5 Proven Fish Cleaning and Cooking Products

In addition to filling your shelves with fish catching gear, you should also stock these five proven fish cleaning and cooking products.

5 Proven Fish Cleaning and Cooking Products

I don’t know anyone who loves to fish and hates to eat them. For that reason, if you’re not stocking a good supply of after-the-catch products in your store, then you’re losing sales.

Here are five topnotch fish cleaning and cooking products for any bait and tackle shop. 

Rapala Fish ‘N Fillet Knives

My dad taught me how to fillet fish 45 years ago with classic, wood-handled Fish ‘N Fillet Knives, and the 6-inch blade ($24.39) he gave me as a kid I still use today. I’ve since added a 4-inch version ($19.99) for use with sunfish and crappies. The shorter blade is easier to control around the ribcage and backbone of smaller fish. I still use the 6-inch blade, however, to remove panfish skins from the flesh.

Made by Marttiini for Rapala for a half century, the Fish ‘N Fillet knife comes with a birch handle, leather sheath and sharpener. The knife shown here has a 4-inch blade. The photo at the top of this article shows the author’s 6-inch Marttiini blade and sheath that he received from his father 45 years ago.
Made by Marttiini for Rapala for a half century, the Fish ‘N Fillet knife comes with a birch handle, leather sheath and sharpener. The knife shown here has a 4-inch blade. The photo at the top of this article shows the author’s 6-inch Marttiini blade and sheath that he received from his father 45 years ago.

Edge-X Sharpener From Outdoor Edge

Before starting a fish cleaning project, I touch up my Rapala fillet knives with the handy Edge-X Sharpener from Outdoor Edge. I keep this tiny tool in the same kitchen drawer with my fillet knives; that way, I never forget where I put it. The Edge-X is inexpensive ($12.95), so I bought a second one for my boat. I don’t often clean fish in the boat or on shore, but it’s nice to be prepared with a sharp knife when the time comes. A few strokes of the Edge-X makes a noticeable difference on my fillet knives. A sharp knife is safer, and it reduces the total time of fish cleaning.

Edge-X Sharpener From Outdoor Edge
Edge-X Sharpener From Outdoor Edge

Pro Fillet Rubber Mat

After cursing my old cutting board covered with newspaper “system” for the last time, I went online to find a better fish cleaning board. I discovered the Pro Fillet Rubber Mat (27.5 x 9.5 inches; $25) and really like it. The first time I used it I was cleaning 10 crappies I’d caught through the ice. I brought the fish home in a bucket, and to prevent the fish from freezing on the lake, I’d covered them with snow. Even though I tried to remove as much snow as possible from each fish before filleting, each one was still covered in a thin layer. Of course, the snow melts quickly indoors, and combined with fish slime and blood, the project can be a mess on the kitchen counter. That’s where Pro Fillet Rubber Mat shines. It can hold 2 cups of liquid. I finished filleting the 10 crappies and then simply rinsed the liquid mess down the sink. Nice!

The Pro Fillet Rubber Mat is 27.5 inches long, so it will handle fairly large fish cleaning tasks.
The Pro Fillet Rubber Mat is 27.5 inches long, so it will handle fairly large fish cleaning tasks.

Shore Lunch Original Recipe Fish Breading/Batter Mix

For frying fish, Shore Lunch Original Recipe Fish Breading/Batter Mix is my favorite. Like the Rapala fillet knives I received from Dad forever ago, he fried fish for our family with Shore Lunch, and while I’ve tried dozens of other breading concoctions since, I always go back to the one they call “the old guide’s secret.” Some of my fishing buddies prefer the company’s Cajun Style or Beer Batter versions. Cost is minimal, so experiment. ($2.49 for a 9-ounce box, which will coat about 5 pounds of fillets)

Shore Lunch Oven Style Fish Breading Mix

When I want the same great flavor of fried fish without the mess, I grab a box of Shore Lunch Oven Style Fish Breading Mix. For some reason this product is harder to find in stores, so when I do see it on the shelf, I typically buy a half dozen boxes. This breading mix comes in a 6-ounce box ($2.49) and it will coat 2-3 pounds of fillets. The fish preparation process (dip the clean fillets in an egg wash, then coat them in breading) is the same as when frying, except you place the coated fillets on a lightly sprayed/oiled baking pan. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, then cook until the fish flakes easily with a fork. For sunfish and crappies, it takes about 12 minutes.

Baking fish is less messy than frying, and the fillets are delicious. It’s healthier, too. Here, the author baked enough sunfish and crappies for himself and his two hungry high school sons.
Baking fish is less messy than frying, and the fillets are delicious. It’s healthier, too. Here, the author baked enough sunfish and crappies for himself and his two hungry high school sons.


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