Best Electric Fillet Knife For Crappie Fishermen


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While neither is perfect, the best electric fillet knife for crappie fishermen on a budget is the Mister Twister Electric Knife, and the best on a higher budget is the American Angler PRO Electric Fillet Knife. Both have solid reputations that have spanned many years. There are a few other solid options worth considering, which we’ll also discuss. Additionally, if you think you need a battery operated knife, keep reading for more about that as well. To decide which option is best for you, I’ll address the following 5 topics.

Our 5 Topics Of Discussion

  • Corded vs Cordless (Battery Operated)
  • 4 Best Corded Electric Fillet Knives
  • 2 Best Battery Operated Knives
  • Why To Use An Electric Fillet Knife For Crappie
  • How To Clean Crappie With An Electric Knife

Corded vs Cordless Electric Fillet Knives

I’ve never personally owned a cordless fillet knife, therefore I decided to dig in a little to see if they were right for me or not. What I discovered was that they actually hold up quite well when cleaning multiple limits (60 fish) at a time. I suppose that’s no surprise considering the modern advancements in battery technology. With that said, I decided to stick to a corded model for the reasons below.Although I’ve cleaned thousands of crappie in the past, I don’t keep as many limits for the freezer as I used to. Therefore, I wanted a knife that will last a very long time, and perform admirably on 30-60 crappie on an occasional basis. My knife needs to sit on a shelf for months at a time before I send it back into action. Such usage is not ideal for battery operated knives. That’s because batteries degrade over time, whether you use them or not.

Some pros and cons of each

If I were still crappie fishing all months of the year and more frequently using my knife, I’d probably opt for a battery operated model. That’s just my thinking, and how I made my choice. Battery powered knives are great if you’re going to be in an area with no available electricity and you need to clean a lot of fish. Even so, I’d probably just opt for a manual blade in those scenarios.Don’t get me wrong, I love cordless tools. I just don’t like rebuying batteries, unless I’m getting a lot of use out of that tool. You’ll get encouraged by the industry to purchase a cordless option. I think that’s mainly so they can keep selling you batteries.

If you’re processing thousands of fish, don’t expect anything you buy to last forever. Unfortunately, they’re all pretty much disposable to some degree. Fishing guides are typically lucky to get 1 year out of one, no matter how expensive it is.

4 Best Corded Electric Fillet Knives For Crappie

Below, in no particular order, are what I consider to be the 5 best options available for corded knives.

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1. American Angler Pro

* Click image above to view prices on Amazon

The most expensive of the bunch is the American Angler, but I’m not sure the price difference is justified. There seems to be some reputation holdover from performance of past American Angler knives. That’s just my opinion of course. Current reviews don’t seem to separate this knife from the others, certainly not considering the price difference. Lot’s of folks mention upgrading to the “shark” blade in order to make this an even more desirable tool. By the time you do that, you’re talking about a pretty expensive option.

2. Bubba 110V Corded

* Click image above to view prices on Amazon

Another option is the Bubba knife. It has high remarks and is more affordable, at the time of this review, than the American Angler. It’s certainly worth a look.

3. Rapala Heavy Duty

* Click image above to view prices on Amazon

Next up is the Rapala Heavy Duty Fillet Knife. At the time of this writing, it’s the cheapest of the 3 “premium” contenders, and it does get overall good remarks online. If not for the much cheaper Mister Twister, this is probably the one I’d choose. When recent reviews are considered, it seems like the Rapala outpaces the American Angler and the Bubba.

4. Mister Twister Electric Fisherman

* Click image above to view prices on Amazon

The best budget knife for crappie filleting is the Mister Twister Electric Fisherman. I have been using them for many years, and have cleaned many limits of crappie with them. The most I have cleaned at a time was 60, and the Mister Twister worked great. It does get warm, but that’s going to be the case with any electric blade, no matter how much it costs. When it’s all said and done, this is the best bang for the buck.

5. Hamilton Beach And Other “Carving” Knives

There are actually quite a few other electric knives on the market. Besides the versions mentioned above, there are also electric “carving” knives that are not necessarily marketed for fishermen, but supposedly perform quite well. Some people swear by just buying these cheap “carving knives” from a grocery store or Walmart when you can catch them on clearance. There are several brands that offer such knives that aren’t targeted to fishermen. Even though they are not “made for fishing”, they still perform the same task. Hamilton Beach and Black and Decker are the 2 most often carving knives mentioned. I have not actually gone this route before, but if you are on a tight budget, it might be worth a look. Don’t expect these to last quite as long as a higher end knife. These can be had for like $10-$15, especially if you catch them on clearance.

