How to Fillet a Redfish with an Electric Knife

To fillet a redfish with electric fillet knife, you must make a cut from the head to the belly right behind the gill plate. Turn the knife toward the tail, and run the blade down to cut out the fillet. Then, remove the skin, bloodline, and any stray bones. Place the fillets in a container with ice or a zip lock bag with water before storing them in a freezer. Alternatively, you could leave the skin and scales on the fillet to cook it on the half shell.

Redfish is a species with particularly tough scales. Therefore, using an electric fish fillet knife with a serrated blade is the best way to fillet these fish. You will reduce plenty of time and effort. Plus, the blade won’t dull as easily as a manual knife would.

Tools Required

  • BUBBA Li-Ion Cordless Electric Fillet Knife with the 7-Inch Flex Blade.
  • A spacious cutting board.
  • A scaler, spoon, or pocket knife.
  • Pliers.
  • A bucket or container with ice and water.
  • A trash can or bucket with a plastic bag.

Filleting a Redfish using an Electric Fillet Knife – Step-by-Step Instructions

Filleting redfish with electric knife requires thorough attention to save the most meat. Follow these steps to cut out edible fillets with no bones, bloodline, or skin. You’ll also learn about a popular cooking recipe with the skin still attached, which may improve your redfish taste.

Step 1: Preparations

Set up a spacious working space with a cutting board of proper size. Make sure to have a container with ice and water nearby to preserve the fillets. Additionally, place a trash can or bucket with plastic bags near to throw away the carcass.

Step 2: Scale the Redfish Partially

Use a scaler, spoon, or the spine of a pocket knife to remove the scales on the areas where you will slice. These areas include behind the gill plate and the spine of the fish.

Step 3: Make the First Cut Behind the Gill Plate

Place the knife’s cutting edge behind the gill plate, with the blade slightly at an angle toward the head. Turn on the knife, and cut into the meat until you feel the backbone. Stop immediately, and avoid cutting through the backbone.

Step 4: Cut Out the Fillet

With the knife inside the cut you made, turn the blade horizontally. The cutting edge must point toward the tail, parallel to the backbone. Activate the knife and slice the fillet out using the backbone as a guide. Run the blade down to the tail.

If you intend to remove the skin, avoid severing the fillet entirely. Stop slightly near the tail to handle the fillet much better while skinning.

Step 5: Skin the Fillet

Grab the front end of the fillet, and flop it over. Place the knife at an angle to make a first incision between the meat and the skin. Afterward, continue slicing the meat from the skin with the blade parallel to the cutting board. Bring the knife to the other end of the fillet to make it skinless.

Since redfish have tough scales, you can angle the blade downwards while removing the skin. This way, you can reduce meat wastage.

Step 6: Remove the Ribs and Belly Flesh

Put the skin away, and lay the skinless fillet over the cutting board. Place the knife at an angle to cut out the rib bones from the center of the fillet. Slice the rib cage out by running the knife slightly upwards to take out the bones without wasting much meat. Afterward, remove the belly flesh from the fillet.

Step 7: Cut Out the Other Side Fillet

Flip the redfish to the other side, and repeat the process to cut out the remaining fillet.

Step 8: Preserve the Fillets Recently Cut and Throw Away the Carcass

Put the fillets in a container with ice and water until you get home. If you don’t have any uses for the carcass, toss it in the trash can. Otherwise, keep it fresh if you plan on using the head or other parts of the fish for soups or other recipes.

Alternative Method to Fillet a Bull Redfish

Bull redfish are bigger and tougher fish species. You must avoid cutting through the rib cage to prevent dulling the blade and creating a mess. Here’s how you have to fillet bull redfish specimens.

Step 1: Making the First Incision

Lay the bull redfish on one of its sides, with the head towards your non-dominant hand. Starting right behind the top of the head, make a diagonal cut down in the direction of the fish’s vent or anus. Cut right past the rib cage to preserve as much meat as possible.

Step 2: Slice the Fish’s Belly

Make a vertical cut along the belly of the fish, connecting with the incision made in the previous step and down to the tail.

Step 3: Slice the Fish’s Spine

Place the blade over the spine of the fish, connecting with the top end of the cut you made before. Slice through the spine down to the tail.

Step 4: Cut Out the Fillet

Lift the fillet from the spine slightly, and insert the blade, work your way from the top down to the belly and then to the tail to separate all the meat. Use the backbone as a guide.

Step 5: Cut Out the Fillet from the Other Side

Repeat the process to cut out the fillet from the other side.

Step 6: Remove Unwanted Impurities

Inspect the fillet to spot any bones or bloodline. Use your fingers or pliers to remove any bones left. Then, cut out the bloodline by slicing it from both sides.

Step 7: Skin and Store the Fillet

If you prefer your fillets skinless, separate the meat from the skin as instructed in previous steps. In this case, you may need to skin the fillets per section due to the larger size. It will also be easier to store them in zip lock bags to keep them in a freezer.

After removing the skin, you may need to clean redfish fillets thoroughly. Turn the fillet around to look for any red meat. Many prefer removing these areas before cooking. Others enjoy leaving the bloodline and red meat untouched.

Tips for Avoiding Common Mistakes When Filleting Redfish

  • Redfish are considerably large, and you may need to put some pressure on the knife to pull through.
  • Wear your protective fillet glove to avoid accidents while cleaning redfish with an electric knife.
  • These species have strong scales, which can easily dull a knife. Make sure to use electric knives with serrated blades to rip through the scales with ease.
  • Watch for any meat you can salvage. The top of the head and cheeks have some meat that you can cut out. Heads and carcasses may make good ingredients for soups and other recipes.


How do you fillet a redfish on a half shell?

Redfish on the half shell means that you cook the fillets without removing the skin or scales, usually on a grill or inside the oven. People prefer this cooking method alleging that it will deliver a better taste than frying the fillet skinless. They argue that the skin forms a shell-like layer, and the fillet resembles a lobster tail. The meat ends up whiter and puffier.

Do you need to remove the bloodline from the redfish?

Removing the bloodline from redfish is optional. Most anglers will remove it, whereas others prefer leaving it to get a sweeter taste. If you prefer your redfish fillet without bloodline, remove it by making a cut on each side of the bloodline. Then, pull it out using your fingers or pliers.

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About Tom Hammaker

Tom Hammaker is a freelance copywriter with a specialty in advertorial blog posts. He’s worked with small local business owners and taken on larger projects with clients like Proctor and Gamble. He wrote his first direct marketing piece when he was a jobless teenager back in high school. It was a flyer for a landscaping business he was trying to start. The result? The mailing absolutely BOMBED! When he is not working, he's either out on the water fishing or playing golf. You can find him here on LinkedIn or his personal website

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