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How to Fillet Fish with Rapala Knives (video)

Today’s anglers understand the importance of balancing a rich heritage of sport and enjoyment with putting a nutritious meal on the table. Now that’s what I call a shore lunch. The good news is fisheries can be a source of both pleasure and sustenance. The key is the wise use of the resource. In recent years the popular philosophy of catch-and-release has evolved into one of selective harvest. Where it’s perfectly fine to keep a modest amount of plentiful fish for cleaning and eating. Modern fisheries management encourages anglers to release larger fish to sustain spawning populations and keep a few smaller ones for the table. It’s a win-win concept. You can have your fish, and eat some too. At Rapala we couldn’t agree more. If you invest in fish populations by returning big fish to the water, your stewardship will keep paying dividends far into the future. And that includes a reasonable amount of fresh tasty meals to enhance your angling experience.

Hi, I’m Tom Neustrom, Professional Fishing Guide from Rapala. Catching fish is only part of the process. Cleaning and taking care of your catch is equally as important. I’m going to show you a couple of filleting techniques that work for me and I know will work for you. These are the three knives from Rapala that I use for most of my fish cleaning duties. For the larger fish I like the seven-inch blade. For lake trout and northern pike. For fish such as walleyes or bass I like to use this. And for smaller fish such like perch and crappies and bluegills I like the four-inch blade. I tell you what, like all Rapala knives, they are as sharp as they get.

There are several different techniques of cleaning fish and here is one that is really popular. You insert the knife underneath the fin and kind of angle it forward and down. Then you take the knife, insert it back and bring it all the way back. As you can see I only use about the upper part of the knife which is really important. You get a nice clean fillet. Then turn the fish over. And do absolutely the same thing on the other side. Bring the knife in, underneath the fin, cut down, and then make a nice clean cut, all the way down, all the way to the back. You’ve got two really nice, clean fillets right there. And as you can see, there’s very, very little waste here. Okay after you get your fillets off the main part of the fish, you just stick your knife in along the rib cage here and just work it back and forth real slowly. Just using the tip part of the knife all you want to do is take that rib bone right out. You have one nice fillet there with no ribcage bones in it. Take the other side of the fillet and do the same thing. Put it on the side here and just work that fillet knife right down the side. There you have it. Two pieces of rib bone there that you really don’t honestly need. Flip your fillet over, and just work the knife. And work it slowly. And you have one really, really nice piece of meat to cook. Take the second piece on the other side. Same thing. Take the second piece. There you go. You got two excellent fillets right there. Now that you’ve got the ribcage out of the fillet. If you feel down the center, right along the lateral line. You’ll feel a little boney area here. And that’s called the pin bones. And what we do is we take the knife and we make two incisions on both sides of that line, cut it right out, and you have a completely boneless filet.

With the smaller four-inch Superflex Fish n’ Fillet® knife it has that same flexing action as the larger models. It’s ideal for crappies, perch and bluegills. And like all Rapala knives, they are sharp, and sharp for life. Lay the crappie on its side and then go right through the anal opening like you do on other species. And you make the cut, go right between the fins. Make an incision on an angle such as this. Underneath the fin or you can even go on top of the fin. You want cut down. Turn the fish over. And make the same cut on the other side as you did on the previous side. Right underneath that fin. And you take the knife and you just follow it along. That backbone to the ribcage. Right at the top of the ribcage. Go down about two-thirds of the way, bring it right through the fish and then slowly just bring it back all the way towards the tail. Now what you want to do is you want to look at the meat. And you want to kind of peel it back a little bit. And work that tip of that knife right along that ribcage again. See how nice I mean this Superflex knife it kind of follows that ribcage all the way down. You’ll feel. You know you’ll feel it following those bones. But it follows it really nice and neat. Right down the side. Take the fish and flip it over again. Same thing, just insert the knife along the top. Turn it towards you. Just follow that backbone with the tip of the knife. If you notice I’m only using about a half of the knife blade when I’m doing this. And when you get down towards the end of the dorsal fin. Just stick it through the fish and follow it all the way back down to the tail. Now again, kind of flap it up like this a little bit. You wanna take the knife so you’re kind of getting in on that ribcage. And you wanna pull it apart. Use that thumb and forefinger to pull it apart. And make cuts right along the top of that ribcage. The knife just kind of, kind of glides right through there. We’ve got two really nice crappie filets right there. As you can see we followed down the ribcage and there isn’t any wasted meat on that. The knife took care of it all. That’s the, that’s the thing about having a sharp knife like a Rapala Superflex. It takes care of all those situations for you. And then again with all other species it’s very similar. Is you take the knife and you cut right along the skinline right there. What I like to do with the fork with crappies because the skin is so thin. Is like to cheat forward a little bit and kinda work the knife blade through there. Now we did the one side, now we’ll do the other side. Again, don’t cut straight down. We cut at a little bit of an angle. Make sure you slide it right along the skin inching forward a little bit with the fork so it holds it really nice and firm. And what I like to do with the shorter blade knives I like to make a, a little smoother incision kind of go along the top part so I don’t lose any meat. And then just come right back down, finish it off. We got two really nice crappie filets. I’m getting hungry just looking at them.

For larger species like trout and salmon, there’s another way that we like to clean the fish. We get em and we gill em not only for transportation but later on we want to smoke em, steak em or bake em. I like to use that seven inch blade. It’s got that same flex characteristics as all the other Superflex knives that Rapala makes. It makes it ideal for cleaning these larger fish. With these larger fish that first cut is real important. You put it in the anal opening as you do in other species. And then just with that tip of the knife. You’re only using about an inch or two inches of the tip of the knife. Insert it in and make a nice thing cut, right between the fins and just follow right up the stomach wall. Instead of stopping with other species I continue all the way up to the bottom of the head of the fish. The flexibility of the knife is real important so you can get it inside and you can make a nice cut, real smooth. Then I go into the gilling of the fish. After you take the gills out one of the things that you want to finish it off before you get it ready for eating. Is you want to take that center blood line out. You can do it with a, a small brush or even with your finger. You just take your index finger and you sweep it forward, such as this. And it will clean that out a couple different strokes it will clean it right out. And then you’re good to go and it takes all that blood line right out. When you’re going to steak a larger fish like a salmon or a trout you can make the ah steaks any thickness that you want. You can make them thinner like an inch or two inches. I kind of prefer the two inches, they cook a lot better. And again all you want to do is you want to cut straight down, and just nice and firm cause you need to get through that bone. Sometimes you need to turn it up, a little bit, and then come back and cut it right through. You have one nice real chunk, real nice chunk of meat right there. After you’ve made your first cut then you go and you do the same thing. About two inches and repeat it the same way. Just cut down, turn it back up on top, cut down again, turn it back and cut right through. It’s that simple. And again you have a real nice piece of meat. Ideal for grilling or baking. The new Superflex series is just the latest in a long line of fillet knives and fish cleaning accessories from the folks at Rapala. Whether you enjoy the convenience of electric knives. The twelve volt cordless versions. Or if you prefer to clean fish the old fashioned way with a little wrist action and forearm persuasion. The result is the same. Perfect fish fillets every time out with a knife to suit every species and budget. Plus machine-washable fillet gloves that fit every hand and prevent knicks and cuts. Cleaning boards to hold fish firmly in place. And sharpeners to keep your blades on edge. Look sharp, feel sharp, fillet sharp, with fish cleaning accessories from the folks at Rapala. Tempered for endurance and precision. An expert Scandinavian tradition. Because the jobs not finished until the cleaning is done.

Rapala® Fish n’ Fillet® Superflex