How to Remove Bones from Fish

Removing the bones from fish can be done in several ways. Care must be taken to remove all the bones, especially the tiny ones, as bones may get stuck in the throat; this is especially true of children as they are prone to accidental choking on fish bones.

Filleting Your Fish

Descale or skin your fish. Scale or skin your fish using a metal spoon. In the case of a catfish, you may need to use pliers. Use a fillet knife to score a cut just behind the catfish's head. Grab a piece of skin with the pliers and pull very hard as sometimes this is a tough task to complete. Once you have a good hold the skin should all peel off in one motion. Fish species with scales such as bass should be scraped with a metal spoon towards the head until all scales are removed.

Fillet your fish. Take your sharp knife or fillet knife and inserting it flat against the fish at the score mark behind the head; wiggle the knife in flat, blade end towards the tail and apply pressure using a sawing action until you feel the knife blade hitting bones. At this point, keep blade flat and saw-cut along the entire length of the fish until you reach the small end of its tail. Lift off fillet. You may be lucky on your first try at doing this to cut the fillet all in one piece. For scaled species of fish, follow Steps 1 & 2.

Boil your fish. Place complete fish in a large saucepan and boil the meat off the bones. Completion should take only twenty minutes. Lift fish from water being careful to retrieve any fish bits that fall back into the water and place them on a plate to cool. When cool, take two forks and lift the fish meat off the bones discarding the bones.


  • Caution is needed when working around boiling water. Always use your back-burner to boil food. Accidental scalds and steam-burns may occur.

About the Author

Victoria Ries is a freelance writer whose work has been published in various print magazines, including "Guideposts," "BackHome," New Homesteading" and "Mother Earth News." Ries enjoys working on diverse topics such as travel, animal rescue, health and home business. Ries is currently working on her B.A. in psychology.