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Christopher Quast

Skin em or Scale em? What do you do and why?

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I thought it would be interesting to see how everyone goes about cleaning their panfish and what is the reason why you do it the way you do and also does one way taste better to you than the other.

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Skin them.

Less mess and quicker and easier than scaling.

I like the taste better without the skins on.

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Boneless skined fillets are the way to go. Some people de-head, gut and then descale in one of those contraptions. I have had it but don't care for it as it has a crunchy off taste.

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I usually fillet and skin.Although I like the taste better with the skin on.....just to messy with scales all over the place.

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Skin em! Easily done by using a needle nose plier and making small incisions or skin cuts along the edges or fins. What people don't realize too is that them fish bones give flavor. When you filet such a fish without bones you take away flavor. You also waste less meat. Think of it this way, would you cook & eat some barbeque spare ribs or baby back ribs without the bone that helps give it's flavor? Alot of flavored soup are made using the bones or the animals or fish.

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im going to go against the grain here. i dont skin sunfish and i have one of those pail contraptions which helps reduce the mess. i scale then fillet and clean some whole. nuuuummmmy! crappies i skin and eat only if not frozen. its the way i was raised.

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to me skin on sunfish is definately worth the mess. this is not the northern site but has anyone tried scaling then frying a snot rocket? i heard it needs to be a smaller one, never had it but a friend of mine says its good.

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Depends on the size of the fish I am keeping. I will scale and fillet over not through the rib bone. A little more time consuming but I like them that way. The bigger fish get filleted.

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For sunnies, it depends on size. If they are 6-8" the best way to do it is to scale them, cut the head off, gut them and fry em whole. Sunnies bigger than 8" are best skinned & filleted though. And as for crappies, skinning them is the only way.

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Years ago we always left the skin on. Now, almost all are filleted. Filleting is less mess and faster but if I wanted the best tasting, the skin would always be left on.

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harveylee, you could not of said it any more accurate, the best tasting sunfish are the ones with the skin on thats why its worth the extra effort to scale them.

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When I was a kid, my dad would bring everything home and it was ALL cooked with the skin on.

I was the offical cleaner for many years and I have the scars to prove it! Nobody knew anything about filleting, everything got scaled. You want a monumental task? Try scaling Perch and Walleyes, especially the Perch! They had the fun of catching, I had the job of cleaning...I never liked fish when I was a kid.

Pike with the skin on tasted nasty to me...my ma would shake a chunk of it up in flour, salt, pepper and throw it in a pan of hot grease...skin was always slimy feeling.

The bullheads were also cooked with the skin on, yuk! The skin would roll off and it was just like glue, sticking to your fingers...did I mention I didn't like fish when I was a kid?

I did develope a taste for fish as I got older and learned new methods of cooking and also how to fillet. Crappies, Sunfish, Perch and Walleyes are about all I eat. I don't get into pike, Bass, Bullheads, Catfish and some of the other species. I've tried em, but for the most part, they are safe if I catch em.

Everything gets filleted, once in awhile I do up two or three small sunnies with the skin on just for old times sake, but I really don't like the bones and stuff and sometimes fish like pike, bass and sunnies will have a weedy taste if the skin is left on.

As far as wasting meat...if I was on subsistance rations, yeah, I'd eat the whole thing, but since I'm not, the tiny splotch of meat isn't an issue with me.

As I got older, I realized that the skin on the fish is not only the armor, it collects the majority of the parasites and stuff, which usually multiply on the skin and fins. I know the cooking heat kills the stuff, but I'm not Andrew Zimmer, I don't care to knowingly eat any fried parasites that I can see!

If it gets down to subsistance, bring on the parasites, they would be added to the stew just like everything else and I would expect them, once cooked, to help provide nourishment to help keep the wolf from the door!

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to be more clear, i scale my sunfish then fillet most of them. i clean a few what i call whole, where i take fins head and inners out and fry with bones in.

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Yes. Mine are hardly ever whole. Skin on fillets for Crappies and Sunnies is the way to go. At least most of mine are like that. I don't like bones so they don't go in the grease or on the grill.

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I fillet 100% of my pannies. However...I do remember way back when I was a little guy helping scale bluegills....was a fun job.

Best part were the crispy crunchy tails!!!

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I think that sunnies are the best eating fish no matter how you slice them. I usally scale them in a bucket half full of water, using a cereal spoon as a scaler there is no mess this way. Then I cut the head, belly and tail off using a big kitchen shear or my 8" tin shear then 2 little slits with a sharp knife down the A HOLE. Now there rinsed soaked in a little salt water or milk and ready for the pan (best tasting and most meat IMO) ALSO they are great fillet and fried in lard after they are cool they are almost like sunfish potato chips none can eat just one!!!

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I could be convinced to try it. Maybe I'll experiment a little this weekend.

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