Cleaning sucker fish is a relatively simple process that mainly involves removing all of the fish's scales. The most common ways to cook sucker fish are deep frying or by pressure cooking. Canning sucker fish is also an option. Scaling fish is necessary when leaving the skin for cooking fillets and does not require a lot of time or skill. Fish scalers can be purchased at any hunting or outdoors store; however, dull knives can also be utilized.
Clear an area to clean your sucker fish and put down newspaper to catch any scales or other fish parts. The newspaper can be wrapped up with the materials inside and thrown away later for easy clean up. Thoroughly wash the fish to remove any excess slime; this makes the fish easier to handle when scaling.
Scale the fish but leave the skin with a dull knife edge or with a fish scaler. Grip the tail firmly and scale until all are removed; run the knife or scaler across the fish surface from the tail to the head. According to the Bayou Bill website about cleaning, preserving and cooking suckers, the fillets should be shaved in the opposite direction of scales on both sides of the body "leaving the spinal column bones attached to the head."
Rinse the fish after one side has been scaled before scaling the other side. Use cold, running tap water to rinse the fillets and allow them to dry. Place each fillet on a cutting board skin side down and begin making crosswise cuts about 1/8 inch apart to cover the entire side of the fillet. Cuts should be made almost to the skin but should not be entirely cut through; the skin will keep the fillets from falling apart.
Place the cut fillets meat-side up on a cookie sheet and use large amounts of salt and pepper or to taste. Place each fillet in a plastic bag that zips, filled with a 50-50 mixture of flour and "finely rolled crackers." Shake fillets in such bags; use hot cooking fat to cook the fillets two or three at a time. See the Resources section for further information about cooking suckers.
To preserve fillets after dredging them, place them in plastic bags wrapped tightly with newspaper two or three times and freeze them. The plastic bags and newspaper helps prevent freezer burn. To pressure-cook sucker fish, remove the scales and chop the fish into balls either with or without the skin and spinal column bones. The fish can also be pressed into the newspaper when scaling to keep it in place.
When dropping fillets into a pan of cooking fat, take care not to splash yourself with hot fat to prevent burns.