How to Fillet Bass with Electric Knife: Smallmouth, Largemouth, or Stripers

Place the bass over a flat surface, and make an incision behind the gill plate. Turn the blade toward the tail, and cut through at a 90-degree angle using the backbone as a guide. Remove the fillet, cut out any rib bone left, and cut through the meat and skin to separate the skin. Use tweezers to take out pin bones. Finish by turning the fillet over and trimming the red meat.

Filleting white bass with electric fillet knife saves more time and effort. As a result, you can fillet several specimens without feeling tired after one or two. For example, I found it super easy to fillet approximately four to six hybrid striped bass weighing between 3-6 pounds and still have some battery left.

Tools Required

  • Bubba lithium-ion cordless electric fillet knife.
  • A trash can with a lid and plastic bag to keep the fish leftovers. If you’re outdoors, use a small bucket or a proper disposal container.
  • A cooler or a bucket with water and ice to preserve the filets in good condition.
  • A cutting board or any flat, non-slip surface. If you’re outdoors, search for logs or set up a cleaning station.
  • Tweezers to remove pin bones.
  • A scaler. (Optional)
  • A protective metal-mesh glove. (Optional)
  • A pocket knife or fork to hold the filet before skinning. (Optional)

The optional tools may be necessary if it’s your first-time filleting bass.

What Size Fillet Knife Should You Use for Striped Bass?

The first step to fillet a bass with electric knife is to assess the fish’s size. If it’s a short smallmouth specimen or spotted bass, 7” E-Flex and 9” E-Flex blades are ideal. For large striped bass, you might need the 9” E-Stiff, or even the 12” E-Stiff is a good choice if you need more leverage.

Here’s a chart with the recommended blade size and estimated filleting time based on the fish specimen.

Bass SpecimenAverage SizeIdeal Blade SizeEstimated Filleting Time
(mm: ss)
Largemouth Bass (Medium)10-20 In.9 In. E-Stiff1:10
Sea Bass (Small)12-18 In.9 In. E-Flex0:43
Spotted Bass (Small)4-8 In.7 In. E-Flex1:10
Striped Bass20-35 In.9 In. E-Stiff2:34

How to Fillet a Sea Bass with an Electric Fillet Knife – Step-By-Step Guide

Filleting a bass with an electric knife is easy and a lot of fun. Here’s how you can do it.

Step 1: Preparations

Find a sturdy base to place your cutting board or non-slip flat surface. Pour water and ice into the cooler halfway, and set up the trash can or trash container nearby. Wear your fish-handling gloves.

This filleting method doesn’t require scaling the bass, but you can scale the bass before filleting if you like. Here is how:

  • Hold the scaler firmly and rub it against the fish skin from the tail to the head. Repeat the process until completion.
  • Gutting bass isn’t necessary either, but it can prevent a mess if you’re unfamiliar with electric fillet knives. Use the knife to slice the bass from the anus to the head. Pull the cavity apart with your hands, and remove the entrails. Rinse thoroughly with water.

Step 2: Positioning the Fish and How to Hold the Knife

Place the bass on a flat surface with the belly facing you. If you’re filleting a large striper, make sure to have as much space available as possible. Grab the bubba blade by the handle by wrapping your hand around it. Use your index finger to pull the trigger and the thumb over the handle’s spine for more pressure.

Step 3: Use the Tip of the Blade to Cut Behind the Gill Plate

Bring the blade behind the gill plate at a 45-degree angle, and make an incision around the gills from top to bottom. Stop pushing the blade as soon as the blade touches the backbone to prevent cutting through it.

Step 4: Slice the Fillet

Don’t take the blade out after making the incision. Instead, rotate it to point with the cutting edge toward the tail. Place the knife at a 90-degree angle, and pull the trigger. Use the backbone as a guide to bring the knife down to the tail and slice the fillet out.

Repeat the process on the other side of the fish.

Step 5: Clean the Fish Fillet

Toss the leftovers in the trash can if you don’t have any use for them. Then, place the fish fillets with the meat side up. Hold the fillet with one hand or by sticking the pocket knife or fork in one of its corners. Activate the knife, and use it to cut out the rib bones. Make sure to angle the blade up to prevent messing up the meat.

Step 6: Skin the Fish Fillets

Make a small cut through the meat near the tail end of the fillet. Use your hand, pocket knife, or fork to hold the fillet at this point. Place the blade at an angle, and bring it 90-degree between the meat and skin. Cut through to the other end to remove the skin.

Tip: Turn the fillet around after skinning to check for any red meat. Use the knife to remove it if there’s any.

Step 7: Remove Remaining Bones with Tweezers

Rub your finger across the middle section of the fillet. It will help you spot the pin bones and use the tweezers to remove them.

Step 7: Cool Your Fillets

Place your fish fillets in a cooler with cold water. Additionally, freeze the head and bones if you want to use them as ingredients for soup or broths later. Clean your cutting board and workspace to finish.

Tips for Avoiding Common Mistakes When Filleting Bass

Follow these tips to fillet bass with electric knives efficiently.

  • The blade must be larger than the fish’s height to guarantee smooth fillet cuts. Use sharp knife in order to avoid tearing the fish’s flesh.
  • Knowing how to fillet white bass with electric knife perfectly takes time. Therefore, don’t fear wasting some fish meat at first. Over time, you will get better.
  • Waste Nothing. Bass heads make delicious soup ingredients. Use every part of the fish. Freeze them, and look for recipes to turn the fish leftovers into tasty dishes.
  • Wear your protective glove, and lock the blade after use. If you’re at home filleting crappie with a corded electric knife, find a spacious workplace.
  • Be aware of bony fins that could poke into your fingers. Many anglers prick their fingers while reaching for their catch. Consequences vary from minor bleeding to fish poisoning. Avoid this problem altogether by wearing filleting gloves while handling fish.


Do You Have to Descale Bass?

No, you don’t have to descale bass with an electric fillet knife. The blade and motorized handle are strong enough to pull through scales and skin. Consider descaling the fish only if you prefer eating filets with skin attached.

Do You Need to Remove the Skin From the Bass?

You must remove the skin from the bass if you prefer skinless striped bass fillets. While it depends on each person, skinning bass allows you to remove red meat. The fillets look better and are tastier. However, others prefer to fry the fillets with skin to get a crispy texture.

How to Fillet a Bass With No Bones?

To get boneless bass fillets, use your electric fillet knife to cut behind the gill plate at a 45-degree angle towards the head until you reach the backbone. Turn the blade to the tail, and bring it all the way at a 90-degree angle using the backbone as a guide. Remove the skin by cutting through meat and skin, and cut out any bone in the ribs area or fat left. Trim red meat if there’s any.

How Do You Get Red Meat Out of White Bass?

Once you fillet white bass, place the fillet over a flat surface with the meat facing up. Use the knife to cut through meat and skin to remove the skin, starting from the tail. Turn the fillet around, and use the knife to trim any red meat.

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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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