Filleting a fish is a very easy way to prepare a fish for cooking that in most cases can take almost all the meat a fish has to offer off the bones before cooking and eating. To fillet a fish a good sharp filleting knife is an essential tool and a stack of newspaper to work on top of or, a filleting board is a good idea as well.
Many anglers who don’t know how to fillet fish, and get into a complex procedure of scaling the fish, gutting the fish, then removing the head and tail from the fish to prepare it for cooking. They then cook the fish and pick the cooked meat off the bones, often missing a few along with finding a few scales they missed. Hardly a nice way to eat fish!
Filleting is easy but you do have to have some idea of the bone structure of a fish to be able to do it. Many fish have a bone structure where the ribs go straight down the side of the fish and are very easy for the beginner. The freshwater fish known as crappie is one such example and is a great eating tasting fish as well, making it a good one to learn on, but you can pick others as well. There are other fish that have “Y” bones that protrude out the side of the ribs such as northern pike, this makes them more difficult for the beginner to fillet. Even with fish that have “Y” bones it just involves filleting them, then cutting out the strip of meat that contains the “Y” bones, and disposing of the small amount of meat and bones.
A filleting knife is a long slender knife that has a sharp point and blade. The sharp point is essential for starting the cutting because the point needs to get under the scales of the fish to start cutting. The sharp blade is essential to cut the meat free from the bones without any pressure applied to the knife, which could cause it to cut through the bones. Place the fish on the pile of newspapers protecting your work surface or, place the fish on the filleting board. And you are ready to start.
With the fish on its side place one hand on top of the fish and place the point of the knife on the upper side close to the dorsal fin of the fish keeping it pointed straight through the fish from top to bottom. While holding the knife parallel to the dorsal push the point of the knife through the scales and skin of the fish. Start cutting along the dorsal fin with a shallow cut that does not yet reach the ribs of the fish.
Once the cut is started rotate the knife so it is no longer pointed straight through the fish from top to bottom but is at an angle. Start using the knife more as a drawing slice with very light pressure and take the hand that was holding the fish in place and start using it to pull the meat away from the bone while cutting. Allow the knife to glide along the bone at a slight angle with a very light pressure while pulling the meat. The knife just gliding along the separation point between the meat and bone will make huge strides in getting the meat off the bone. Do this from the head to where the ribs end.
Once you find where the ribs and belly bones of the fish end approaching the tail of the fish hold the fish on top again and place the knife at the end of the ribs, parallel to the bones and push it through from the top to the bottom of the fish. Slice the meat from the bones all the way to the tail. Then go back and continue removing the meat from the ribs and around to the belly finally cutting the fillet free at the belly. Do this for both sides of the fish. Inspect the fillet for any bones and remove them, as you get better you won’t find any.
Next place the fillet skin side down on the papers or board and right at the tail grip the meat against the cutting board or papers with your fingertips. Place the knife against the meat near your fingertips at an angle away from your fingers, so you will cut the meat but not the skin of the fish. Cut into the meat down to the skin then turn the knife flat against the board and fish skin. Using the handle of the knife to push the side of the blade hard against the fish skin and board cut towards where the head of the fish was with a slicing motion cutting the skin of the fish off the fillet.
Congratulations you have just filleted and skinned a fish and it is ready for cooking. The fillet can even be cooked in batter or breadcrumbs and eaten with no bones or, scales to worry about. With practice you will find that you leave very little meat behind on the carcass and it makes preparing fish much easier. Now clean up the mess by either rolling up the trash in the newspaper or, cleaning off the board and washing it, you are done.
I would like to thank Johnny for writing such an informative article on “How to Fillet a Fish” be sure to stop by and visit his website for other well written articles.
Solar power is becoming more and more popular with campers these days. Whether you want to keep your hand held electronics charged or run outdoor lights in your camp at night, charge your boat or RV battery the possibilities with portable power are endless. The nice thing about solar power when you are camping is you don’t have to carry around a bunch of batteries.
There are foldable solar panels that work great for charging ipods, cell phones, GPS, battery packs, laptops and more. I have had several people who hike or backcountry trek, tell me that they like to hang the folding panels from their backpacks and charge their battery packs or cell phones while they are hiking/trekking.
Solar panels like the Goal Zero Boulder 15 Solar Panel is perfect to charge RV batteries, boat batteries and power packs. The Boulder 15 can be mounted permanently and yet light weight and portable so it can be used in a campsite. Several panels can be mounted together for quicker charges.
