the fillet knife in your other hand, you would have to cut loose the fillet from the skin from just over the skin.

This would keep the red flesh on the skin.

Step 9: Removing A Little Segment

At this stage, you would have to crop and then throw away a small portion from the fillet through the lateral line for removing the pin bone.

After doing this, you would have to repeat the same steps for all the other fillets.

Pro Tips

  • You would have to make sure that your fillet knife is very sharp. Otherwise, it might become tough to cut the heavy spines and boneso
  • Be attentive enough while holding the sheepshead, as the strong dorsal spines and anal fins can hurt mistakenly.


This was all that we thought to include on the list how to fillet sheepshead. Like we already said before that sheepshead might not be the first choice for many people or anglers due to their thick rib bones, sharp spines and protruding razor like teeth.

But the fish could be enchanting on the table.We hope that the list mentioned above of how to fillet sheepshead would help you immensely to comprehend the perfect process of filleting this fish.

Well, do let us know how much the article helped you and if you have any suggestion, please let us know about it in the comments sections.

Ted Thomas

Hi there, I'm Ted Thomas, an ardent adventure writer. I write for readers with a genuine interest in enjoying the great outdoors. By sharing my experiences camping, hunting and fishing, I hope to inspire others to fully explore the depths of their passion.

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