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So, what’s really the best one?

With all that said, my recommendation is the Mister Twister Electric Fisherman. The reason is because, in good conscience, I can’t recommend anyone spend more money than necessary for an electric blade. It seems like any of them produce the occasional dud, and even the expensive ones seem to wear out at a high rate. So, it’s a luck of the draw sort of thing.

How I came to this conclusion?

The cumulative review scores found online include older reviews, as well as opinions based on knives people purchased 10-20 years ago. That seems to skew the current day reality. When only recent reviews are considered, it appears that the complaints are across the board, regardless of brand. It seems that the old adage of “they don’t make them like they used to” strongly applies to this tool. For these reasons, I still think the best route is to opt for the cheaper and proven Mister Twister, which performs about as well as the high end models anyway, at least from my experience. The yellow and green Mister Twister continues to have an overall good reputation, even in the ones sold most recently. So, after MUCH RESEARCH, I decided for myself to stick with the old reliable Electric Fisherman. Only if I needed a cordless knife, would I purchase a battery operated model from one of the aforementioned brands. To date, I have not had a reason to do so. You may find yourself in a different situation. Therefore, lets discuss battery operated options as well.

Electric knives are safer since they won’t slip and potentially cut you. I don’t think I have ever cut myself with an electric blade. I can’t say the same about fixed blades.

Best Battery Powered Knife For Crappie Anglers

If you decide to go the cordless route, there are really only 2 good choices. You can go with the Rapala or the Bubba Cordless Lithium-Ion.

1. Rapala Cordless Lithium-Ion Knife

The Rapala comes in 2 different packages. One has a single battery and blade. The other, more expensive package has 2 batteries, 2 different sized blades, and a case for storage. Overall it gets pretty good reviews.

2. Bubba Li-Ion

The Bubba also comes in a nice package which includes a case, an extra battery and 4 different styles of blades. The rubberized grip of the Bubba helps you maintain a firm hold. There is also a gauge on the batteries that tell you how much charge is remaining. These are a couple of nice features. Seems like there are some common complaints about blade sharpness and longevity. Also, the handle is large, so this model isn’t ideal for those anglers with a smaller grip.

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Which one would I buy?

As mentioned, I don’t have a need for a battery operated knife, but if I did, I’d probably give the Bubba a try. It seems like a pretty nice package that gets consistent good reviews.

How To Clean Crappie With An Electric Fillet Knife

  • Lay the crappie on a flat surface.
  • To begin, use a 45 degree angled cut along the side, from the top of the head, and behind the pectoral fin.
  • Cut straight down until you feel the backbone, but don’t cut through the backbone!
  • With the knife still inserted and resting on the backbone, turn your blade towards the tail.
  • Work your way along the backbone, keeping your blade flat to the spine.
  • Stop just short of the tail. Don’t cut all the way through the skin at the end of the tail.
  • Use the blade of your knife to flip the fillet over, and away from the fish. It should lay flat with a small piece of the skin still attached.
  • Hold that connecting point at the end of the tail down with your fingers.
  • Reinsert your knife just beyond your fingertips and begin your next cut at the tip of the tail and move the blade away from your fingers.
  • With your knife flat, cut between the fillet and the skin.
  • You’ll be left with a fillet that includes the rib cage still intact.
  • Simply cut out the rib cage, and you’re left with a perfect boneless fillet.
  • Keep your fillets in a bowl of ice water until you are finished.
  • Freeze your crappie fillets submerged in water inside quart sized freezer bags .

Iced down fish are cleaner and easier to fillet than those that are not cooled down. Cooling down your fish immediately after catching them also results in a better end product.


The majority of anglers, me included, believe that every electric fillet knife on the market is lacking in some way or another, particularly in longevity. Sure, you’ll hear of outliers where a knife has lasted someone many many years, but that seems to be the exception rather than the rule. Because of that, I believe most crappie anglers should probably opt for the cheaper Mister Twister, and just replace it when it wears out, which it inevitably will at some point. Anglers that clean over a thousand fish in a year could at least consider the pricier options, such as the American Angler Pro. This is all just obviously my personal opinion, which is based on cleaning thousands of crappie.

CheersAugustus Clay

If you liked this article, you might also enjoy my write up here on the best minnow bucket for crappie fishermen.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>