The power packs are what stores the energy that the solar panels gather from the sun. The power packs usually come in 3 sizes. Small power packs will work well for powering smaller things like cell phones, lights, MP3 players (iPod) and e-Readers (Kindle). Medium power packs work well for powering things that need a little more power like laptops, CPAP’s, Tablets, DSLR cameras etc. Large power packs work well for powering bigger devices, multiple items or entire camps. These packs tend to be a bit heavier and not as portable.
So how does solar power work? 1st power is collected from the sun through a solar panel, then the power is stored in a power pack and lastly the power that has been collected in the power pack will power or recharge any device.
Solar power devices allow us to have power on or off the grid anytime, anywhere. I like that I can go camping not take a bunch of batteries and charge my camera and light up my camp all with solar power.
By Derek Hansen, 11 July 2012 — theultimatehang.com
A lot of people come to me asking how to get started with hammock camping. What hammock should they buy? What is the best tarp? What about staying warm? The problem is that there are so many options and variables that coming up with a simple answer is difficult.
Getting the right hammock is like getting a good pair of hiking shoes: you want a great fit but you also want all the right features to match your style of hiking. Are you concerned about weight? All season comfort or just summer escapes? Long-distance hiking or car camping? Getting matched with the right hammock can be the difference between sticking with this new system or abandoning it altogether. And like a pair of shoes, what works for a lot of people may not necessarily work for you. If you can, try a few hammocks out first before you buy.
I think one of the most important yet most overlooked criteria is size. The number one reason I recommend hammocks is the improved comfort over tent camping. But if the hammock isn’t the right size, that comfort can be compromised. I had a friend buy a
small hammock only to find his 6’4” frame wouldn’t fit completely inside. While any hammock is arguably more comfortable than sleeping on rocky, sloping ground, a bad fitting hammock can increase leg strain, hyperextension, and numbness.
The key to comfort in a hammock is much more about the increased length rather than just increased width. If you are over six feet tall, look for a hammock at least 10 feet long and five feet wide. For folks six feet or shorter, nearly any hammock will suit, so you can look closer at specific features. A hammock that is too wide will just have a lot of excess fabric that flaps in your face.
What about a “double” hammock for two people?
The term “double” is a little disingenuous because it implies occupancy, somewhat like a “two-person” tent, but doesn’t work well in practice. Due to the hammock’s design, both occupants will slide into the center and “snuggle” all night. While I’ve found a few
people who’ve made this work, on the whole it is an uncomfortable experience unless you like compressed “synchronized sleeping.”
“Double,” “Triple,” or “Queen,” and “Super” hammocks are just marketing terms. Be sure to check the dimensions before you buy because one manufacturer’s “Double” might be smaller than another’s “Single.”
Some will argue that a “true” camping hammock will come with an integrated bug net and a matching tarp, but all of these features can be added later to suit your style and experience. If it isn’t raining or there are no flying bugs, you can still sleep comfortably all night in a basic hammock.
Nylon and polyester fabrics are the most suitable for the outdoors: they are better at resisting mildew, mold, and sun rot and these fabrics will dry quickly when wet. These fabrics are also lighter and stuff smaller—key features for packing and hauling gear.
TIP: Nylon is stretchy and is a common material in hammocks for increased comfort. Choose polyester if you prefer firmer support.
Hammocks must be strong enough to support human weight, specifically, your weight, including any gear or passengers you may bring inside. The hammock is only as strong as its weakest link, so ensure each element is rated above a safe working load
(straps, rope, and hammock).
Most hammocks come with triple-stitched seams and durable zippers and hardware. Don’t settle for anything less than top quality.
Ensure you use wide webbing straps to protect the trees. Some hammocks are packaged with suitable straps (at least 1” wide). Plan to buy straps if they don’t come standard. Straps make great anchor points around the tree where you can attach the hammock. In some state parks, straps are mandatory. Get in the habit of using straps each time you hang around a tree.
TIP: Avoid nylon webbing straps as they stretch too much. Look for polyester or polypropylene instead.
Some hammocks come with simple S-hooks that can be attached to the webbing straps. Climbing-rated carabiners make excellent and easy clips, but you can also lash and tie ropes directly to the webbing straps
Hammocks with integrated bug netting are convenient, but you can also find aftermarket bug nets that surround a hammock and can provide more room. Larger bug nets are nice for those who feel confined in sewn-in bug netting.
