Video: How to Remove Y-Bones From Northern Pike

Believe it or not, it’s fairly easy to remove Y-bones from northern pike. Here are the three keys to success.

Video: How to Remove Y-Bones From Northern Pike

Many anglers refuse to keep northern pike for the dinner table because they don’t know how to remove Y-bones. It’s easier than you think.

Three keys to success:

  1. Y-bones are tougher to remove on small northern pike — those “hammer handles” that weigh 2-3 pounds. It’s far easier on pike weighing 5-8 pounds. The pike cleaned in the video below falls into this larger category.
  2. Use a sharp fillet knife with at least a 9-inch blade. A couple good and affordable choices include the 9-inch Fish ‘N Fillet Knife from Rapala, and the 9.5-inch Reel-Flex Knife from Outdoor Edge. (Click here for a video showing how easily a sharp Reel-Flex knife removes a fillet from a 33-inch northern pike.) 
  3. All fish have a protective slime layer, but the one on a northern pike is especially thick. As you clean a pike, be sure to clean your cutting board to avoid placing the fillets in that slime. In the video below, you’ll see that the angler switches cutting boards before getting to work on removing the rib cage and Y-bones. He also could have cleaned the slimy board before proceeding.

While walleyes, perch and panfish receive all the praise when it comes to fine freshwater table fare, many avid anglers, especially ice anglers, would rather eat northern pike than anything else. Pike flesh is firm and flavorful (not fishy if handled properly; see No. 3 above), and you can clean a single 5- to 8-pound northern pike in a fraction of the time it takes to fillet a handful of walleyes or a dozen panfish.

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