Perfect Walleye Fillets with an Electric Fillet Knife

with Jeremy Smith

Perfect walleye fillets are the end goal of most walleye anglers. Of course, you’ve heard the expression there’s more than one way to skin a cat. Well, there’s more than one way to clean a fish! Fish cleaning is done with a traditional straight-edge blade, which is terrific when you’re in the field and for several different applications. However, I find myself using an electric knife more and more these days — especially for larger fish or when you’re going through a big batch of walleye. I’m going to show you right now how I clean walleyes with an electric knife like this bubble blade electric.

I’ve selected the smaller full-size blade for the electric knife, which will be great for cutting through.

Make sure the safety’s off knife is hot. We’re going just to come in and cut right behind the gill plate here leaning the tip of the blade towards the head to get that just little piece of shoulder meat there, and then we’ll come right back down towards the belly, so here we go, and I cut all the way down to the backbone you can see the knife just basically stopped there.

One of the most significant issues you’ll have when you’re learning to use an electric knife is cutting too deep. So as soon as you feel resistance or bone, that’s your indication to stop cutting. You don’t want to force the knife because it can cut through the backbone and you end up with a real challenge to clean the remainder of the fish.

We’re going to turn the blade basically at a 90-degree angle follow that backbone down to the tail of the fish. Done. Now we’re just going to repeat the process on the other side.

I like to work close to me, so I want the knife to be as close to the edge as I can in the back of the fish. That way I can maintain that angle to run right down the back of the fish. If you push it too far forward, you’ll notice your knife will be at an angle and you’re going to end up losing that lovely piece of meat right along the back. So I always want to keep the fish close to you or the edge of the cutting the surface I’m going to go straight down. Done. Two chunks of walleye.

To get the ribs out, I turn it, so the ribs are facing away from me they’re going down it’s concave. I basically come down with the knife and then start to come up, and then I’ll be able to pull those ribs right out of there. Once I cut through the pin bones, I follow the edge down. Once you get the hang of it, this process will be quick and easy. I can remove those bones right out of there; all the ribs are gone, and now we’re going to finish it off by running the knife down the end.

Now, if you’re traveling with fish, you have to make sure that you’ve got skin on the fish. So if I was traveling with this fish, what I do is I’d stop cutting right about there and I’d come back, and I’d cut the hide like this, and I’d leave you only need a square inch on there, but I tend to go a little bit bigger piece of meat on the end that I’ve cut further back.

When I come home and I’m ready to cook this fish, just cut straight there it’s tough to get get started and get that skin off. Now I can basically follow the same process that I was doing before I leave the skin flat boom that comes off, and you can see that I’ve got a clean walleye filet that was legally transported, and now I’m going to get the pin bones out pin bones run right along through here you can feel them if you run your fingers back towards the tail I’m just going to run and cut right through here boom feel the top to make sure there are no bones in there the same thing along the bottom side and there you have it a nice little piece of walleye let’s repeat the process on this side we’re going to do the same thing we’ll kind of make that cut put down through those bones and I’ll try to use the knife the best we can. Once I get so far, I stopped cutting, and I push, and then I’ll peel those ribs right out of there — pretty slick.

Again the same thing, we are going to take the height off there you have it. Incredibly, an electric fillet knife cuts all of the meat right off the skin; you don’t waste anything.

Now pin bones see you those sweet there we go you can see how slick it is cutting with an electric filet knife if you’re new to cutting fish with one of these give it a try it just takes a little bit to get used to. Still, once you’ve gotten accustomed to cutting with them, it makes your life so much easier and fish cleaning that much better.

Perfect Walleye Fillets

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