I do a lot of catch and release catfishing and have a strict policy when people are fishing with North Texas Catfish Guide Service that all catfish over 10 lbs are released. This has been a standing policy for going on ten years now. That being said we also keep a fair amount of fish for table fare (when my clients want to) which means I get the job of cleaning catfish at the end of the fishing trips.
When you start operating as a catfish guide you have to learn to clean catfish quickly and efficiently day in and day out because if not, it can easily add hours to the end of your day. When I first started in this business I was “good” at cleaning catfish but I would throw myself into the “expert” category at this point. Most people are simply amazed when they see me start cleaning fish. It’s just something that through a lot of practice I have mastered.
Through the years I have seen hundreds of different traditional and electric knives for filleting catfish and have probably tried that many as well. I have used just about every brand, color and model that there is on the market. I know that without a doubt an electric knife is the only way to go and also know that many don’t hold up to even limited use.
Simple Requirements For Electric Fillet Knifes
I have a few simple requirements when it comes to an electric fillet knife:
1. It must be a 110 Volt Knife (standard wall plug). - I have tried everything from battery operated models to 12 volt models (hookup to a cigarette lighter or battery) and anything that is not a 110V electric fillet knife not only lacks the power that you need to fillet catfish but also will not last very long. I have had 12V and battery operated knives that failed on the very first catfishing trip. Now, I understand not everyone has access to electricity when you go to fillet catfish but I can tell you without a doubt that a 110V knife will last longer than anything else. You are much better off using a 110V knife hooked up to an inverter (plugged into your car lighter) than you are a 12V or battery powered model.
2. It must be compatible with Mister Twister electric fillet knife blades – These are the only electric fillet knife blades that I will use, period. These are hands down the sharpest and longest lasting blades and will outperform any other blades on the market ten times over. They also offer some major advantages over other blades (I will cover that more in my next article about how to fillet catfish in 15 to 30 seconds).
3. It must be durable and from a reputable manufacturer – Again, I have had electric fillet knives fail on their very first use many times. It has to be a knife that will hold up to a lot of heavy use and has to come from a manufacturer that will stand behind their product when something goes wrong. In the last ten years I have only had one American Angler electric fillet knife fail on me in what I deemed was not a reasonable timeframe (life expectancy) and they made it right.
4. It must be powerful – There are many different models that lack power to clean a fish quickly and they bog down and start heating up, when this happens the knife will fail quickly.
American Angler Saltwater MT3 Electric Fillet Knife – The King Of All Electric Fillet Knives
After using every shape, size and color of electric knife on the market I stumbled across the American Angler Saltwater Mt3 at Bass Pro Shops one day, this was probably six or seven years ago, maybe longer and have been using the American Angler MT3 ever since.
When I started writing this article I was unable to locate this knife at Bass Pro or Cabela’s but did find them the American Angler Saltwater Mt3 at Amazon.com and the price was actually slightly less than what I have paid for this in the past.
I keep two of these on hand at any given time and the current two that I am using are well over three years old and STILL GOING STRONG!
The blades that come with these knives are “fair” and can be used but once they wear out I would replace them with the Mister Twister 9” Replacement Blades (I replace mine straight out of the box). The American Angler Saltwater MT3 also comes with a carrying case but I throw the carrying case out and put everything in a Plano Dry Storage Box because the case the knife comes with is not waterproof and is also somewhat cumbersome to get the knife back into.
So what is so good about the American Angler Saltwater MT3?
- Air Vents – The air vents are different than what you see on most knives and keep them from overheating
- All Metal Transmission – Provides excellent power (which in turn keeps it from bogging down and overheating).
- 2 Year Warranty – This model comes with a limited two year warranty. As previously stated I have had to use the warranty twice and both times, they made it right, without any questions!
- IT IS AN ABSOLUTE WORKHORSE AND THE ONLY ELECTRIC FILLET KNIFE I HAVE FOUND THAT WILL LAST.
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The Trick To Getting More Life From Any Electric Fillet Knife
The trick to making an electric fillet knife last is to not let it get too hot or overheat. This is true of the MT3 also (although it does not overheat near as fast or as bad as other models I have used in the past).
If you are cleaning a lot of fish the knife will eventually start to get really warm (you can feel the heat on your hand). When this happens either switch knives (by keeping two on hand) or take a break and let it cool off. By giving it some time to cool off it will last much longer. If you have a model with a plastic transmission in it, it will fail quickly if you keep going when the overheating occurs.
Switch knives or take a break and let it cool off, and it will save you a lot of money in the long run!
*I have no professional affiliation with American Angler and have received no compensation for this review. The American Angler Saltwater MT3 is simply an excellent product that I have had tremendous success with, and is the only setup I will use.
What is your preferred brand and type of fillet knife? Tell us in the comments below! Then make sure you click the “Like” button and also subscribe to Learn To Catch Catfish.