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BLACKJACK

Electric Fillet Knives

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What do people think about electric fillet knives? Do they do a good job? Do they waste fish? Are they worth buying?

I've seen them used twice, once on walleyes and once on crappies. The guy doing the walleyes used it for everything while the guy on the crappies did the first few main cuts with the electric then used a manual knife to take out the rib bones and skin. Let me know what you think.

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I have a friend that uses an electric fillet knife and she does a good job and makes it look so easy. So we went out an got one I used it once and went right back to my fillet knife. I think it takes practice to get it to work right for you, but myself I'd rather use a regular fillet knife.

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After using the electric for years I can hardly clean fish with the old manual knives. I use it for the whole job from start to finish. I only use it on perch and walleye though. Not sure how it would work on panfish, crappie or gills?? Never keep any of those fish. It does take some getting used to, but once you've got it down you'll love it. Much quicker and nicer fillets in my opinion.

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Using the electric on a limit of crappies will cut your time by at least half. Takes a few fish to get used to the feel of the knife but if you know how to fillet, the principle is the same. One trick that I've always used is to leave the fillet attached to the tail. Helps to get the knife started between the meat and skin.

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I like mine a lot, but when the weather is nice I always find myself filleting fish outside on the tailgate of the truck and I don't want to mess with the finding an extension cord and what not for the electric knife. If they could make a cordless/rechargable one that would be really nice. I have never seen a cordless.....

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I've used a regular fillet knife for years but after seeing someone who is good with the electric, I'm starting to practice. I was out cleaned 2:1, with just as good a job!
I've also seen a battery powered (12v) in either Bass Pro or Cabalas, but pricey.

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I have used an electric knife for several years. I would recommend the American angler brand. It comes with a
8" blade but you can purchase a 5" for it as well. I find that I use the 5" most of the time. One trick I use for filleting crappies and sunfish is take an old dinner fork dull the tines on a grinder. Then use the fork to hold the tail of the fish on the cleaning board while removing the skin.

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Thanks for the advice, went out at noon and bought one of the American Angler types. Dusty, the old fork sounds like a good idea, I've struggled to hold onto fillets when taking the skin off in the past.

Another question, maybe dumb, but here goes. In the past when I've filleted, on walleyes I've cut thru the rib bones and taken them out later while on panfish I slowly cut off the fillet by going over the ribs. I assume that with an electric knife I'll cut thru the ribs on panfish, but do most people use the electric knife to take out the rib bones or would there be less meat loss with a small manual fillet knife?

Thanks

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I have a Mister Twister electric knife, and I love it. Its like anything you need to practice, you'll get the hang of it and wonder why you waited so long. I cut right thru the rib bones and have a little fillet knife that I use to cut around. Even with the 2 knives it is so much easier.

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[This message has been edited by wazz (edited 05-24-2001).]

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Blackjack- with the electric, after a little practice, you can feel the rib bones almost as well as with the manual.

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Back when I was guiding, we used to clean an average of 4-5 thousand fish per summer in the fish house, plus what I cleaned out on the lake for shore lunch.
With those kind of numbers, cutting through the rib bones was a no-no, since you'd dull your knife up too quickly. Didn't matter what type of fish, or what size, we filleted them all by going around, not through the rib cage. Skinning was done after all fillets were off. "Walleye races" were a nightly event (the tourists loved it) to see who could complete a walleye the fastest. Average times were around 15 seconds, but some were faster. An incomplete (missing too much of the tail meat) or ragged (no holes in the rib cage area) fillet, or a stray rib left in the fillet were all considered disqualifying factors. As you can tell, we were desperate for entertainment.
A mistake many folks make with skinning is moving the knife, and not the fillet. By keeping the knife nearly stationary, you can literally "peel" the skin off with one clean motion - pulling up on the tail section. That alone can save an amazing amount of time when doing large quantities.
Personally, although I've tried electric knives several times, I get done quicker with far superior results using my standard fillet knife (present model is a Kershaw blade trader model).
For those converts to electric - glad you like it! I've seen too many fish wasted over the years by folks who dislike the cleaning so much, they never get reasonably proficient at it. That's a shame, and I do think the electric has made cleaning easier (or at least more tolerable) to some.

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I have been using electric knives now for about 3 years. And yes I really like using them. Prior to the electric knife I used the old stand by Rapala knive that I had since I was 11 years old. Now the only thing I use the Rapala for is taking y bones out of northerns. With practice you don't waste meat(even Walleye cheeks are a piece of cake). Only thing that burns me is that I've gone through 2 knives in the past 3 years. I just purchased an American Angler ultra this time(it has a 2 year warrenty). Prior to that I had an Mr Twister(switch burned out)and an American angler(gears stripped out). Hopefully third times a charm. So make sure you keep your receipt!

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