U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- In the old days, everyone processed their fish with a straight knife. Dad had us kids rubbing the fish with a spoon to remove the scales. He’d cut the head off, stick the knife in the A-hole and run forwards and pull the guts out. It was now cooked ready. You’d throw it in a skillet with 1-inch of grease and soon be enjoying a tasty meal of fresh fish.
In those days we had never even heard of filleting fish. Finally, I saw an article about filleting fish in an Outdoor magazine but dad told us it wasted too much meat. Then around 40 yrs. ago I hired a striper guide on Lake Texoma. At the end of the day, he filleted our fish and had us remove the skin with a straight knife. It’s been so long ago I can’t even remember if he used a straight knife or an electric knife to fillet our catch.
He didn’t do to Bueno of a job filleting which re-enforced dad’s warnings of doom & gloom so I never filleted any on my own. Then later we encountered guides that did know what they were doing so my brother Eddy and I made the switch.
But I did my filleting with a straight knife. I didn’t own an electric knife much less a nice one like a Mister Twister Electric Fisherman Fillet Knife until years later. But finally, I broke down and had to get my own electric fillet knife. And by chance, the one I bought was the exact one that we’re going to be talking about today.
What made me break down and switch over to an electric fillet knife is that here in Idaho my wife and I or my daughter and I regularly catch over 200 crappie per trip. Sure, we may throwback 50 small ones but still, it’s a major pain to fillet 150 fish with a 6-inch boning knife.
So, if you’re old school and still using a 6-inch fillet knife to clean your fish, read on. I assume you can spend as much as you want but for an MSRP of $40.10, the Mister Twister Electric Fisherman Fillet Knife is an economical and yet very efficient knife.
The first thing you want to look for when choosing a fillet knife is if it’s comfortable and not awkward to hold/handle. I love the Mister Twister Electric Fisherman Fillet Knife. It fits like a glove and is easy to maneuver. I have a brand X fillet knife and while I’m sure that it is a durable, well-made knife, it is like holding a shoe box with a blade. It is awkward to hold and work with so what good is it? The Mister Twister is super user friendly.
The next thing that I love about the MT fillet knife is that the blades are semi flexible. I can put a little pressure on it and get super clean bones (Clean bones means you removed all of the meat from them). Make sure when you choose a fillet knife that it has this feature.
If you’ve never filleted a fish, don’t panic. It’s easy. Let’s use a crappie for an ex. Lay the fish on its side with the head to your left. It doesn’t matter which side you start on but I always start on the right. I stick my finger under the right gills to stabilize the fish. Start making a cut straight down right behind the head. Angle the back of the knife so it removes all of the thick meat at the juncture of the head with the tip slightly angled back towards the tail end of the fish.
Next, you’ll start cutting back. Turn your hand so your wrist is facing downwards and while keeping the blade on top of the backbone, cut through the rib cage while sliding along the backbone towards the tail.
Stop right before you get to the end and flip the fillet over. Starting at the tail end lay the blade between the skin and the fillet. Press down so the blade is only slightly bent and push out resulting in the blade slicing the fillet loose from the skin.
Leaving the last bit of skin attached makes it 100x’s easier to do this step. The Texoma guide cut them off and had us remove the skin with a straight knife. That’s a pain.
When you’re done filleting your catch then use a Smith’s Consumer Products 6.3-inch Boning/Fillet knife to remove the rib cage by following the structure of the ribs. At the back, I cut forward along the rib cage so as to leave on the bottom of the belly meat.
As we close, if you’re an old-timer and have never used/owned an electric fillet knife please, try one out. Or, maybe you’re a believer but your current knife is worn out. Check out the Mister Twister Electric Fisherman Fillet Knife. They’re the most user-friendly electric fillet knife that I’ve tested. (When the blade gets dull sharpen it like you would any serrated knife).
About Tom Claycomb
Tom Claycomb has been an avid hunter/fisherman throughout his life as well as an outdoor 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 #ad for $.99 if you're having trouble.”