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If you go fishing on a sport fishing boat and catch a 30 pound tuna – how much meat do you take home?

Posted by Lauren Yanez on Jul 18, 2010

what I am trying to ask is how much of a fish’s weight is lost when you have the boat fillet the fish for you? Is it better to take the whole fish home and do it yourself?
I love fish. Yum. I don’t want to catch and release. I want to bring home as much as possible, but I have never filleted a large fish before.

If you know how to fillet a fish it’s always better to do it yourself. I saw someone catch a 30# Red Drum and she had the fish cleaner fillet it for her. She went home with much less fish than she should have. Fish cleaners charge by the pound and they weigh it before they clean it. Some cleaners are better than others, but I trust my own skill much better.
Really it all depends on the cleaner. I would guess that for a 30 pound fish you would probably take home 15-18 pounds at the most with a good cleaner. You’ll loose a lot just from the guts, bones, and head.
Sometimes, for some people, it’s just less hassle to let them do the dirty work.
Good luck! Hope this helps!

8 Comments »

mac:

Usually you keep about 35 to 40% of the fish after you throw away the bones, head, and guts.
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July 18th, 2010 | 8:51 pm
John:

If you know how to fillet a fish it’s always better to do it yourself. I saw someone catch a 30# Red Drum and she had the fish cleaner fillet it for her. She went home with much less fish than she should have. Fish cleaners charge by the pound and they weigh it before they clean it. Some cleaners are better than others, but I trust my own skill much better.
Really it all depends on the cleaner. I would guess that for a 30 pound fish you would probably take home 15-18 pounds at the most with a good cleaner. You’ll loose a lot just from the guts, bones, and head.
Sometimes, for some people, it’s just less hassle to let them do the dirty work.
Good luck! Hope this helps!
References :

July 18th, 2010 | 9:19 pm
gofish:

Nice answer by John. Depending on fish species, fillets yield 40-60% total fish weight.My experience, charter capt. or hands usually take pride in work, especially a 30# tuna! I’d let them do it.
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July 18th, 2010 | 9:40 pm
JustAsking:

30 pound tuna is all for you to have on home. I have a 30 pound and it was good eating too. You will love the idea to have too.
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July 18th, 2010 | 10:08 pm
iTz moleman!:

Eh…10-20 pounds of delicious red tuna loin!

It’s enough. thats good for 5 – 10 people all grilled up.
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July 18th, 2010 | 10:27 pm
Summer:

To answer your riddle, i will say that you bring home aprox 0 lbs. Catch and release.
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July 18th, 2010 | 10:51 pm
Bobby:

I have cleaned a few tuna, and I would say it would be more than 20 pounds. Tuna have small stomach and gut areas and are mostly meat. Let them clean it.
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July 18th, 2010 | 11:11 pm
Peter_AZ:

With tuna, if it’s filleted carefully, you’ll end up with 40-50% of the weight of the fish. (12-15 pounds for a 30 pound tuna.) If the crew has lots of fish to clean, they may get a bit sloppy and you’ll get less, but in general they do a pretty good job, and not much is wasted.

If you decide to fillet the fish yourself, make sure you watch how the crew does it — tuna are filleted differently from most fish. Start with a sharp knife with a long enough blade. First you cut around the edges of the fillet, then peel the skin off the side of the fish, then you cut the quarters off the top and bottom of the side. Tuna have a horizontal band of (strong-tasting) dark meat across the middle of each side. You generally carve around it, leaving it on the carcass while getting the better-tasting lighter meat off in four "quarters" above and below it. If you do a sloppy job of this, you’ll leave a certain amount of the light meat on the carcass as well.

If you want to maximize your good meat, take the quarters off by cutting through the dark meat, then carefully separate the dark meat from the good stuff.

Personally, I like to have fish cleaned on the boat — when I get home from a tuna trip, all I really feel like doing is collapsing, and if I have a bunch of fish to clean, it’s a mess, then I have to run off to dump the carcasses in a supermarket dumpster somewhere. Even if the fish is cleaned on the boat, I generally have to repackage the meat into meal-sized portions before refrigerating or freezing. (If you get a few 30 pound tuna, that’s a lot of meat, and you’ll have to freeze most of it unless you’re having a block party or something.)

But after long range trips I’ve had to cut and package hundreds of pounds of fish, so I’m familiar with the process.
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July 18th, 2010 | 11:21 pm