TESTED: Scaler-Mate electric fish scaler

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<I>TrailerBoat</I>'s resident gadget man puts this new electric fish scaler through some rigorous testing

TESTED: Scaler-Mate electric fish scaler
TESTED: Scaler-Mate electric fish scaler

Scraping the scales off fish is one of those things you just have to do. It’s not that difficult but if you’re a reasonably successful angler it soon becomes a menial job that seems to go on forever. The rechargeable Platinum Scaler-Mate fish de-scaler shown here is designed to make this repetitive task a bit easier — and I’m happy to report it works.

I thought I’d put it through the toughest test I could find so I dropped by my local fishmonger, Nick from Rye Fresh Fish. Nick cleans fish all day so if anyone is qualified to make a critical assessment, Nick is the man.

When the unit is turned on, the four-bladed de-scaling paddle, or scaler head, rotates really quickly (so much for stating the obvious). What’s not immediately apparent is what will happen when you use the rotating blades to stroke a fish against the grain. Nick says when the Scaler-Mate first whirred to life he was wary of tearing the flesh on a salmon, particularly up around the gills, so he started working the unit very lightly. A light touch worked well and the scales lifted quite effectively, so once he’d determined that the de-scaler wouldn’t damage the flesh, he worked less gingerly and the scales started flying. As Nick got used to it he pressed harder and found that it took less effort than a manual de-scaler.

However, small scales are one thing, while a barramundi is another. Nick soon found that the Scaler-Mate wasn’t as capable when it came to large-scaled fish so he returned to his usual manual de-scaler. Still, for smaller scaled fish like salmon and snapper he felt that the Scaler-Mate was perfect. He has since told me that he’s going use it all the time for such fish rather than his manual de-scaler.

The Scaler-Mate isn’t waterproof and the instructions clearly state that it shouldn’t be used in a wet area. While this could be interpreted as being a problem in a boat, what this actually means is that the unit shouldn’t come into direct contact with water. A 12V accessory plug and a 12V lead-set with battery terminal clamps are available as separate accessories, suggesting the designers had on-boat use in mind. The advertising flash on the packaging even says "get one on board" which is where everyone will want to use one.

When you’ve de-scaled a fish, you’re going to be tempted to rinse the scaler head and guard. Note that the instructions say you shouldn’t do so. Nick did it before I could stop him and guess what? Nothing happened. I’m not saying it’s alright to do so, but as long as no water gets into the cooling vents in the main body, and as long as the working end is pointing down so that no water gets onto the body or motor spindle extending from the body, rinsing the blades and guard probably wouldn’t create too many difficulties.

Naturally the unit would have to be switched off while doing this to avoid slinging water all over the place, as some would almost certainly end up finding a cooling vent on the main body and damaging the unit.

I stress again, rinsing the working end with the unit switched off is something I might do occasionally with my own unit; the instructions packed with the Scaler-Mate say it should only ever be wiped clean with a damp cloth and should never be used or cleaned around water.

In summary, the Scaler-Mate is a very useful piece of equipment and definitely worth $129. The accessory power connectors mentioned are $19.95 each.
Visit www.platinumparts.com.au or call (03) 9768 2020 to find out where to get one.

RATING: 4.5/5

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