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How to Clean and Prepare Fish Hawaiian Style

In “How to Clean and Prepare Fish Hawaiian Style” by Fish and Dive Hawaii, you’ll find a detailed video tutorial on cleaning and preparing various types of fish, including octopus. The host demonstrates the process of scaling, filleting, and removing guts from the fish, all while emphasizing the importance of conserving fish, particularly red Ohu. The video also includes dive gear recommendations and mentions recipes such as mayonnaise and brown sugar combo, oyster sauce with long rice, and frying fish nuggets. Don’t forget to stay tuned for the next video in the series, where the host will show you how to cook and further prepare the fish for consumption.

How to Clean and Prepare Fish Hawaiian Style

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Equipment Recommendations

When it comes to spearfishing, having the right equipment is crucial to ensure a safe and successful dive. Here are some top recommendations for essential gear that will enhance your spearfishing experience.

Gull Mantis Amber Lens Mask

The Gull Mantis Amber Lens Mask is a fantastic choice for spearfishing. Its amber lenses provide excellent visibility in low-light conditions underwater, allowing you to spot fish more easily. The mask also offers a comfortable and secure fit, thanks to its soft silicone skirt and adjustable strap. With the Gull Mantis Amber Lens Mask, you’ll have clear vision and added confidence during your dives.

Super Bullet Snorkel

The Super Bullet Snorkel is specifically designed for spearfishing, offering superior performance and durability. Its streamlined shape reduces drag, allowing you to move swiftly through the water. The snorkel also features a purge valve, which makes it easy to clear out any water that enters during your dives. With the Super Bullet Snorkel, you can focus on your spearfishing while enjoying uninterrupted breathing.

Cressi 2000HF Fins

The Cressi 2000HF Fins are highly recommended for spearfishing due to their excellent propulsion and maneuverability. These fins are made from high-quality materials and feature a split blade design, allowing you to generate more power with each kick. The Cressi 2000HF Fins also provide great control, making it easier to navigate through different underwater environments. With these fins, you’ll be able to swim longer distances and reach your desired diving spots effortlessly.

HECS Full Body Wetsuit

When it comes to spearfishing, thermal protection is essential, and the HECS Full Body Wetsuit delivers just that. This wetsuit is made from high-quality neoprene material, providing insulation to keep you warm in colder waters. The HECS Full Body Wetsuit also incorporates HECS StealthScreen technology, which reduces your electrical output underwater, making you less detectable by marine life. With this wetsuit, you’ll stay comfortable, protected, and increase your chances of getting closer to fish.


A rashguard is an essential piece of gear for any spearfisher. It not only offers protection against sunburn and jellyfish stings but also provides an added layer of insulation in cooler waters. Look for a rashguard that is lightweight, breathable, and quick-drying for maximum comfort during your dives. It is also recommended to choose a rashguard with a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) rating for added sun protection.

Weight Belt

A weight belt is essential to maintain neutral buoyancy while spearfishing. It allows you to descend effortlessly and maintain control at different depths. Look for a weight belt that is adjustable and made from durable materials to withstand the rigors of spearfishing. Additionally, consider using a quick-release buckle for added safety in case of emergencies.


Choosing the right weights for your dive is crucial, as it will determine your buoyancy and overall control underwater. Consider factors such as your body type, wetsuit thickness, and the depth you plan to dive. It is advisable to start with lighter weights and gradually increase as needed. Remember to distribute the weights evenly along your weight belt for better balance and comfort.

Dive Knife

A dive knife is an essential tool for spearfishing. It serves multiple purposes, such as cutting fishing line, freeing entangled fish, and self-defense in case of emergencies. Look for a dive knife with a secure sheath and a sharp, corrosion-resistant blade. Additionally, consider the knife’s size and attachment options to ensure easy accessibility while diving.