If flying/biting insects are a real problem, having a full-coverage net that surrounds the hammock is optimal, otherwise you’ll need something inside the hammock to protect from bite-throughs from the bottom.
Some hammock models also come with tarps, typically diamond or asymmetric in design. Tarps are an essential item for inclement weather or for shade, but sometimes they aren’t used at all. The nice thing about hammocks is that you’re not stuck with the
rain fly that came packaged with your shelter as tent campers are. If you prefer more coverage, privacy, or protection, simply pick a different tarp.
I like the versatility tarps offer so I often mix-and-match hammocks and tarps to suit my mood or conditions I expect to meet in the outdoors.
TIP: Nearly any tarp will work with a hammock provided it is long enough to cover the ends (allow at least 6-12 inches on each side) and wide enough to cover you when you get in a diagonal position.
A majority of camping hammocks provide negligible insulation. Just like a tent, you’re going to need a pad and sleeping bag to stay warm. On the flip side, hammocks excel in hot and muggy environments due to superior ventilation and convective heat loss.
Any sleeping bag and pad will work in a hammock, but custom “under quilts” that are made to hang under a hammock are somewhat easier, more comfortable, and warmer than pads.
TIP: Cut a blue closed-cell foam pad in half and turn one half sideways to better wrap around your shoulders for better coverage. The other half can cover your lower back and legs.
Tips on prolonging the life of your hammock
One advantage I love about hammocks is that your gear never needs to touch the ground, provided you pack appropriately. Pack your hammock into a stuff sack from the middle so the ends of the hammock are easily accessible. When packing in the field, leave one side attached to the tree; it’s like having a second pair of hands helping you keep the hammock off the ground. Continue to pack from the center until you reach the last attach point and unhook.
When setting up, leave the hammock packed and clip one end before opening the stuff sack. Slowly unveil the hammock as you walk and clip the other end to finish.
Use these same techniques for your tarp to keep your gear away from puncture-prone areas.
Inspect your hammock and suspension system regularly for signs of wear. Replace any element when frayed or torn. Some pin holes in the hammock can be repaired with flexible patches like Tear-Aid type A. Hammocks with larger rips should be retired.
Hand-wash your hammock with a mild soap periodically and let it air dry. Dryers can produce heat that can melt some synthetic fabric.
There’s lots to learn about hammock camping and there are plenty of resources on the web to read and study. Sometimes experience is the best teacher, but don’t suffer too long before checking out these valuable resources:
My sister hikes a lot and reminded me of how important it is to take plenty of water for yourself and your dog when you go hiking. She said on the trail passing other hikers she came across hikers that brought no water at all, hikers that don’t bring enough water to keep themselves hydrated for the length of their hike or brought water for themselves and not their dogs (our animals need to keep hydrated too).
Just like you, a dog’s body is around 80 percent water. Water is essential to help dissolve and carry substances throughout his body. It’s also the basis for most processes and chemical reactions that keep him healthy. Digestion, circulation, waste filtering, and body temperature regulation are just a few of the internal processes driven by water. If your dog is dehydrated, he can suffer kidney and heart damage, as well as other problems.
Why is dehydration bad? It causes impaired heat dissipation, which causes a rise in body temperature and increased strain on the cardiovascular system. Your heart beats faster, you use up glycogen faster, your brain function becomes impaired. It can also cause overall fatigue and lethargy.
It’s tough to state an actual number or amount of fluid that is recommended since it varies person to person. Essentially, the volume of fluid consumed should be based on sweat lost. Some people sweat a TON and some not at all. The amount of fluid these two types of people need would be different. Fluid should be replaced at a rate close to or equal to sweat loss. Learning how much you sweat can help prevent dehydration.
Signs of some dehydration are: restless and irritable, eyes sunken, mouth and tongue dry, thirsty drinks eagerly, when skin is pinched it goes back slowly. Signs of severe dehydration are: Lethargic or unconscious, eyes very sunken and dry, mouth and tongue very dry, drinks poorly or unable to drink, when skin is pinched it goes back very slowly.
