I wanted to go over my best outdoor cleaning sink. I started building it a few years ago, and evolved into something special. I use my fish cleaning station daily for something.
I’m no builder with no formal carpentry training. I’m sure that lots of people can do a much better job. This is not a how to post, but it can help give other fishermen some ideas for their outdoor sink.
Starting My Outdoor Fish Cleaning Station
Before I had my fish cleaning station, I was cleaning fish out in the yard with the water hose. I spent a lot of time crouched down cleaning fish. Of course overtime, by back was starting to give me trouble.
This is when I decided to use an old sink we had. I built a small 2×4 frame, just to raise the sink up off the ground. I cleaned fish with a water hose in the sink for a short time.
When it was just the sink and the hose, all of the water just poured through the bottom of the sink. By the time I finished cleaning my daily catch, I was standing in a mud hole.
Improving My Outdoor Sink
It wasn’t long after using my sink for the first time, I realized I could do better. I threw down a little concrete in front of the sink to keep me out of the mud. It was going to get muddy but I didn’t need to be standing in it.
I also built out a 4 foot counter space attached to the sink frame. I needed some counter space to get the fish cleaned faster. It also helped to keep all of my stuff together, so I wouldn’t have to stop to go get anything.
Right after I laid a few inches of concrete I found out that my feet were still getting wet. The water falling out of the sink was splashing up on my feet when it hit the ground.
To fix the splash, I just added a splash guard with some old pieces of tin we had. I just nailed them to the front of the sinks frame. The splash guard worked very well. Now my feet were on 1 side of the tin, and the water was splashing down on the other. No more wet feet!
Finishing Up The Fish Cleaning Station
We live in Texas. When the temperatures get above 90, we start cooking. I added a small roof over my outdoor sink for shade and rain. This really was not hard at all.
I got 6 post and put them in the ground around my sink. Then I used a few 2×4 boards to connect them at the top. Then I casually threw a few pieces of salvage tin up on top and nailed them into those boards. Far from perfect, but it worked great.
I also nailed up a few more 2×4 boards near the top to use for shelves. The shelf space was needed for some of my other important fishing tools. Basically I wanted to keep my fishing stuff and other items nearby.
I also nailed up a few more pieces of tin on 2 sides to block some of the wind. When the temperatures start dropping, that wind block really helps. The hose water stays cold year round.
My hands are freezing cold every time I use the sink during the winter. Its my understanding that hands will be warmer if I used rubber gloves, so I may try that soon.
Avoiding The Fish Smell
As I mentioned, all of the water from my outdoor fish cleaning sink was running onto the ground. I was keeping all of the big stuff aside. I usually toss the fish guts over into our tree line for the raccoons to feed on. All of the fishy water and a lot of scales were being thrown down the sink.
The sink is also built really close to the house. Pretty much right outside the backdoor. I wanted to keep the smell down and recycle the water.
We like to have a unique and attractive home garden, so my wife bought some banana trees. We planted the banana trees right in the drain area of my sink.
Banana trees are perfect, because they require constantly wet soil with high amounts of organic material. So those banana trees are soaking up access water and eating all of the blood and small piece. There is no fishy smell at all. All of the water and fish pieces are helping our banana trees produce bananas.
Best Outdoor Fish Cleaning Sink
I built our outdoor sink mainly out of old used materials. The water comes from our garden hose. There is no special skills needed for anyone to make a similar set up.
Many times my house guest are just hovered around that old fishing station. We even set up the gas burner under the roof while we fry up our fish.
When I get home from fishing, my fish go straight to the fish sink for cleaning. I have everything already set up, so cleaning the fish is fast and easy.
After the fish are cleaned, I can just spray the sink down with the water hose. Cleaning up is always fast.
I also don’t have to worry about making a mess. Every time I use the sink, I’m feeding the banana trees. In the spring and the summer, we smell the leaves from the banana trees. They make our whole yard smell like a tropical island.
Weird thing is that even in the winter and fall, we do not smell the fishy water. Its just not a problem what so ever.
I also can use the fishing sink to take some amazing photos for my website. All of my fish fit on the counter, I really never need to lay them out anywhere else to take quick pictures.
You can find multiple pictures of our fish sink all over this site. It’s just the easiest place to line up all of our crappie for a photo shoot.
By far this has been the best outdoor fish cleaning sink for our families needs. No regrets for our time spent or materials. It’s has been an incredibly useful backyard feature.
Build Your Own Outdoor Fish Cleaning Sink
If you go fishing a lot or even cookout, I highly recommend building your own backyard sink. Our whole family has used my sink at some time.
My daughters use it when they are doing outdoor projects. We also use it to bathe our indoor dogs in the summer time. My wife uses it to wash her hands when she works in the garden and crafts.
My sink is also a hang out for my friends and family when they come over. People tell us all the time how they want one at their house.
We were really lucky to have all of materials on hand and available. The sink set up really did not cost us anything to build. We did buy a special water hose attachment so we can better control the water pressure at the sink. We probably spent about $30 out of pocket for the hose attachment and nails.
Im sure that if someone made a small investment and put more of an effort in design, theirs would be much better. This article is only meant to give some ideas.
The plan behind our design was to make custom functional sink best suited for our family. Our old rigged up outdoor sink is perfect for my fish cleaning and best fits our rural lifestyle.
We also want people to know that an outdoor sink is perfect for any home. Actually even if you don’t even fish, its still an amazing backyard addition. It makes anything you need to do with a water hose much easier – and enjoyable.
Wanting A Fast Easy Fish Cleaning Station?
When we were writing about our outdoor sink, we found some options online for sale. There are a few websites that sell entire fish station set-ups all ready made.
If you bought a full fish cleaning station, I’m sure it would be easy to install. Most of them will likely just connect to a water hose similar to our sink set-up.
I think that the only issue some people may have with buying a ready made outdoor sink would probably be finding level ground. If you set a metal table out on uneven ground, its going to wobble and probably drain poorly.
To fix any issues before they happen you can always place the table or sink on level ground. If your ground is uneven, you can lay a concrete slab, rocks or just even it out in low spots with dirt.
Some of the ready made fish stations can also be costly. If we had extra money to invest in something better, we would have. When we built our sink, it just wasn’t in our budget to buy a ready made sink.
If someone invested in a higher end fish cleaning station, It would likely increase property value. An outdoor BBQ or bar can also be a nice addition to match a new fishing station.