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How to Fillet a Catfish with an Electric Knife

Out of the 3000 catfish species, a high percentage lives in freshwater. That makes them a top and tasty option for your dinner table. Since catfishes come in different sizes, you can cook different recipes out of one piece of fish. However, there is a challenge. In order to have the perfect dish, you must know how to fillet a catfish with an electric knife.

As similar to any type of fishes, catfishes can only be cooked properly and deliciously if you know how to cut them well. Since their meat is delicate, you cannot just cut them the way you want to. There are steps to follow and right tools to use, and one of them is an electric knife.

Why Electric Knives?

The popularity of electric knives is increasing day by day since they are more efficient and effective in cleaning and cutting meat. They are also comparatively sharper, but the top reason why many anglers and homemakers prefer electric knives over traditional knives is the amount of time they save.

If you are using a traditional knife, it will take almost twice the time it will take to fillet a fish if you are using an electric knife. Here is the catch though, as electric knives are a modern gadget, some people who are new to its use often don’t know the proper way of using electric knives.

Unfortunately, if you don’t know how to fillet a catfish with an electric knife, it can ruin the fish, and you may end up eating a fish with bones or a squishy fish. A good rule to remember if you would use an electric knife to fillet a catfish is that you need to have some patience and care because handling an electric knife is not that easy if you are new to its use.

Nonetheless, once you have a good grasp of the process, you can just zip through the pile of catfish with an electric knife. So, take time to practice and do the process slowly until you become used to it. So, whether you’ve caught a catfish, or just bought one from the market for dinner, here is how you can use an electric knife to fillet it.

How to Fillet a Catfish with an Electric Knife?

Before starting the process, make sure you have washed the whole fish and removed its innards. If you have a large catfish, it is also recommended to use a rope to hang it as it makes the process of filleting much easier for you.

Another consideration is not to skin the fish when it is alive. It is not only cruel, but it can also make the process harder for you.

The Process

  1. Remove the Head

The first step is to remove the head of the fish, especially if the size of the fish is small. Ideally, you should cut it off from right behind the gills.

To do this, hold the fish from the tail and keep the blade pointed towards the fish or across its body. Start cutting from behind the gills, and towards the head, and let the backbone guide your knife. Remember to apply gentle pressure as pushing too hard might damage the fish.

  1. Remove the Skin

For this step, you can use the help of pliers to keep the fish steady while skinning it. Before the actual removal of the skin, you must first get rid of the fins, followed by the tail.

Once you are done, the next step is to make an incision right at the back of the catfish. You can use the electric knife by starting from the top part of the fish to the bottom portion. If the fish is small, you can do it on the kitchen counter, but if it is a large one, it is better to make this incision by hanging the fish in front of you, unless you have a large counter space.

By splitting the fish in half, you can now easily use the electric knife to remove skin. Start with the first half, and then move to the other half. If you are doing the right thing, you would notice that the electric knife allows you to skin the fish precisely compared to the traditional knives.

  1. Fillet the Fish

Now, after you have removed the head, the tail, and the skin, the fish is ready for the actual filleting process. For this, use the electric knife to cut right next to the spinal column of the fish and continue until you reach the ribs. If you are new to the use of an electric knife, make sure to keep it steady since the knife is very sharp, so with a little extra force, you can cut through the ribs which can ruin the fish.

Once you reached the ribs, slide through the top part and move toward the tail, making sure that you are cutting through the area beside the spine of the fish. Once you are done, repeat the same process on the other side of the fish.

This is it! You are done. It may look like a challenging task if you would do it for the first time, but it only gets easier. In fact, after filleting two to three catfishes, you can do the process more efficiently and quickly.


If you’ve noticed, the process is almost similar to the fixed or traditional knife, but if you try to do the process with a fixed and electric knife, you will see that using an electric knife is more efficient and saves a lot of time. Once you have enough practice with an electric knife, you can do it in half the time you need with a traditional filleting knife.

An electric knife is also a lot easier to handle, and as most of the catfish species are large in size, an electric knife is recommended. Simply put, the electric knife is designed to make things easier for anglers or housewives, so why not take advantage of it?

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