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Capt'nJosh

Filet Knife

28 posts in this topic

I am looking for a good filet knife that will keep its edge. Any suggestions?

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Captain,
If your willing to spend a little money
try a Leech Lake fillet knife available at Swanson's bait in Hackensack or Reed's Sporting Goods in Walker. I own one and several other people I know have one and really like em'. They have a sharp edge on both sides of the blade top & bottom. I've filleted many fish and they seem to hold up very well.They may be available other places ,but these are the two I know of.

Jigster

[This message has been edited by JIGSTER (edited 02-12-2002).]

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I've always used a Rapala 6", but that Leech Lake knife Jigster mentioned sounds pretty interesting. My uncle has always used a regular kitchen electric knife. The trick he says is to use a pointed tip blade for cutting through the skin and rib cage, then change to the rounded tip to fillet off rib cage and meat from skin. I've been trying it on Pearch and it takes some practice, But I have watched him wipeout a 5 gallon bucket of Blugills in 45minutes. Maybe a little off the subject, but could be something different to try. Just a thought - mike

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Couple of suggestions:
Chicago Cutlery 65S. The wooden handle is comfy, and they take a mean edge. Drawback is that if you clean a lot of fish, you will reach the point where the blade simply refuses to take an edge (I'm talking a couple of thousand fish). For the price, you can simply toss it out and get a new one.
Kershaw makes several fillet knives that are very reasonably priced, and the flex in the blade is just about right. I am currently using 2 different Kershaw knives - one is a blade trader model with a 6" fillet blade (my current favorite) and another that has a blade that I can extend out to 9 inches, for handling larger fish.
My son got a Cutco fillet knife last year, and that one is a real gem - but pricey. The steel seems a little harder, which means you need to touch it up a little less often. The flex in the blade is a bit stiffer than some, so it takes a bit of getting used to.

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We've used those VERY nice Wustof Trident knives that they sell at The Cutlery, Marshall Fields, etc. for years. (My mother was a professional cook for many a years and whined about knives until she got a set, so I was sold). I broke down and bought one of their filet knives last year, that German steel held an edge better then any knife I've seen. I had a couple of buddies try and walk away w/ it, because it worked so well on opener. picked one up on sale at The Cutlery at Rosedale 4 all of about $20

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Wustof Trident ... YIKES! I've got a sister and brother-in-law who have this fetish with "the best money can buy". Yeah, money is right. $20 is a bargain, and if you see another one at that price, pick one up for me.

I've used a number of fillet knives over the years. I've got a Chicago Cutlery 65S in my block, but it never fillets fish. The one I always go back to is a $15 Rapala 7 1/2". Why? When I fillet fish, the most important thing to me is a flexible blade and that's where it shines. You can spend big bucks for a knife with harder steel that'll hold an edge longer , but you sacrifice A LOT of blade flexibility. Now, if you don't care if you leave 30% of the meat on a fish when it's filleted, that's fine. But I figure the fish died so I could eat it and that means making every last morsel count. Stiffer blades just don't allow you to work around the ribs & spine or pull the fillet off the skin as well.

As far as wanting a knife that "holds an edge" goes, my experience tells me one of two things for about 90% of folks. Some think a knife should stay as sharp as new without doing much to it besides running it across a steel every once in awhile. Others just don't know how to sharpen a knife. If you use a knife, it gets dull over time, period. Some a little faster than others, but they all do. That sister and brother in law I mentioned ... they had about $500 worth of cutlery in their block ... and I'd put a well sharpened butter knife against any one of them. They just didn't know how to sharpen them.

I spent 5 summers teaching kids (and their adult leaders) how to properly sharpen knives at a scout camp. The principles were good, but the materials were way behind today's products. Do yourself a favor. Buy a flexible knife, learn how to sharpen it properly, and save yourself some money. I personally take a sick sense of pride out of the fact that I can sharpen a knife to the point that it doesn't even hurt when I accidentally cut myself. Opening night of deer camp each year, I sharpen the crew's knives. They've always been appreciative, but after last year, I think next fall they'll each get a Band-Aid too.

Everybody likes a new fillet knife. Why? 1)They spent money on it and its NEW 2) It's sharp, probably sharper than it will ever be again. This shouldn't be true, but it is. The last CC knife I bought: Pulled it out of the package ... and SHARPENED it.

Here's my recommendation:
1) 6 to 7 1/2" Knife (length depends on primary use, but the longer is a good all-purpose size) -- Rapala or other reputable brand for <$30
2) Gatco or Lansky sharpening set (~$25) -- FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS! *Bonus -- Use it w/ your other knives and save on razor blades!

