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At its best, a full day of fishing can be one of the most amazing pastimes in the world. Sure, you can run into the occasional hassle: relentless winds and rain, forgetting to put the plug in the boat, catching a nasty sunburn, or even having a day where the fish just don’t seem to be biting.
For hundreds of thousands of anglers each year, though, a day on the water provides more than a fun getaway – it’s an opportunity for a meal.
Several times per year, I like to forget about the scales, breaking my “PBs,” or even the relentless search for social media-worthy fish and just catch a dozen-or-so panfish and pair them with some rice and veggies and cook out over the campfire.
As with many avid anglers with a modern, conservation-oriented mindset, I try to limit the numbers of fish I keep and clean each year, but pairing crappie, perch, and sunfish with a weekend of camping is fun, nostalgic, and even practical.
For folks who have tried to fillet their fish using a makeshift setup, you probably know how frustrating, time consuming, and uncomfortable the process can be. With some years on my name now, there are times I honestly would have rather thrown back a limit instead of grinding away awkwardly over the bench or general-use tables I had been using for years.
When I picked up the Bass Pro Shops Deluxe Fish Table, however, it was immediately a game changer.
Bass Pro Shops Deluxe Fish Table: A Thorough Review
Spoiler alert: there is a lot more “good” than “bad” in this review. For convenience, though, I will break the positives into sub-categories:
Overall Space and Design
For folks who fillet fish on a regular basis, you probably know how frustrating it can be if you don’t have adequate space.
The Bass Pro Shops Deluxe Fish Table provides ample space to clean your fish, though. It is 49 1/2 inches long and 25 1/2 inches across (and sturdy, to boot). It also comes with a built-in measure board that spans nearly two feet, so this table is ideal for pretty much any freshwater (and many saltwater) species you might be cleaning.
The table also stands a comfortable 37 inches from the ground, so this makes it ideal for both standing and sitting.
There are plenty of features (more on this below) as well, but the table never feels congested, if that makes sense. The design makes good use of its dimensions and is quite functional.
Wash Bowls and Sink
If there is one feature found on the Bass Pro Shops Deluxe Fish Table that completely sold me, it is the build-in sink and wash bowls.
When using other tables, I often have to rinse my hands, wash off the fillet board, and rinse off the fresh fillets somewhere other than the table. Now, everything is available within inches of the cutting board.
If you have nearby access to a garden hose and water source – something that will be available at most homes and non-primitive camping sites – then hookup is pretty easy. Perhaps one of the few “cons” I can think of is the fact that debris does not always drain easily in the basin, but clean-up tends to be fairly easy overall.
Trash Bag Holder
If the sink and wash bowls sold me, the trash bag holder pleasantly surprised me!
When filleting fish on other tables, one of the most frustrating elements was always discarding the remains. This usually either involved pivoting away from the table or attempting to scoop them into a bag I had rigged open nearby.
Now, I simply slide the fillet board over and slide the carcass into an open slot where the bag is tied.
This feature has been one of my favorites. If you invest in garbage bags with pull strings, your money will be well spent!
Overall, the Bass Pro Shops Deluxe Fish Table is a handy accessory for anyone who plans to fillet more than a couple times per year. Admittedly, I am not the type who keeps fish often, but even using this table every couple months has certainly been worth the investment.
Speaking of which, there are definitely tables that carry a lighter price tag – the Bass Pro Shops Folding Fillet Table and the Sea-Dog Fillet and Prep Table are both slightly less expensive but lack the features of the Deluxe.