How To Scale A Fish Easily

How to Scale a Fish
4 Min Read
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Scaling a fish is a very common problem faced by fisher people. Scaling a fish is not only important for fishermen, but also for chefs who want to cook the fish fresh.

A lot of chefs are unable to scale fish. Who can blame them? After all, it is not the most pleasant part of fishing. Nonetheless, it is a very crucial step in preparing and cooking fish. 

Scaling a fish is a simple task that requires to be limited special equipment or skills. With this guide, you can easily scale your fish.

What Is Scaling?

Scaling is the process of removing the scales of a fish. This can be quite a hard process, especially if you have not done it before. Scaling is usually performed before the fish is cooked. 

Why Do We Need To Scale A Fish?

The main reason why you should scale a fish is that you want to be able to prepare and cook the fish fresh, the scales will need to be removed.

Though humans can technically eat most fish scales, they do not have a very pleasant taste or texture. This will be particularly true of larger scales.

The scales will not even add any nutritional value to the meal. Therefore, most people choose to remove the scales. 


To perform these instructions, you will need a few items of equipment. These include:

  • A fish that needs scaling: though it may sound obvious, you will need a fish that must be scaled. The fish variety that you have will depend on what you managed to catch or buy. Plus, it may depend on what you want to cook. For example, you may want to scale a salmon or trout. 
  • A tap: to clean the fish, you will need cold running water.
  • A bag: when scaling, scales can be flung all over the place. To capture as many of them as possible, you should use a bag. 
  • Old clothes: you may want to wear old clothes that you do not mind getting dirty. As mentioned above, this is not always the cleanest of activities. 
  • Gloves: to defend your hands, you should don a pair of gloves. 
  • A pair of goggles (optional): if you are worried about scales getting into your eye, you may want to wear safety goggles. Though the chances of this happening are low, safety precautions should be taken. 
  • A fish scaler or a knife: ideally, a specific tool called a scaler should be used. For example, this amazing product from Kwizing will allow you to easily scale a fish. However, if you are unable to find one of these items or are unwilling to spend the money on one, you can always use a knife.
  • Cleaning equipment: to sanitize any surfaces that have come into contact with the fish or its scales, you will need cleaning equipment. This will include a cloth and cleaning detergent. 



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Before these steps, you will need to catch or acquire the fish. Once you have done that, follow these simple steps. 

  1. Give the fish a thorough wash before scaling. After all, any dirt will get in the way of the process. Furthermore, this dirt could become latched to the skin of the fish. Another reason why you may want to clean the fish is that the scales can become loosened, thus making this task simpler. To clean the fish, hold it under a tap that is running with cold water. 
  2. Cover a kitchen-top surface with sheets or old newspaper. This will pick up most of the scales, allowing you to transfer them. This will also protect your nice and clean surfaces from being covered in fish scales. 
  3. Put the protective gear on. This will include gloves. 
  4. Hold the fish in the correct position. You should hold the fish at its tail. Otherwise, your hand will be in the way. Plus, you risk injuring yourself with the scaler. 
  5. Using either a fish scaler or the blunt part of a knife, gradually grind the scaler or blunt side of a knife against the fish. You should begin at the tail of the fish before moving toward the head. This will stop the scales from moving in your direction. 
  6. Be sure to repeat this step on every side of the fish until all the scales are gone. 
  7. Once again wash the fish under cold running water. This will get rid of any scales that are stuck to the fish. If any scales remain, be sure to use the scaler or knife again. 
  8. Be sure to correctly dispose of the scales and give your kitchen a thorough clean. 
  9. Enjoy your delicious fish, being sure to cook it correctly. 

Final Thoughts

Overall, though scaling a fish may seem strenuous if you have never done it before, it can be a manageable task by following these instructions.

In fact, I would recommend doing so for any fish that you plan on eating. It is an easy and fun way to prepare your food. Plus, it can make you feel more involved in the preparation process. 

Frequently Asked Questions

When Should You Scale A Fish?

A fish that has scales will last longer than one whose scales have been removed. After all, these scales preserve the fish.

Thus, you should only scale it closer to when you intend to cook it. For example, if you plan to cook the fish for dinner, you may want to scale it a few hours beforehand. 

Do You Have To Scale A Fish?

Yes, it is important to scale the fish. Retaining the scales will have a negative impact on the quality of the fish. The fish will have an unpleasant taste and texture. 

How Do You Avoid Mess When Scaling Fish?

To limit the mess, be sure to cover all kitchen surfaces. This allows you to contain and dispose of the scales simply.

Also, be gentle with the knife or scraper. Otherwise, the scales can be flung quite far. Once you have finished scaling, wash all the surfaces with kitchen detergent and a damp cloth.

Moreover, you may want to hoover up some scales. 

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