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How to scale a fish

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Whether you are a chef or an angler it is important to learn how to scale a fish for everyone. Scaling a fish is an important task to perform before cooking it. Removing the scales not only makes it easier to eat but also helps the fish cook evenly allowing seasoning to better penetrate the flesh.

So now if you think that scaling is a difficult task and can be performed at home, don’t worry, it’s not as difficult as it may seem. By just following the simple steps you will be able to remove scales like a Pro!! Keep reading to get started…

Step 1: Gather Your Tools: For scaling, it isn’t utterly important to have a proper scaler. As we are here to make it easier, all you need is a blunt knife, a cutting board, a bowl of water, and a newspaper. Of course, you don’t want a mess in your kitchen so make sure to spread newspaper below the cutting board.

You can also use gloves for this purpose.

Step 2: Clean the fish: Before heading towards the main task, clean your fish properly. Rinse it under cold running water and pat it dry with paper towels. You can also place it on the newspaper, as it will absorb the extra moisture from the skin. Cleaning is important as it will remove any loose scales, and dirt from the fish.

how to scale a fish

Step 3: Start Scaling: Now that the main task begins, we divided this step into further steps for a better understanding

how to scale a fish
  1. Hold the fish firmly from its tail
  2. Now use the blunt edge of the knife against the scales, working from tail to head.
  3. Use firm but gentle pressure, being careful not to press too hard and damage the flesh underneath
  4. Scale the fish on both sides until all the scales are removed.
  5. Once you have thoroughly removed the scales, clean and rinse it thoroughly with water.
  6. You can also clean the fish by using perfumed dishwashing liquid if the fish has a strong odor.

Use any simple knife or any fishing knifeto perfrom this task. You can pick any knife from the list of “Best Fishing Knives” from our guide.

Note* The flesh of a fish is very delicate. Whenever you are scaling a fish, be careful not to nick the fish’s skin, as the fins can scratch the skin. You should also carefully remove the collar, which runs from the top of the fish to the bottom. It ends in the fatty belly region. The collar is the most flavorful part of the fish, so try to avoid damaging it.

Step 4: Finish Scaling: After scaling and rinsing, gut the fish if necessary and remove the head, tail, and fins. You can also remove the bones if desired.

And there you have it – a scaled fish ready for cooking! Scaling a fish may take a little practice, but with the right tools and technique, you’ll be able to do it like a pro in no time.

Scaling a fish is a necessary chore

It may seem like a tedious and messy chore to remove scales but it is an essential step to perform before cooking. There are many reasons why removing scales is important

  • It helps to cook fish more evenly and allows for seasoning flavors to better penetrate the flesh.
  • It is difficult to eat fish with scales as they are hard overlapping plates and leaving them also results in a less appetizing appearance.
  • Fish are slippery and covered in slime when they’re out of the water, so removing scales also make it easier to handle and fillet.
  • Scaling the fish can remove any lingering impurities, ensuring that the final dish is as fresh and delicious as possible

Frequently Asked Questions


Scaling a fish can be a daunting task but with the right technique and equipment, the process can be easy and quick. Fortunately, there are also a few inexpensive tools designed to make the task easier. Just be patient and remove all the scales thoroughly while preserving the integrity of the fish.

Just follow the steps mentioned in this post, and you’ll be able to remove scales and prepare your fish for cooking in no time. So don’t be afraid to try this at home – with a little practice, you’ll become a pro in no time!