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fish filleting knife

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I need ideas so i can go out and try some out
Quality is a premium

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post #2 of 6
Price range? Type and size of fish?

Horses for courses,
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
up to $500
snapper mainly, 32cm+ long
post #4 of 6
Stainless steel or carbon steel?

Flexible or stiff blade?

Narrow boning knife, utility-slicer or deba shape?

Prep time constraints?... how much waste are you willing to leave on the bones to sacrifice for speed?

Training?... western or Japanese techniques?

On a recent KF thread for high end long western filletting knife one link stood out as the benchmark:
Seamount Knifeworks Gallery
post #5 of 6
500 is a lot of clams! I think we can work with that.

There are three basic styles of filleting knives. Two western, and one Japanese.

The idea of a very thin knife is that knife angle is not influenced by the cut already accomplished. Consequently the knife edge is very nimble. The idea of a wide knife is that the knife tends to follow along the same line as the established cut. If you use hand saws you know what I mean. The mid-width knife falls somewhere in the middle. The thin bladed knives typically have a lot of radius at the point, while the wide knives have considerably less. Again, this translates as one changes direction more easily, and the other cuts long straight lines better. Flexibility is highly desirable for skinning the fillet -- as that with a little angle on the handle, knife will turn and run parallel to the board taking the skin and not the flesh.

Both western types are very flexible -- one has a very narrow blade similar to a boning knife; the other is a wider spear-point type blade similar to a slicer. I've worked fairly extensively with both types, and much prefer the slicer type. The difference in styles is more a matter of personal preference than inherently better design or specialization. The "fisherman's" filleting knife is a narrow blade type.

I forgot to ask whether your search is limited to the fisherman's type. If so, the picks of the big commercial litter are first, Falkniven (VG-10 steel); then second, Rapala. I believe Alaska Knife has a following as well. Then you get into the small manufacturers and semi-customs like the knives Jonowee linked. If I were in the market and could afford it, I'd buy a Falkniven. They're very good knives. Possibly a Rapala with a semi-custom handle.

I don't know many, but will say that I'm very impressed by a lot of Warther knives. Incredibly impressed when you consider their prices. Warther's are made from one of the 10XX series tool steels, which means they need to be taken care of, or will rust. Not the best modern choice for a saltwater fisherman.

Kershaw makes an unexceptional fisherman's knife, but Shun Kershaw makes a beautiful filleting knife of that general blade profile -- part of their "Pro" series. Very right (or you can get) left handed -- which is something I don't like. VG-10 steel with a "damascus" look cladding. I've never used one but would guess they're stiff for a knive of that type. No sheath available. Wusthof makes them in their Grand Prix II and Classic lines. Sheaths, typical Wustie quality. Global makes a "Swedish Fillet" knife -- Global shaped and filled handle of normal (unusual for them) size. Very flexible. Very good steel. No sheath. I'd definitely consider the Wusthof and the Global (if I could get a sheath). The Shun too, if it's flexible for skinning.

Of the more kitchen oriented knives, I prefer the medium profile. I've had a few and currently own two. A Forschner (Rosewood) 7" (flexible) Fillet and a Thiers-Issard Sabatier Nogent (carbon steel) 8". For umpteen years the Forschner was only inexpensive knife in my block and the only stainless one as well. I replaced it recently with the Sab. Both of these knives take extremely good edges very easily. The Forschner loses it more quickly than the Sab -- but it's a great knock-around utility knife, and doesn't cost much. The Sab is a treasure.

The Japanese style, called deba is a stiff, heavy wide-blade, similar to a western chef's knife. It's part of a two knife system you use if you're interested in attacking the filleting and skinning process the way a sushi-chef would. The other knife -- used for skinning and slicing fish (as for sashimi or sushi) is a yanigaba. A good deba and yanigaba mean serious change, and your $500 budget is adequate but not outrageous. Anyway, I'm not particularly familiar with many of either type blade profile -- and recommend going to Fred's Cutlery Forum or the Knife Forum to talk to people who are -- that is if you are interested.

Good luck,
post #6 of 6


I'm looking for a good fillet knife for smaller trouts. My price range would be $50-$150. I bought the Wusthof 7" fillet Classic Ikon but it wouldn't stay on my magnetic epicurean (a bit too thin w too heavy of a handle) plus I don't think I'll get use of it in the outdoors (kind of an outdoorsman knife with the sheath) so I'm sending it back. Maybe the more traditional shape would suit me and stay on the magnetic epicurean holder better.


I was looking at the Mac Pro 7" fillet. Any recommendations would be appreciated.

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