How To Bleed Fish To Get Cleaner Fillets (Popular Saltwater Species)


Do you want delicious, clean, white fillets?

Then you’ve got to bleed your fish.

Why bleed fish?

Because bleeding your fish helps get all the blood out – which produces tastier fillets.

It’s amazing how much better a well-bled fish tastes over a fillet that hasn’t been bled properly.

Plus, it’s a humane way to kill fish quickly.

In this video, you’re going to learn:

  • how to bleed several different species of fish (including how to bleed flounder, bluefish, mackerel, and mangrove snapper)
  • when to bleed fish
  • how to know if you did it wrong
  • and more

Watch the video below to learn how to bleed fish.

How To Bleed Fish [VIDEO]

Sign up for FREE to receive the latest saltwater fishing videos, tutorials, product reviews, and fishing product discounts!

➡ Click here to claim your FREE pack of Slam Shady paddletails

➡ Click here to join the Insider Club

If you decide you’re going to keep a fish, you want to bleed them right away.

This will ensure you get the cleanest fillets and kill the fish quickly and humanely.

To bleed them, all you need to do is cut the artery that runs along the bottom of the area between their gills.

You’ll know you cut through the artery if there is a lot of blood loss or blood on the knife.

If there’s no blood, then try again a little higher.

After you’ve cut through the artery, place them in ice.

As you can see in the video, all species of fish have this artery between their gills, even flounder.


bleeding out fish fillets

If you want the cleanest, most delicious fillets possible, then you should bleed your fish.

To do that, just cut through the artery between their gills and put them on ice.

Have any questions about bleeding fish?

Or do you have a better way of doing it?

Let me know in the comments below!

And if you know someone who loves to catch and cook fish, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

P.S. To get access to our best fishing spots and tips, plus discounts on fishing gear, click here to join us in the Insider Club!

Stop Wasting Time On The Water!

Do what the “SMART ANGLERS” are doing and join the Insider Club.

Here’s what you’ll receive today when you join:

  • Weekly fishing reports and TRENDS revealing exactly where you should fish ever trip
  • Weekly “spot dissection” videos that walk you through all the best spots in your area
  • Exclusive fishing tips from the PROS you can’t find anywhere else
  • Everything you need to start catching fish more consistently (regardless if you fish out of a boat, kayak, or land).

Click here to join today.

Related articles:

Related categories:

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
C. DaSilva
2 months ago

Bleeding a fish is far from a humane way to kill the fish period. The fish goes into shock, hemorrhaging contractions which deplete the flesh of certain nutrients that are essential to healthy meat. Lets not say that a bloody fillet is better, it is not however, the balance of too much and not enough is in the way one cleans the fish. Normal cleaning of a fish is more then sufficient to produce enough depletion of blood and produce a great flavored stake or even a fillet. In my 53 years of fishing; I always put a sharp knife between the eye into the brain (instant kill), preventing the flesh from being shocked. It feels different, I know, and after, I proceed to just clean the fish by scaling it, cutting the fins off, and removing the guts and than cutting it as I choose, filet or stake, or both if the fish is big enough. This always worked very nice for me, maybe it is a matter of preference but, I sure can tell the difference from shocked meat, and nature intended swift, clean and above all humane death of a fish. After all, it is a life you are taking! Respect nature! This not about what is best for you or the show, this is about respect, and most of you have forgotten the old ways!!!!!!!!!!

David Gillum
7 months ago

Luke, thank you for this information; a very important video ☺️ I understand also that the more flopping a fish does, therefore the more changes occur in the muscle tissue. A thrashing fish causing a buildup of lactic acid. Lactic acid in the flesh degrades the quality and taste of the fish. The more stress signals sent from the spine lessen the taste. What, then, is the solution?? Severing the spine with a clever will stop all functions in the fish. But there’s a more labor intensive technique called Ike Jime whereby a wire is pushed through the entire spinal cord. It is said that this stops all stress signals from the spine. So a fish left flopping on the deck is not going to taste as good as it could when the time is taken to bleed the fish and stop any stress signals from being sent to the muscles.🎣❣️

Joseph Alix
10 months ago

Thank you!

Tom Burgee
1 year ago

So yeah, I’m new… If this is a stupid question I apologize…. Does sitting in the blood once they’re dead bother the meat? I mean, can I do this on the water…toss em on ice and contouro fish for hours?

Michael Abraham
5 months ago
Reply to  Tom Burgee

One thing to increase the quality of the meat is to have a slurry of saltwater and ice prepared in a bucket. That way, the heart pumps out literally all of the blood, and the fillets will be as firm as possible.

Mark Raddatz
1 year ago

Excellent! Thank you…

1 year ago

What if I failed to bleed red snapper before vacuum packing and freezing?

5 months ago
Reply to  Lisa

Will be fine

Paige Johnson
1 year ago


Alan Thomas
1 year ago

I always gut my fish on the water, and place on ice. I find they taste better.

David Gillum
7 months ago
Reply to  Alan Thomas

Alan Thomas, I agree with you. In some fish the gall bladder starts to breakdown quickly after being caught. Especially porgies, the gall bladder breaks down faster than other fish. Which causes the fish to have a bitter taste 😕

Mike Pudlo
6 months ago
Reply to  Alan Thomas

Wish we could do that up here in MA – our local laws require fish be brought to the docks whole for recreational fishers. I’d prefer to do it all on the water if I could and just bring home the good stuff. Commercial can process on the water if they have a processing license.

Charles Wilson
2 years ago

Just wondering if if you should hold them upside down in the water for a few seconds, maybe then you wouldn’t have such a mess in the cooler

David Gillum
7 months ago
Reply to  Charles Wilson

Charles Wilson, I have seen some anglers use separate coolers for bleeding. Be sure to have sufficient ice for slurry.

2 years ago

Plus they taste so good

Last edited 2 years ago by Jim


Do what the “SMART ANGLERS” are doing and join the Insider Club.

Here’s what you’ll receive today when you join:

Other Fishing Tips You May Like :

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x

Get Instant Access To “The Inshore Fishing Manifesto” PDF Now

You’ll automatically be emailed a private link to download your PDF, plus you’ll be added to the Salt Strong Newsletter.
(Please double-check your email below to ensure delivery.)