Tackle Reviews

Rapala R12 HD Lithium Fillet Knife Combo Review

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After filleting a couple hundred fish with the Rapala R12 HD Lithium Fillet Knife, I wanted to share my experiences with this new to market, high-end, cordless electric knife that makes cleaning fish quick and convenient from any location. The R12 Knife Combo comes with a durable EVA foam zippered case, two lithium batteries that will each hold a charge for several cleanings, a charger, two sets of PTFE-coated HD blades in 7 1/2-inch and 9-inch sizes and an owners manual.

(1 of 5)

Large Heavy Duty form Factor

I like the weight and grip on the Rapala R12 HD Lithium Knife. It’s not overly heavy or too big to fit comfortably in your hand. It’s long when you have a 12-inch blade on there, but even then it’s not unwieldy. The good weight gives you a good press on the fish as you guide the blade through the filetting process.

(2 of 5)

Quick clean cuts

The R12 HD Lithium knife blades oscillate at a good fast speed, giving you clean and smooth cuts as you guide the knife between the skin and the fillets. That results in more meat with less effort and helps you churn through a limit of crappie or other fish quickly. 

(3 of 5)

Smooth Close Cuts

The PTFE coating keeps the blades frictionless and helps them slide through the meat easier. That lets you get really close cuts on both sides of the fish so you are leaving just a slight thin layer of backbone on the body and maximizing the meat you get off each side of the fish. 

(4 of 5)

Clean many fish on one charge

My favorite part of these newer lithium electric knives is that you can charge a couple of batteries and cut fish nearly through a whole season and not have to worry with charges all the time. I’ve cut a dozen or two crappie on 5 or 6 straight trips and still had charge left in the knife battery. The R12 HD Lithium knife gives you a ton of convenience because now I clean my fish at a portable fish station without have to worry with hook ups, etc and discard of my fish guts easily and quickly. 

I personally have both a stand up fillet table and a large Rapala filleting board as well as a bucket that I carry with me or keep at the house. I often clean on the back of my tailgate, dump the guts in the bucket, get the fish washed up, clean up my mess and dump the guts in a garden or back in the lake at a fish cleaning station so I don’t stink up the trash.

This knife did heat up quite a bit while cleaning 25 crappie, but it didn’t affect performance of the knife, it wasn’t too hot to hold and the next time I filleted fish it was in perfect working order. I had seen people comment about the heat, but it hasn’t been an issue in my personal experience.

(5 of 5)

Thorough all inclusive electric knife kit

The knife set carries everything you need in a small convenient case and I throw in a few extra sets of the original Rapala Electric Fillet Knives as they also work with this new electric knife. I like to rotate my blades to keep the sharp longer.

You can find the Rapala R12 HD Fillet Knife Combo at these online retailers: