Two simple reasons to own your personal Fillet Board at fish cleaning time:
After 10 years of research and field testisng TWO WAY Fillet® was launched October 1, 2016. Key feature: Holds your fish by the lower lip instead of the side, then snaps onto the board with fish on its side. Unsnap the clip with one hand and turn over for side two. No more abrasions or road rash on your hand and more accuracy because the fish does not move since it is anchored to the board. Feedback has been great! Many comments like: I wish I had thought of that, and Best fillet products in years. Already stocked in several sporting goods stores and marinas. They are working to expand this. Their on line store is: www.filletboard.com. You really should check them out. Their motto is: Fillet A Better Way®Click on this link to watch their pre launch prototypes in use video:
As with most tools for fishing there are a other types and shapes of boards that can fit your your specific needs. Three most common materials used in making cleaning boards are: wood, HDPE and plastic. HDPE (High Density Polyethylene and Polypropylene) is the material used most often in commercial cutting boards). Common features found on cutting boards include a slot or groove to hold a knife, a drip channel to catch fluids from the fillet process, and some offer a clamp to hold the tail for scaling. As you gain experience and explore these features you will be able to determine which of them are right for you.
The size of board chosen is based on sizes of fish you will most likely be cleaning. Most fish marina cleaning stations will have 2" X 8" inch wooden boards about 2 feet long. This shape accommodates the length of most fish. 15 inch fish are easily cleaned on a cutting surface of about 2 feet. The 2 inch thickness keeps your knuckles up off the surface of the table you are using. If you are not sure of material or size, just look around. Watch friends or a guide, see what they use and how they are used. There is nothing wrong with learning to fillet at a fillet station using their equipment. Fish Cleaning Tables. Then as you gain experience you are better able to decide which type and size of board is best for you.
Hand Crafted - Oak/Walnut
Various hardwoods have been used to make fillet boards. Oak, walnut and maple are common. Wood offers a firm surface that can be easily rinsed or washed off. The wooden surface is kind to your sharp knife edges. Various products are available to preserve your wooden fillet board and help repel water. Notice the groove around the edge to catch or trap fluids or blood. Perhaps if you have a good fishing friend who is also an excellent wood worker they will make one for you too, just like Ron - friend of PFT - has done. (Ron seen in picture holding northern pike below)
High-density polyethylene (HDPE) is a plastic made from petroleum by products. This process makes it possible to have fillet boards made from this substance which is impact, wear and chemical resistant. While abrasion resistant, HDPE surfaces are also kind to your knife edges and will not dull your fillet knife. There are opportunities to make items with unique shapes due to its ability to be molded. Most cutting surfaces that are not made of wood are made from this substance. HDPE is excellent for food preparation and is able to meet all the requirements of the FDA for that purpose. HDPE is also heat resistant and safe in dishwashers - easy to clean. HDPE won't crack or weather like wood can.
Team members at PFT all have their own fillet boards. We have the honor of having tested the prototype of TWO WAY Fillet™ fish cleaning system. Also, the wooden one mentioned earlier, an HDPE portable board and an HDPE Magma Single Mount Bait/Fillet Mate Cutting Table (31- Inch) that can be mounted on the side a boat for those times when you do not have a cleaning station to use, or it is too busy to use. Cleaning can begin while guests are wrapping up fishing, putting gear away etc. As you can see 4 legs of plastic pipe have been added for stability. Check out Magma Tables at the highlighted links in this paragraph.
As it turned out, Ron caught this fish using a chartreuse dare devil spoon but just when we got the fish to the net, the lure broke off. Of course we returned to the spot, and all tried to cast in there. The Pike did not learn a lesson because 5 minutes after catching it the first time, a different angler caught the same fish using a red and white dare devil spoon, and it still had the chartreuse lure in its mouth- what a great memory!
Check out these other pages that cover a variety of topics important for cleaning your fish.