USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- As a kid dad took us fishing a lot. In those days no one filleted fish. I’d never even read about it in any of our fishing magazines.
In those days we scaled our fish with a spoon and then made a cut from the “A-hole” up to the gills to remove the guts and cut off the heads and fried them up like that. If it was a big bass dad would cut it into ¾ to 1-inch steaks, making the cuts from the dorsal fin down to the belly line. I can’t even remember what kind of knives we used. For sure we didn’t have modern fillet knives like in the Buck Mr. Crappie Slab series.
When we got older we hired a striper guide and he filleted our stripers. Dad told us you wasted too much meat filleting fish and so we still cleaned fish the old traditional way. I probably didn’t really make the switch and start filleting my fish until 30-35 yrs. ago.
The guides all used electric fillet knives. But even after I started filleting my fish I was slow to switch over to an electric knife. Probably because the knives that the guides used weren’t very good and they wasted a ton of meat.
I’ll do an article in the near future on selecting a good electric fillet knife.
If you’re catching large quantities of fish you’ll want to use an electric fillet knife. For instance this year I’ve been slaughtering the crappie. I’ve been catching over 200 fish every trip. The other day Ron Spomer and I caught 241 in 6 ½ hours. To fillet that many fish after a hard day of fishing and not getting home until 11:00 p.m. can be a tiring task so you’ll want an electric fillet knife.
But, I still say everyone should have a straight knife for certain circumstances. There are a few instances when you will need one. For ex:
- You’re backpacked into the backcountry and want to eat a few fish for dinner.
- You’re out camping on a lake and want to eat fish for dinner.
- You only have a few fish to clean and don’t want to drag out an extension cord, electric knife etc.
For the above times I’ll just whip out my straight knife. So, what type of knife should you use? Myself, I like a 6-inch semi flex blade but a lot of people like super flimsy knives. Not a right or wrong, just what you like best. But I recently discovered the Buck Mr. Crappie Slab knives. They come in a variety of blade length’s and stiffness’s. Here’s a brief description of the options.
This one comes in two options. You can get a 4-inch or 6-inch blade. The MSRP is $35 and $38 respectively. The first Buck Knives Mr. Crappie Slab Shaver that I tested was the 4-inch and I thought that it was too stiff and too short to be a viable fillet knife. Then I discovered that the 6-inch model was for filleting and the 4-inch is for removing the rib cages.
Before I discovered what the 4-inch knife was for I tried to fillet some crappie with dismal results. But, by chance I threw it in the truck when Katy and I ran up the mountains the other day for a camping trip. We caught some little Brook trout and were going to clean them for dinner. I remembered that I had the 4-inch Mr. Crappie Shaver and whipped it out. It worked great for cleaning trout since you just pull out the guts, cut off the head and fry them. And also, since they’re thinner than crappie it works for filleting trout.
This knife also comes in two options. A 4-inch or a 6 1/2-inch blade. The MSRP is $40 and $45. ( half that price online) Again, you’ll want to do the filleting with the 6 ½-inch knife and the 4-inch knife is to be used for removing the rib cage.
All four of the knives come with a hard-plastic sheath. The sheaths have six slots cut in the sides so moisture can escape. The knives snap tightly into the sheaths so they won’t inadvertently fall out. I like the sheaths.
So if you’re in the market for a fillet knife, check out the Buck Mr. Crappie Slab knife line series you will like the results.
About Tom Claycomb
Tom Claycomb has been an avid hunter/fisherman throughout his life as well as an outdoors writer with outdoor columns in the magazine Hunt Alaska, Bass Pro Shops, Bowhunter.net and freelances for numerous magazines and newspapers. “To properly skin your animal you will need a sharp knife. I have an e-article on Amazon Kindle titled Knife Sharpening for $.99 if you're having trouble”