Kui (Stringer)

A kui, also known as a stringer, is a handy accessory for storing and transporting the fish you catch while spearfishing. It consists of a stainless-steel wire with a loop at one end and a sharp point at the other. The loop is used to secure the fish, while the sharp point can be inserted through the gills or lips for easy attachment. Choose a kui that is long enough to accommodate the size of the fish you typically catch.

Evolve Polespear

An Evolve Polespear is an excellent alternative to traditional spearguns, especially for beginner spearfishers. Polespears are lightweight, easy to maneuver, and offer a more natural hunting experience. The Evolve Polespear features a durable aluminum construction and interchangeable tips, allowing you to customize it for different fishing conditions. With an Evolve Polespear, you can enjoy the simplicity and efficiency of spearfishing without the complexities of a speargun.

Hammerhead Evolution2 Speargun

For more experienced spearfishers, the Hammerhead Evolution2 Speargun is a top recommendation. This speargun combines power, accuracy, and reliability, making it suitable for various fishing environments. It features a closed-muzzle design for improved accuracy and reduced recoil. The Hammerhead Evolution2 Speargun also offers multiple band options, allowing you to customize the power and range according to your preferences. With this speargun, you’ll have the confidence to target larger fish and enjoy the thrill of successful hunts.

90cm Dive Buoy

A dive buoy is an essential safety device for spearfishing. It serves as a visible marker on the water’s surface, indicating your presence to boats and other divers. The 90cm dive buoy is a popular choice due to its compact size and excellent visibility. Look for a buoy with a sturdy construction, reflective tape, and attachment points for securing your equipment. By using a dive buoy, you can ensure your safety and enjoy hassle-free dives.

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Fish Cleaning and Preparation

After a successful spearfishing session, it’s time to prepare your catch for a delicious meal. Cleaning and preparing fish properly will not only enhance the flavor but also ensure food safety. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you through the process.

Introduction to Cleaning and Preparation

Cleaning and preparing fish is an essential skill for any spearfisher. It involves the removal of scales, guts, and other undesirable parts to achieve a clean and ready-to-cook fish. Proper fish cleaning and preparation also help maintain the quality and taste of the fish, allowing you to fully enjoy your catch. It’s important to handle the fish with care and follow food safety practices throughout the process.

Types of Fish

Spearfishing offers the opportunity to catch a wide variety of fish species depending on your location. Each type of fish may require slightly different cleaning and preparation techniques. It’s essential to identify the fish you caught and understand its characteristics before proceeding with the cleaning process. This will ensure that you handle the fish properly and maintain its integrity.

Yellowspot Papio

Yellowspot Papio, also known as Ulua, are a prized catch for many spearfishers. These fish are known for their firm white meat and mild flavor. Cleaning and preparing Yellowspot Papio involves scaling, gutting, and filleting the fish. It’s essential to remove the fish’s skin, which can be tough and affect the taste of the meat. Once cleaned, Yellowspot Papio can be cooked using various methods such as grilling, baking, or pan-frying.


Manini, also known as Convict Tang, are a common species found in Hawaiian waters. These fish have a distinctive pattern of vertical stripes, making them easy to identify. Cleaning and preparing Manini involves scaling, gutting, and filleting the fish. It’s important to handle Manini with care, as they have sharp spines that can cause injury. Once cleaned, Manini can be cooked using methods such as steaming, grilling, or searing.

Octopus (Tako/Taco)

Octopus, also referred to as Tako or Taco in Hawaiian, is a delicacy enjoyed by many seafood lovers. Cleaning and preparing octopus involves removing the head, ink sac, internal organs, and skin. Octopus has a unique texture that requires proper cooking techniques to achieve tenderness. It can be prepared in various ways, such as grilling, boiling, or stir-frying. It’s important to tenderize the octopus before cooking to enhance its texture and flavor.

