A while ago when I got into reading adventure books and back into camping, I bought a book written by Bear Grylls, Extreme Food, what to eat when your life depends on it. The book covers everything from eating plants to killing and safely cooking animals and fish. There’s even a section on bugs and insects. This book is awesome and I’ve read it several times, for that vital “just in case” info.
I flicked to the chapter on Fish and after a quick read and re-read, I was ready to give it a go. I didn’t have the time or knowledge to catch the fish first, but made sure I bought one that hadn’t yet been prepared. Using my Knife, I made an incision from the underside of the fish after the bottom hole, and drew along towards the head to open the fish up. I then pulled out the guts and found that this was a female fish and so also had to remove the row (eggs). After, I turned the fish back onto its side, and began to slice behind the gills, and towards the head at a 45-degree angle. I turned the blade back facing away from the head, when the blade had caught the spin. I then drew the blade along from the head towards the tail filleting as I did. I repeated this on the other side.
So after gutting and fileting, I flicked back to the chapter on starting a fire, and got moving. I placed a large piece of tree bark down as a mat and on top, layered dry grass with a small cotton wool bud. Using a flint stick to get the fire lit, I quickly covered it with small dry twigs, moving to bigger sticks as the fire consumed them.
Once the fire was going I used two thing sticks and split the end down the middle, to almost make a clamp at the top end. I slid the fillets between the split on the end of each stick. After I sharpened the other end of the sticks, i dug them into the ground, with the fish hanging over the fire.
I waited and added fuel to the fire to keep it going until the fish was cooked and white. To be honest even for something this small and simple, it was incredibly satisfying to have managed it first try!