Just remember when hiking or doing any other outdoor activities with a lot of exercising, bring plenty of water, stay hydrated; if you are thirsty you are already dehydrated. There are choices for carrying water with you. There are single bottle waist packs, dual bottle waste packs, hydration packs that carry larger amounts of water.
Campers are Being Reminded of Hidden Dangers…in their Firewood
Article written by: Sarah Stovall
Now that winter is over, and summer is approaching, outdoor enthusiasts are gearing up for a new camping season. Reservations are being made, RVs are coming out of storage and people are looking for a REI coupon to clip for that must have piece of gear they need.
But there is another activity that actually poses a hazard to the forests and camping areas so many Americans love.
Firewood has been cut and is being seasoned. Some campers will haul it to their favorite destination where it will transform hot dogs to dinner and marshmallows into a gooey campground necessity.
The problem is that firewood can carry microscopic invasive species that threaten native trees. Invasive species councils in the Pacific Northwest were at the forefront of the warnings, suggesting campers only buy firewood that is cut in the same county or region where it will be burned. The general rule of thumb is to not transport untreated wood more than 50 miles.
The Maine Forest Service began offering warnings in 2009. The spread of the Asian longhorned beetle is particularly troublesome, as an infestation could wipe out their maple sugar and tourism industries.
The bugs will spread on their own, but typically just a few miles a year if left alone. Transporting firewood can expedite the spread of the harmful bugs, potentially damaging forests for hundreds of miles. Wood-boring pests, such as the emerald ash borer, European gypsy moth and the aforementioned Asian longhorned beetle, have destroyed millions of trees in the Midwest and Eastern states. Entire forests of hemlock, chestnut, elm and ash trees have been devastated by invasive pests.
The Nature Conservancy states one in 20 Americans aren’t following the guidelines. They also point out that the guidelines are actually laws in certain jurisdictions. They are promoting the following tips to ensure safe, clean firewood is being burnt:
· When driving to a campsite more than 50 miles away, call the State or Federal Park or forests nearest the site and ask if they know of local distributors.
· Search the yellow pages for a local dealer.
· Ask the firewood dealer where the wood was cut — if it isn’t within 50 miles, or if it is from outside the county, find another source.
· Leave locally purchased wood at the campsite for the next campers when you leave.
· Be aware of state and county firewood regulations before you go. Some states don’t allow you to bring firewood across their borders, and many counties restrict firewood movement out of the area.
It is important to remember that wood isn’t safe just because it is seasoned. Only kiln-dried wood can eradicate insect eggs and microscopic fungal spores.
Those who are in possession of firewood that has traveled more than 50 miles are being encouraged to burn it as soon as possible. The storage area needs to be thoroughly cleaned and the debris should be burned as well.
It’s a simple step, but an important one. When it comes to firewood: Buy locally and think globally.
Author Bio: Sarah Stovall loves taking her dog, Ralph, on long hikes through the local state park.
Zion National Park in Utah is most popular for its variety of outdoor activities year round and its beautiful scenery.
The main canyon is the most popular section of the park. The visitor center and Springdale, UT are surrounded by this part of the park. Popular trail-heads for Weeping Rock, Emerald Pools, Angels Landing, The Narrows, etc. are all found on the eight-mile scenic drive that is accessible by shuttle April through October, and by private vehicle the rest of the year.
Zion National Park offers lots of activities for everyone, hiking, climbing, camping, horseback riding, whitewater rafting and winter sports like cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The park is packed with wonderful scenery and scenic drives throughout the park. You will want a map of the park so you don’t miss out on anything. You can call 877-444-6777 for reservations or more info.
If you like hiking or canyoneering, the Subway (Left Fork of North Creek) is one of the best for spectacular views and scenery.
It is possible to see a variety of wildlife in the park and in the canyons. You may see skunks, ring-tailed cats, kangaroo rats, deer and big-horned sheep or peregrine falcons, eagles, wild turkeys, owls and quail are found in the canyons.
If you have camped, hiked or enjoyed any outdoor activity in the Zion National Park we would love to hear about it. Leave us a comment below.
Big Agnes Big House camping tents are great tents. They are well made, the walls and floor material is made of a strong and durable polyester with 1500mm waterproof polyurethane coating, which is a must for me, I want years of usage out of my camping tent. I have purchased less expensive tents in the past but I have found that I only get one or two seasons out of them. I am not saying you have to purchase the most expensive tent on the planet but don’t buy the cheapest either somewhere in between is always a good place to start.
