Saturday, June 22nd, 2024

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Saturday, June 22nd, 2024

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Steve Carney: Are electric fillet knives worth the money?

Steve Carney recently tested several brands of electric fillets knives and measured their performances to that of his “manual” version. For just a few fish, he prefers to skip the electric versions. But for a big batch, electric is where it’s at. (Photo by Steve Carney)

I remember my first electric fillet knife from years ago. I was frustrated when using it from the start. Electric knives back then had to be plugged in, and most of the time there wasn’t an outlet nearby. So I gave up on the electric knives.

Since that first experience, my trusty “manual” fillet knife had been working just fine.

But recently I field-tested several brands of electric fillet knives, and I’ve been impressed by how far they’ve come.

I tested the Bubba and Mershca brands and had decent results. Rapala’s electric fillet knives also are top notch.

The advent of rechargeable lithium batteries has certainly been a game-changer on many ice-fishing fronts, including for electronics and auger batteries. And they’re now pretty much standard on all cordless electric fillet knives.

Now there is no need to find an outlet and no power cord to get in the way.

Rapala makes several great units; as for the other two, I would have to give the nod to Bubba over the Mershca. The Bubba has a slender handle and is easier to maneuver, especially when filleting panfish. The Mershca’s handle seems too big.

After filleting several fish, you can easily tell which body style seems the most comfortable.


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Some brands feature budget packages with just one blade, which I find inadequate. You are stuck with a fairly heavy and wide blade, which works fine for walleyes and pike, but is too stiff for panfish.

I recommend the kit that features a selection of blades – from skinny, “whippy” blades for panfish to larger blades for bigger fish. Some packages offer an extra lithium battery, but in reality, one battery can handle hours of fish cleaning without a charge.

One thing about all electric fillet knives: If you are in a hurry, you can leave meat on the fish, and it’s easy to botch a fish or two. Take your time and your technique will improve.

If I’m cleaning just a couple of walleyes, my trusty old fillet knife gets the call. If I have a batch of bluegills or crappies, the electric knife comes out and gets the job done.

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