Once the fish are scaled, it's time to gut them. It's a relatively simple procedure because most of the entrails come out together.
- Put several layers of newspaper on a cutting board, and place the fish on its side on the paper.
- Insert the tip of the fillet knife into the belly near the anal gland. Move the knife along the belly all the way to the head. Be sure not to insert the blade too deep-you want to avoid slicing the intestines.
- Spread the body apart and remove the entrails.
- Find the anus and cut it out with a V-shaped or notched incision.
- You might see a kidney attached to the backbone; scoop or scrape it out with a spoon.
- Wrap the offal in newspaper and discard.
- Thoroughly rinse out the cavity and wash off the skin.
OK, the worst parts of cleaning a panfish are now complete. The next steps will get you to the endgame.