I like that the Big Agnes tents have reflective guy lines so that they are more visible at night. How many times have you walked by your tent at night and tripped over the guylines? I know I have. LOL
The briefcase style carry bag has long shoulder straps and organizational pockets. No more rolling up the tent and stuffing it a stuff sack, this tent has two large pockets one for the tent one for the rainfly a center pouch for the poles and a clear pocket for the tent stakes.
Another great feature of this tent is the built in roll out welcome mat, comes in handy when you don’t want wet muddy shoes in your tent.
The Big Agnes Big House camping tent has lots of nice features, a good tent to consider when your ready to buy a tent. The Big House comes in 2 sizes, sleeps 4 and sleeps 6.
The difference between car camping and camping in a hammock for me is about 27 lbs. Sometimes, although I love car camping, I just don’t feel like setting up a tent. That’s when I break out my hammock tie one end on a tree then the other and boom I’m camping. My camping hammock weights just over one pound and in its stuff sack is the size of a grapefruit so if I am hiking I can easily pack it in my backpack and still have plenty of room left over. I also bring along my tree straps, they not only protect the trees but give me added length for trees that are further apart. I Think hammock camping is so much fun it gives you a freedom like no other.
If you like to go camping in a hammock too I would love to hear about it just leave me a note in the comment box.
Our fishing trip turned into a trip back down memory lane as we turned toward our parking spot along side this big river we have fished at for many years. Thinking back to when I took one of my first steelhead trout out of this big river that was something I will never forget. Being from northern Michigan & being like most trout fisherman from this area, one of my favorite spots is on the banks on the south side of Tippy Dam, located on the Manistee River a few miles south of Mesick. Every spring I pack the truck with enough food for three days & a good supply of insect repellent that has been noted to be one important item. This year I have a new SwissGear St. Alban 8 Person Large Family Dome TentI know it is a little big but it’s a long weekend & I like to be comfortable & have all my gear inside.
I have found a new tripod & Dutch oven that is going to be full of chili on that first evening of camping out.
It just wouldn’t be camping if I didn’t have my grandmother’s old 15 inch cast iron skillet, or one like it.
This is her camping spot you know, she would want me to use it for the first fish caught. I don’t know anything better than fresh fish cooked right on the river bank & I have packed my favorite fish fry mix from camp dog seasonings,
That first evening laying in my warm sleeping bag listing to water rushing down the river; Then out of the night came a blast from the past, Dang _ What the heck is that ! I jumped up almost knocking the tent over.
I had almost forgotten all about that high water alarm when they opened the dam to let water out.
That was one memory I would have rather remembered in a different way. At least I will have good use to new underwear I have packed for this special occasion.
Thompson’s Lake State Park, nestled in the mountains just four miles from the Helderberg Escarpment, is a popular campground and recreation area. It has wooded campsites, the park features a sandy beach, mixed hardwood and conifer forests, limestone outcroppings, and open fields. Recreational opportunities include a volleyball court, horseshoe pits, a playing field, swing sets, carry-in boat access, rental rowboats, fishing areas, and nature trails. Interpretive and recreational programs are offered for campers throughout the summer. During the winter, visitors can cross-country ski and ice fish.
Thompson’s Lake State Park is located 18 miles southwest of Albany.
68 Thompsons Lake Road
East Berne, NY 12059
Phone: (518) 872-1674
Fax: (518) 872-9133
Beach swimming, boating, fishing (and wintertime ice fishing) park-organized recreation activities, hiking and wintertime cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are the park’s major activities. The Emma Treadwell Thacher Center is located on Thompson’s Lake next to the campground and is accessible to campers. The center opened in July 2001 and offers exhibits, interactive displays, trails for hiking and skiing, and educational programs.
Boat launch sites, boat rentals, campsites, dumping stations, a nature trail, a playground, playing fields, and showers are among the amenities available.
Most New York State Parks charge a vehicle use fee to enter the facility. Fees vary by location and season. A list of entry fees and other park use fees is available below. For fees not listed or to verify information, please contact the park directly.
$8 per hour
$15 – 2 hours
$20 – 3 hours
$25 per day
$5 per 30 minutes
$10 per hour
$13 – 1.5 hours
$16 – 2 hours
$27 – 3 hours
Camping Misc. Fees:
$15/site ($4 amenity fee weekend & night before weekend)