Cleaning Tools

To clean and prepare fish effectively, you’ll need a set of reliable cleaning tools. Some essential tools include a sharp fillet knife, scaling tool, cutting board, and a bucket or container for discarding waste. It’s essential to keep your tools clean and sharp for efficient and safe cleaning. Remember to handle the sharp edges of the tools with caution to avoid accidents.

Scaling the Fish

Scaling is the process of removing the fish’s scales, which are the small, overlapping plates on its skin. Scaling helps improve the fish’s appearance and eliminates any dirt or impurities that may be stuck to the scales. To scale a fish, hold the fish firmly by its tail and scrape the scales using a scaling tool or the back of a knife. Work from the tail towards the head, focusing on one side of the fish at a time. Make sure to remove all the scales before proceeding to the next step.

Filleting the Fish

Filleting involves removing the fish’s flesh from its skeleton, creating boneless fillets ready for cooking. Start by making a deep vertical cut behind the fish’s gills, ensuring the knife reaches the backbone. Then, following the fish’s backbone, trace the knife’s edge along one side, separating the fillet from the ribcage. Repeat the same process on the other side to obtain two fillets. Remember to use smooth, controlled strokes when filleting and maintain a firm grip on the fish.

Removing Guts

To remove the fish’s guts, make a shallow horizontal cut below its gills, being careful not to puncture any organs. Insert your fingers and carefully pull out the fish’s innards, including the liver, stomach, and intestines. Rinse the cavity thoroughly under cold running water to remove any remaining traces. Properly discarding the fish’s guts is essential for hygiene and odor prevention.

Cleaning Outside

After scaling, filleting, and removing the guts, it’s important to clean the fish thoroughly, both inside and out. Rinse the fish under cold running water to remove any blood, dirt, or remaining scales. Use your fingers or a soft brush to gently clean the fish’s skin, ensuring there are no residues. Proper cleaning eliminates any unwanted flavors and ensures that your cooked fish tastes fresh and delicious.

Fish Cleaning Tips

Here are some additional tips to consider while cleaning and preparing fish:

  1. Work in a clean and well-lit area to ensure proper visibility and hygiene.
  2. Use a cutting board with a channel or groove to catch any drippings and prevent mess.
  3. Keep your tools organized and within easy reach to maintain efficiency.
  4. Dispose of fish waste properly to avoid attracting insects or causing environmental issues.
  5. Practice safe handling techniques to avoid injury from sharp fins or knives.
  6. Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling fish to prevent contamination.
  7. Consider wearing gloves to protect your hands and maintain hygiene.
  8. If unsure about the cleaning process for a particular fish species, consult a reliable fish identification guide or seek advice from experienced spearfishers.

How to Clean and Prepare Fish Hawaiian Style


Now that you have successfully cleaned and prepared your fish, it’s time to explore some delicious recipes to showcase your catch. Here are three mouth-watering recipes that will satisfy your taste buds.

Mayonnaise and Brown Sugar Combo

This simple yet flavorful recipe enhances the natural taste of the fish while adding a delightful sweet and creamy glaze.


  • Freshly cleaned and filleted fish
  • Mayonnaise
  • Brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) and prepare a baking dish.
  2. Place the fillets in the baking dish and season them with salt and pepper.
  3. Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise evenly over the fillets.
  4. Sprinkle a generous amount of brown sugar over the mayo-coated fillets.
  5. Bake the fish in the preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes or until the fish is cooked through and the glaze is caramelized.
  6. Serve hot and enjoy the delectable combination of flavors.

Oyster Sauce with Long Rice

This Asian-inspired recipe combines the savory flavors of oyster sauce and stir-fried vegetables with tender fish, creating a delicious and satisfying dish.


