The rare occasion that I’ve kept fish I didn’t fillet or gut, I’ve just used a spoon to scale the fish — it works, but it’s not very fast. Evidently there’s a better tool to use than a spoon: a traditional Japanese fish scaler like this one from the Japan Woodworker.
Made from brass, so that it doesn’t taint the flavor of the fish, this 7″-long fish scaler won’t corrode over time either. The design removes scales rapidly without damaging the flesh underneath. A brass ferrule holds the 2″ by 1″ head fast to the beech handle.
You’ll pay around $8 for this scaler from The Japan Woodworker. They add a $10 flat charge if your order is under $200, so you might want to purchase yourself a nice chisel or two while you’re at it.
Brass Fish Scaler [Japan Woodworker]