[This message has been edited by Matt D (edited 02-13-2002).]

[This message has been edited by Matt D (edited 02-13-2002).]

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Matt's right knowing how to sharpen your knife properly is a big advantage. My dad has taught me, and after 30 some yeears of being a Manager of a meat Dept. he has been given some really nice gadgets. My favorite is a set of 3 different stones that rotate and hang over a trough that has oil in it. Always check your blade, use your finger nail and pull it across the blade from the middle of the blade across the edge. This will let you know if you've rolled your edge. I use Rapala's 4" and 6" knives, but also have a 9", these are the blade lengths not the knife length.

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I would just suggest looking at a Chicago Cutlery. I have had mine 16 or 17 years now. Cleaned 10's of thousands of fish and it still takes an edge. But, as someone posted earlier, it does get tougher to sharpen with time. I would suggest getting a good one to avoid spending your money on 10 cheap knives.ScottS

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I have the Chicago Cutlery fillet knife that comes in a leather sheath with a butcher's steel. I use the steel regularly to keep it honed. If I need to sharpen, I use the steel crock stick device with a plastic handle -- I'm sure it has an easier name than that. It works for me.

If I'm doing heavy cleaning, for example Lake Michigan trout and salmon, I use some old butcher knives I bought at a butcher shop. They put these up for sale at bargain prices regularly, and they're great knives. They will include the whole variety--boning knives, heavy butcher knives, fillet, etc.

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A couple of you mentioned that your Chicago Cutlery knives get tougher to sharpen with use (though this applies to all knives). Actually that's really not the case. I'm guessing what you call "sharpening" is running it across the steel. A steel will not actually SHARPEN your knife much. What it does is hone the edge (i.e. take out small burrs, scratches, and nicks). Over time, if all you use is a steel, your knife will get progressively duller just from use. The sharpened edge (taper) on it just wears down to the point that using the steel to hone it just doesn't do much good.

At this point, you actually need to sharpen it (i.e. put a new edge on it) with a stone, sharpener, etc. You'd wear your arm (and the steel) out before you ever got an edge back on it with a steel. I used to think the steel would sharpen my knives, and I think a lot of folks do in general. If a knife has a good edge on it, a steel will make it cut like a dream, but it won't help a knife with a bad edge much. A big reason is that it's very difficult to maintain a consistent angle to the blade on every stroke while running it across a steel.

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I have a Rapala knife and it works great- as long as you keep it sharp. A dull knife is a dangerous knife. If you have to put a lot of pressure on what your cutting the knife might slip and there goes your digit. There is a guy out of Ely who sell knife sharpening kits. I have one that uses a guide to sharpen the knife. You could take a old crappy knife and sharpen it right and shave with it. It is an amazing system. The guide keeps the angles perfect. The fella in Ely also has a book out called The Razors Edge. If you are unhappy with your sharpening ability get one. I can get my knives sharp enough to shave every time quickly and easily. No need to buy new knives. I remember a Indian guide I had with me in Ontario moose hunting. He had a gumball machine 3" pocket knife (seriously). He could skin a moose quarter 10 times faster than we could with our expensive hunting knives. He just was able to put the right edge on his knives. It takes a little time to learn the right way but it is well worth it. Especially when we use our knives as much as we do.

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Matt is right if you cant sharpen a knife your in trouble.I also use the cheaper knives with the real flexible blades.One thing I've noticed is the cheaper knives also are easier to sharpen.I've used the stones and all that to sharpen knives but I found something 2 years ago that blew my mined. The Edgemaker pro sharpener and honer A couple runs across these sticks and you cant believe how good they work for how cheap they are(like 8-9 dollars).

------------------
fishing fever guide service
fishingminnesota.com/fishingfever/
phone 218-327-2191
e-mail boser@grandrapidsmn.com

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I suppose I will catch some flack for this one but I can't believe nobody has mentioned the "Old TImer" knife. I have had mine for 3 years and have never put a sharpener on it. I have used it a number of times and have also used it to cut up deer the last 3 seasons. They only cost about 25 bucks. I have never used another knife that does such a great job on the bones.

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My wife bought me a Blakemore fillet knife a couple of years ago, from a certain bait store in Chisago City. What a beaut...my wife, not the fillet knife. The knife does have its good points though, one piece construction, vanadium steel(sp?), stays sharp a long time, very easy to put an edge on. Kinda pricey though, about $40. Wouldn't trade it for the would, but I do have a box full of other brands for which I'd be willing to negotiate a fair and equitable price.

