How to fillet round fish

Got yourself some lovely fresh fish, but not sure how to prepare it?

Follow our step-by-step photos to get the best results.

How to fillet round fish

What is a round fish?

These fish are cylindrical in shape, with a body that tapers off towards the tail. Common examples you’re likely to find in a UK fishmonger are mackerel, pollock, trout, cod, haddock and bream – and even little anchovies.

How to prepare round fish

Hold the fish on the work surface with one hand. With a sharp knife in the other, make an incision just behind the fin on one side, cutting on an angle towards the head, as far as the backbone.


Turn the knife the other way and work the blade gently down the length of the fish, keeping the blade of the knife flush against the backbone – always try to work the blade away from your fingers.


Remove the fillet, then remove and discard the innards (if the fish hasn’t already been gutted).


Turn the fish over and repeat the process on the other side, slicing behind the fin towards the head until you reach the backbone.


Now slice down the length of the fish, again with the knife close to the backbone.


You should have two equal-size fillets.


Make a small V-shaped incision along the centre of each fillet. Run your fingers over the fillets to locate any stray bones, then pull them out with fingers, tweezers or clean pliers.


Trim off and discard the thin belly parts of the fillets to neaten them up and remove any discoloured or ragged bits of flesh. You’re ready to cook your fish.


Now, put the theory to the test!

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