View Full Version : A question on filleting crapie

renagade redneck
04-28-2009, 07:44 PM
Hello everyone my name is Matt. I'm just getting into crappie fishing. Been a catfisherman for a long time. I can fillet a catfish in no time flat but yesterday I caught 6. 12 inch crappie got them home and tried to fillet them. At that point I realized I had no idea how to fillet a crappie (thought it would be more like a catfish). I may have done it right but the fillets seemed so small so I was wondering is there a better way to fillet them. any advise will be greatly appreciated

Thank You
Matt Searls

04-28-2009, 07:59 PM
slice down behind the fins, to backbone, turn knife towards tail. Stop at the base of tail and flip that fillet over and skin it out. Its about that easy thenyou just cut the ribs out and your done

04-28-2009, 08:16 PM
Use a sharp, sharp fillet knife and as FireFighter112 says cut behind the gills and ride the backbone all the way to the tail fin and flip back and ride the knife against the skin to get it off. Very tasty fried fish.

04-28-2009, 08:46 PM
Hi Redneck, Get you an electric fillet knife and keep the backbone towards you so you don't waste any meat. Cut down to the spine behind the head but be careful not to sever the spine and then turn the knife towards the tail. Angle the knife up just enought to feel the teeth barely tic the spine as you fillet towards the tail.
Cut thru the ribs where they connect to the spine and then continue down to the tail but "do not" cut the fillet free from the tail. Then get the knife started where the tail is connected and separate the fillet from the skin.
All that's left to do then is take a sharp knife and cut out the rib section from the fillet.
Remember that crappie are delicate, especially the smaller ones, so you are going to mess a few up while you learn to control the knife.

My wife and best fishin' buddy runnin' the knife!:)



04-28-2009, 08:49 PM
I just started using an electric filet knife and the process described above works well. I spent the last few years using a regular Rapala filet knife, thinking I would lose too much meat using an electric knife. Boy was I wrong. I am now getting more meat using the electric knife. Wife cuts the rib cage out of the filet while I go on to the next one.

Here are a couple of videos on how to do it. First one is manual:

YouTube - How2 filet a Hartwell Crappie (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQXIbS5Y-Qs)

I don't cut through the skin at the tail end of the filet. Leaving it connected before fileting the meat on the skin makes it easier to filet the meat off of it.

The second one shows how to do it with an electric filet knife:

YouTube - Crappie Fishing - How to fillet a crappie - 1 of 2 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykY6aVDm6Ck)

Hope that helps.


04-28-2009, 08:50 PM
YouTube - Crappie Fishing - How to fillet a crappie - 1 of 2 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykY6aVDm6Ck)

04-28-2009, 09:03 PM
I'm impressed by anyone who can filet a catfish. Those rib bones that stick out with a bunch of meat underneath them and that belly meat, particularly with a flathead are a lot tougher to me than a crappie. And thats not to mention the skin on a catfish.

04-28-2009, 09:13 PM
The best that I have ever seen filleting a catfish is Crappie.com member NIMROD. He can fillet a catfish with a regular fillet knife as fast as I can fillet a crappie with an electric knife!

Here are some cats that NIMROD guided Crappie.com members TJ Adams and Vince Gray on and filleted them in short order.


renagade redneck
04-29-2009, 07:32 AM
Thank you all for your help I will give it a try the next time out. That way sounds a lot eaier than the way I did it and no dealing with a bunch of scales.

04-29-2009, 08:30 AM
That was a great video posted by SteveJ. I've wondered why a lot of people switch to a regular filet knife to cut out the rib cage. After cutting the filet I just use that same electric knife and cut the ribs out with it. Saves a little time.

Eager Beaver
04-29-2009, 10:13 AM
One point tho is to practice on the smaller fish first and finish with the larger fish. You will mess up at first until you get the hang of it, but after you do it is very simple. I don't mind near as much messing up a smaller fish, than to mess up a larger fish. People want to help me fillet and they always want to start with the bigger fish. I tell them to learn to walk before starting to run. EB

04-29-2009, 11:31 AM
I can cut the ribs out quicker and better with a regular filet knife. I just filet 5 or so fish or maybe even all of them with the electric knife and then come back with the regular knife to cut out the ribs. That way I'm not switching back and forth.

J White
04-29-2009, 12:20 PM
Something that really helps me, is I wear a Rapala/Normark cut-resistant
glove on the hand I'm picking up and holding fish with.

Not afraid of cutting myself, don't think it would much stand up to an
electric knife anyway. I just find that it helps hold onto slippery fish,
especially after they've been on ice and gotten real slimey.
Doesn't hurt that it protects you from those sharp places on sides of their
head (gill plates?) and insulates your hand from them cold fishes too :cool:

04-29-2009, 01:35 PM
All the replys are good but there was an excellent one submitted.

Slabbandit, I'm really amazed with your reply. How did you train your wife to clean fish and does she have a sister?

04-29-2009, 01:40 PM
WHATEVER YOU DO, Don't filet them this way...

YouTube - Thank God He's a Scientist (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUnZ_lpPq2w)

04-29-2009, 03:20 PM
That was a great video posted by SteveJ. I've wondered why a lot of people switch to a regular filet knife to cut out the rib cage. After cutting the filet I just use that same electric knife and cut the ribs out with it. Saves a little time.

Do the same thing. Dropped my old old American Angler today and now it sure sounds bad but it still worked for 20 crappie.

04-29-2009, 03:37 PM
Here is one of my videos with a regular fillet knife... I have a couple of videos there , just search siscoken.
Hope this helps and welcome to our addiction.
YouTube - Fillet Rainylake Crappie (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fYg0Q59Igg)

05-01-2009, 04:04 PM
Hey Thanks For The Info, I Came On This Board To Find That, Man Am I Happy Now, Thanks!

05-01-2009, 09:06 PM
use scissors for the ribs, much easier than a knife

05-01-2009, 10:09 PM
I can fillet crappie but them catfish are to me something else.I caught 10 good catfish a couple of weeks ago and man i was having a time doing them but my wife was coaching me lol.My troube with the cats ,is the skin.Its alot of work to me ,so i skin them first then fillet .Tommy