Catching Tuna off the Oregon Coast can be the most exhilarating 30 minutes once you find them that you can have in a boat. The last time we fished in Cabo, we had 29 in less than 30 minutes. When the bite is over, the boat is a mess, your arms ache and you think….”Wow, it is over.” However, this is where ALL the work begins.
This is what I know, there may be a better way, but after doing this throughout the years this is the fastest for me. I am always open to good suggestions, because I learn as I go.
First thing you need to know about cleaning tuna
1. If you roll in with a ton of them, pay the people working the docks 4 bucks a fish to clean them for you. Best 100 bucks you will ever spend.
2. If you are not that smart, get a lot of towels for the butchering process because you will need them.
3. Have sharp filet knives.
Lay the head of the tuna on a towel to keep it from slipping around when you’re butchering it. Take your filet knife and run it from the tail down the bottom of the fish past the front fin of the fish. Do not go too deep, I did it a little deep so you can see the cuts. Only cut into the skin a quarter of an inch. Then run it up behind the side fin to the top and forward of the fin to the top of the spine.
Make sure you do not cut too deep because later you will have to pull the skin back.
Then bring the incision back towards the tail. The outer layer of skin will then need to be pulled back. If the fish is not on ice and not very cold you may have to use your knife to aid in this process. Use a towel and go to the front of the fish up by the spine and gently make a cut to shave the skin back a few inches. Take a towel and grab that skin and use your other hand to push on the fish as you pull.
Then make a deep cut on the spin on the lower or upper end of the tenderloin, doesn’t matter which order. You can run your fingers down the spine to free the fish. NEVER RUN YOUR HAND UP towards the head because the spine bones will pierce your skin. Remove each tenderloin.
Remove both tenderloins and flip fish over and do the process over again. You should have four when you are completed with your butchering task.
Do not wash your fish, you want to gently cut any blood colors or dark colors to the fish. Next tip, take a paper towel and clean your work station before the next fish so you do not get scales on your cleaned tuna loins.
You can look to my past blogs on how to can tuna. That takes about 3 hours for every 24 cans you make. It is a long process. We also made some great meals with the tenderloin which is coming to the blog very soon. This is a long process of love and every year Grover and I look at each other like….why are we doing this? Truth be known, once you have your owned canned Tuna you will never touch store-bought again.