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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In general, I am a catch and release fisherman. However, during our annual summer trip to Minnesota I have agreed to help with a fish fry for my Mother-in-law. Most likely, it will be panfish, sunfish and crappie. I have a 7inch filet knife, but I am thinking for such little fish a 4 inch might be better. Anyone out there with catch and cook panfish experience have an opinion?

Thanks,
JT
 

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On sunfish and such, I have always just cut the head off, gutted them, scraped the scales and fry the rest whole. I would still take the 7 inch blade though.
 

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I have cleaned hundreds of small sand trout and dozens of white bass with a 6”-7” blade. You will probably fillet a tad more meat using the 7”, and the process will go faster.

I have never tried what welderdude recommends, although I have head, gut and scaled keeper flounder for baking.

4” blade is more for bait use than filleting for consumption.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you Welderdude and Jeremy. Welderdude, I was going to do that exact thing. My father-in-law cut out panfish fillets last year and they turned out great but it was a ton of work. I think scaling and frying the whole thing will be just fine.
Jeremy, thanks for the advice. I cleaned some flounder years ago when I lived in Houston, but I don't remember if kept the skin or not. I do remember it was the best fish I ever had. Thanks guys, I am sharpening the 7" inch and going to work. I am looking forward to it.

JT
 

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I am with Welder - we always cut the heads, gutted and scaled them then into the fryer. Only debate we had was tail and fins on or off. They get so crispy I never saw the need but could go either way. And like Jeremy, I have cleaned a lifetime of white bass, crappie and back in the day - bass - always preferred the 7" blade and a good sharpener or iron or stone on hand after each fish. That more than anything will make the work much easier. A sharp knife makes all the difference.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Closing the loop on this thread. Had a great family vacation to Lake Koronis MN. We did not find the large Sunfish/Bream but where able to locate the white crappie. My brother-in-law and I where able to catch 15 and filet them for a great fish fry lunch the next day. I still have to work on my breading technique and oil temperature, but still turned out well.
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JT
 
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