REVIEWED BY CAPT. MIKE SCHOONVELD
Electric knife? I used to be a manual knife purest and viewed fish cleaners who used electric knives to be people who didn’t know how to sharpen (and keep sharp) their conventional knives. Besides, I always questioned the sanity of someone who would stand on a wet floor and plug a hand-held appliance into a 120V electrical outlet. An additional “besides” is I often clean fish in locations where there’s no electrical outlet.
I still think the above is partially true. However, I’m no longer a purest. I now own a Rapala Lithiom Ion Cordless Fillet Knife.
There are two methods of cutting a filet off a fish. One involves cutting over the ribcage, but not through the ribs, then carefully cutting around the ribs until the boneless filet is freed from the fish. The second method (the one I normally use) is to cut through the rib bones, free the filet, then trim the rib bones from the filet.
This works terrific on the kinds of fish with relatively easy to cut rib bones like salmon or pike. A sharp filet knife will slice through salmon ribs with very little resistance. Other species, like walleye, steelhead, lake trout and others – not so much.
The changing fishery on Lake Michigan has made lake trout an increasingly important part of my catch and for a longer period during the season. “It may be time to give up those puritan knife opinions,” I thought – and then added, “if there’s a battery powered option.”
There are several brands of rechargeable knives and after looking at on-line reviews of popular choices, I chose the Rapala Lithium-Ion Cordless model. My experience with rechargeable drills and other tools taught me those li-ion batteries are much superior to nickel-cadmium rechargeable power-packs of a few years ago. They are more powerful and last much longer.
I love it! I (mostly) have given up my electric fillet knife bias. There’s still great satisfaction in producing a perfect filet with a good sharp knife and that’s still all I use for salmon and or other easy-to-cut fish. When I have a load of lakers to cut up – or a whack of walleyes – out comes the electric.
The battery is supposed to last 80 minutes. I’ve never run it down enough to even notice a power drop though I only recharge the Li-Ion power pack every four or five outings.
I really appreciate the trigger comes with a shotgun-like safety button and I always use it when I’m attaching or removing the blades.
These knives are widely available at retail and on-line sellers or buy direct from http://www.rapala.com.