Hugh’s Fish Fight – How to fillet a Whiting

By Anna, 2 June, 2011 10:10 am

Whiting. They look so, well, pedestrian until you really study them. Basically an orangey fish, but look at that lilac shimmer and golden glow on the face. You’d pay £s for cosmetics that impressive.

A white fish, it is part of the cod and pollack family, but far more delicately flaked and flavoured than the substantial cod. It’s less used than cod and I have no idea why; it’s delicious and abundant, indeed, according to my husband, downright suicidal in that it hurls itself at bait. Rather a drawback when that isn’t the species you’re after, but a whiting of a decent size is not to be sniffed at.

It has to be said, filleting a fish is filleting a fish.
This demonstration is no different from the how to fillet a mackerel post, but I know when you’re unsure about a new thing and when you’re specifically searching for ‘how to fillet a whiting’, what you want is pictures of someone filleting a whiting – not filleting a mackerel and saying “you can do this to whiting too, don’t you know?”
So here is the process of filleting a whiting. Same rules apply – say hi in the comments…pretty please?

Hello dear.

To fillet.

Cut across the fish – behind the pectoral fin – down to the resistance of the bone.


Turn the knife and cut lengthways on top of the spine, down the length of the body

All the way to the tail

Life the flap you have effectively made and with clean, sweeping strokes (but not so sweeping that you remove your own hand), work your way over the backbone – keeping your knife as close to bone as possible – to whittle fillet from skeleton

Once you’ve really freed it up, cut through the tail section to release

Keeping stroking and whittling

Then you can make the final cut to release the fillet. This is hard to describe, but keep the knife horizontal as opposed to following the natural curve down to the belly. That way, you avoid including the rib bones around the belly cavity in your fillet. Don’t worry – you can always trim them off when the fillet is free.

Turn the fish over to fillet the other side

Cut behind the head and pectoral fin

Make the cut down the back and stroke the horizontal knife along the skeleton again to lift that fillet off

Through the tail section again to release

and working the knife gently under the flap of flesh

Once the fillet is off, stroke it with your fingertips to feel for any bones that need to be trimmed. Trim the top of the fillet to remove any stray bits of fin. Check the belly side of the fillet to make sure you have got rid of those belly/rib bones.

Done. They tend to be a bit skinny, a bit diminutive. Delightful.


Now, what to do with it? Cook it as you would any white fish - fry it, grill it, use it in a fish pie, smother it in sauce, or make Crispy Whiting.

How d’ya like the whiting? Tell me! *nudge* < it worked before.

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2 Responses to “Hugh’s Fish Fight – How to fillet a Whiting”

  1. [...] So you fillet it, (in exactly the same way as a mackerel.) [...]

  2. lesley says:

    Hi just caught my first whiting and did not know what to do ,excellent advice you have given here.I am now going to fillet and enjoy .Thank you

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