Fillet knife, salmon, and lemon on cutting board

How to Fillet a Crappie with Electric Knife: A Beginner’s Guide

Crappie fish is among the best-tasting freshwater fishes. They can be caught through angling or ice fishing, making them available for all seasons. Yes, you would probably have some good catches to fill your bucket, but what about cleaning them? And if you are using an electric knife, do you know how to fillet a crappie with electric knife properly?

Making fillets out of the bunch will require your energy and tedious hours of cleaning. Let’s accept it, not all of us have a good hand on the techniques required by fillet knives.

What if you were told that you can fillet an entire bucket full of crappie fish half the time when you use a traditional fillet knife with the help of an electric knife? That the process is actually quite simple?

Yes, it’s possible. Just follow through to know how.

How to Fillet a Crappie with Electric Knife

A fish fillet can be made with or without the skin, so make sure how you want your fillet before you proceed.

Prepare the Fish:

Prep up by setting up your cutting area with a proper cutting board and a bucket of cold clean water. Cold clean water helps clean the dirt and blood from the fish.

As soon as you open the fish and remove all the innards, slip them into the bucket of cold clean water to clean it. It is also necessary that you are familiar with the bone placement of the fish as you do not want to cut through some bones that could end up on your plate.

Choose the Tool:

It is essential that you have the right tool for filleting. Although there are many electric fillet knives available for different users, some electric fillet knives are rated best for the process. Some of the well-known electric knives available are Cuisinart CEK-40 Electric Fillet Knife, Rapala Heavy Duty Electric Fillet Knife, American Angler PRO Professional Grade Electric Fillet Knife, Rapala Lithium Ion Cordless Fillet Knife, and Mister Twister Electric Knife.

You must remember that there are models that come with two pieces that can be replaceable. You can also find cordless models while others are corded. When choosing an electric fillet knife, you must also check the length of the knife and the edge of the blade.

Also, try to hold different types of electric knives in your hand to feel the grip. If the handle of the knife sits in your hand comfortably, then it will be easier for you to work. When holding a knife causes discomfort, then you will not be able to work and achieve the results that you want and need.

Know the Proper Procedure:

Once you are sure that the fish is clean and you are comfortable with the electric knife you chose, you can start filleting by following the steps below.

  1. Place the crappie on your cutting board horizontally. If you are right-handed, the fish head should be facing your left and vice versa. It is easier to glide through the meat when you are comfortable with your hand placement.
  2. With the electric knife’s sharp edge angled towards the head of the fish, cut in with a gentle pressure behind the pectoral fin of the crappie. The pectoral fins of a fish are located on either side of the fish, just behind the gills.
  3. For fillet with skin:
    1. If you want to make fillet with skin, you need to remove the scales of the fish before you start cutting your fish.
    2. Slowly slip the knife horizontally while holding down the fish gently to cut through.
    3. Remove the rib cage with your knife.
    4. You now have a fillet.
  4. For skinless fillet:
    1. Once you cut in, lightly press on the fish with your free palm and gently move your knife through until close enough to the tail. Do not slide completely through the tail.
    2. Flip the cut open.
    3. With light pressure, cut with your electric knife below the attached rib cage to remove it. Not cutting through the tail makes this step easier.
    4. From the tail, continue to cut until the fillet comes off.
  5. Fill the areas of the fillet where the bones were located to make sure that there are no pin bones. If there is, remove them.
  6. Drop the crappie fillet into the cold water bucket to clean.
  7. Repeat the same on the side.
  8. Keep your scraps aside.

Remember the Following Tips:

It is important to first get a grip on the knife rather than focusing your mind on saving the meat. Once you have set your hold on the knife, making fillets becomes easier as you have more control over the movement of the knife and your hands.

As a beginner, you will have some unequal fillets, or there would be more meat left on the bone than your fillet. Also, it is expected that if it is your first time to use electric knives, you will not be able to move through easily. It will take a few tries before you are able to understand the electric knife’s movement. So, be patient.

At this point, you do not have to worry about wastage as you can use the scraps for making fish sauce, broth or stock. After a couple of attempts, you will be able to glide your knife through effectively. Remember, practice makes perfect and it is more valid for the use of electric knives with fish.


Although the process of filleting with a regular and electric knife is similar, regular knife requires a precise movement to work through to make the fillets. If you are working with a tub full of fish, then it will take you hours to clean up good fillets.

You will not only save time but also your strength if you learn how to fillet a crappie with electric knife. Once your hand is set on the knife, you will be piling up good size fillets in your bucket in no time. Just be careful when you use the electric knife.

So, make things easier for you and try new gadgets like an electric knife. You will be amazed at the result and effectiveness once you get the hang of it.

About the Author Knife Guru

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