  • Freshly cleaned and filleted fish
  • Long rice (also known as cellophane noodles or bean thread noodles)
  • Assorted vegetables (e.g., bell peppers, onions, carrots, broccoli)
  • Oyster sauce
  • Soy sauce
  • Garlic and ginger (minced)
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Soak the long rice noodles in warm water until they are soft and pliable. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat a pan or wok over medium-high heat and add some vegetable oil.
  3. Sauté the minced garlic and ginger until fragrant.
  4. Add the assorted vegetables and stir-fry until they are cooked but still slightly crisp.
  5. Push the vegetables to the side of the pan and add the fish fillets in a single layer.
  6. Season the fish with salt, pepper, and a drizzle of soy sauce.
  7. Cook the fish for a few minutes on each side until it is opaque and flakes easily.
  8. Once the fish is cooked, add the soaked long rice noodles and oyster sauce to the pan.
  9. Toss everything together until well combined and heated through.
  10. Serve hot and enjoy the harmonious blend of flavors and textures.

Frying Fish Nuggets

This recipe is perfect for those who love crispy, bite-sized fish nuggets. The crunchy exterior and tender inside make it an irresistible snack or main course.


  • Freshly cleaned and filleted fish
  • All-purpose flour
  • Paprika
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Egg (beaten)
  • Vegetable oil (for frying)


  1. Cut the fish fillets into small, bite-sized pieces.
  2. In a shallow bowl, mix together the flour, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  3. Dip each fish nugget into the beaten egg, ensuring it is fully coated.
  4. Roll the egg-coated nuggets in the flour mixture, pressing gently to adhere the coating.
  5. Place the coated fish nuggets on a tray or plate and refrigerate for about 10-15 minutes to allow the coating to set.
  6. Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan or deep fryer to a medium-high temperature.
  7. Fry the fish nuggets in batches until they are golden brown and crispy on both sides.
  8. Remove the cooked fish nuggets from the oil and place them on a paper towel-lined plate to absorb any excess oil.
  9. Serve hot with your favorite dipping sauce and enjoy the delightful crunch of these homemade fish nuggets.

How to Clean and Prepare Fish Hawaiian Style

Conservation of Fish

As spearfishers, it is our responsibility to prioritize the conservation of fish and marine ecosystems. Here’s a look at the importance of fish conservation and a focus on the Red Ohu (Fish).

Importance of Fish Conservation

Fish conservation plays a vital role in maintaining the balance and health of marine ecosystems. Healthy fish populations support the overall biodiversity of the ocean and contribute to the functioning of underwater ecosystems. Conservation measures such as sustainable fishing practices and marine protected areas help preserve fish populations, their habitats, and the delicate balance of marine life. By practicing responsible spearfishing and supporting conservation initiatives, we can ensure the long-term survival of fish species and the overall health of our oceans.

Red Ohu (Fish)

The Red Ohu, also known as the Red Snapper, is a popular fish species targeted by many spearfishers. These fish are known for their vibrant red color, firm meat, and rich flavor. However, due to overfishing and habitat degradation, the Red Ohu population has declined significantly in recent years. It is crucial to limit the catch of Red Ohu and adhere to local regulations to protect their population and preserve this iconic fish for future generations. Additionally, supporting sustainable fishing practices and promoting responsible spearfishing can help conserve Red Ohu and other valuable fish species.

How to Clean and Prepare Fish Hawaiian Style


Spearfishing is an exciting and rewarding activity that allows you to explore the underwater world and catch your own sustainable seafood. By investing in quality equipment, such as the Gull Mantis Amber Lens Mask, Super Bullet Snorkel, and Cressi 2000HF fins, you can enhance your spearfishing experience and maximize your success in the water. Remember to clean and prepare your catch properly using the techniques outlined in the article. Explore different recipes like the Mayonnaise and Brown Sugar Combo, Oyster Sauce with Long Rice, and Frying Fish Nuggets to savor the fresh, delicious flavors of your spearfished fish. Lastly, prioritize fish conservation by practicing responsible fishing, adhering to regulations, and supporting sustainable fishing initiatives. By doing so, you can ensure the sustainability and beauty of our marine ecosystems for future generations to enjoy. Happy spearfishing!

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