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have used electic knifes for about 10 years and have converted many along the way, it takes a little practice to get used to but once you do you wont have to worry about dull knives again.I use them to clean perch,crappie,walleye,northern etc.Also have the 12v model wich works great for the fish house or shoreluch.It takes a very long time to dull the blades and when that happens just buy new blades.

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Jigster mentioned the Leech Lake fillet knife. These knives are top notch. Use the sharpened portion of the back of the blade when cutting thru scales or bone and the main blade will keep a razor edge thru many fillet sessions. The best thing about these knives is that you don't need to know how to sharpen a knife. Just bring it to their both at the sportshow and they will touch it up for you on the spot free of charge.

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Jigster mentioned the Leech Lake knives, these knives are top notch. Use the sharpened portion of the back of the blade to cut thru scales or bone and it will keep a razor edge thru many fillet sessions. The best thing about these knives is that you don't need to know how to sharpen a knife. Just bring it to their both at the sportshow and they will touch it up for you on the spot free of charge and you can bring your buddies with so they can buy their own knives.

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Best dang filet knife I ever had was made from a saw blade by a old knife maker from somewhere in Eastern MO. Stayed sharp and touched up with a few strokes of the steel.

Great knife, but I lost it in SD, someplace, bummer!

I would certainly like to get another if I had the guys name. I bought it at a swap meet back 15 years ago.

I have several now, all cheap, some work well but not great. One Rapala knife will NOT sharpen no matter what I do, it or me is hopeless. Most likely me!

smile.gif

------------------
"Ed on the Red"
Backwater Guiding Service
backwtr1@msn.com
fishingminnesota.com/ed-on-the-red/

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Electric knife is the only way to go. I was introduced to one when i started out as a deck hand on mille lacs launches. I had to clean 50-60 walleyes a night. The blades never seem to dull. I think i put new blades on after 2 years. I have used one ever since. Panfish take some extra practice. You need to make sure the handle part of the knife can be turned on its side when moving the blades across the fish. Meaning make sure you put the handle on the edge of the table. If you dont have any clearance for the handle to turn, the handle will hit the table as you try to turn it causing it to cut into the other side of the fish. Once you turn the blades on they cut so smooth you need to be carefull. I also use mine for carving birds.

------------------
MILLE LACS AREA GUIDE SERVICE
651-271-5459 http://fishingminnesota.com/millelacsguide/

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Quality is the answer. I personally use an electric fillet knife whenever I can, but I also can attest to the only knife sharpener that is hunter & fisherman friendly. I stumbled onto this sharpener 2 years ago & have sold over 600 to this date! It is made by Klawhorn Industries & is called the redi-edge. The sharpener is foolproof and I have sold to Meat markets even & all love them. I am a distributor of them, satisfaction guaranteed for the price of 22.00 & S&H. E-mail to davey@brainerd.net You will not be sorry!

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Electric, Electric, Electric. Once you get used to it. You won't go back to anything else. Personal opinion of course. But really think about it and give one a try. I fillet all my fish with it. I can do a bucket of crappies in a flash. And with the bigger fish it's like cutting thru butter! Does a great job!!

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Crappie hunter you are right. But for your good knifes, chicago cutlery, ect. this redi-edge sharpener is sweet! All of my friends have one. It also does a great job on broadheads. Check it out at klawhorn.com HAPPY SHARPENING!

[This message has been edited by Pwaldow123 (edited 02-26-2002).]

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Hey Guy's, I have many fillet knives, C.C., Cutco, Rapala, (like em) Anglers edge (so-so). I think the sharpener is the key. When I was at the SportsShow a few years back a guy at a booth says "Hey you got a knife?" I said yep and handed him my Swiss Army pocket knife. He was selling the Edgemaker brand of sharpeners (plastic handle with 2 metal sticks) he fillet'ed sp? a piece of paper with my knife. WOW! I was sold! So far I sold a half dozen of them after buddies see how easy they are to use and what a good edge they put on. I still haven't tried the electric route yet but probably will since everybody that uses them sings the praises.
Electric on the metro crappies??? Probably need a regular one for the precision needed wink.gif
Wustof Trident $20? Are you sure you didn't forget a zero? My parents have a $200 trident for fresh bread and love it.

Later,

Ferny.

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My grandfather, bless his soul, taught me at age 15 how to hone a razor. You wouldn't shave with a dull razor, neither should you fillet a fish with a dull knife. Keeping a filet knife sharp is just like keeping the razor sharp - you do it every time you fillet a batch of walleyes but never need to take much off the edge. This works the best for me. There is no fillet knife you can buy that doesn't need a a touch on a fine grained stone before use. Buy a quality knife but also get a good stone. My favorite stone is made of porcelain.

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