Lets Talk Fillet Knives

probate-rprobate-r Posts: 340 Deckhand
In the past, I have loved the old wood handled Rapala fillet knives... they held a razor edge and were relatively rust resistant when I left them in damp areas on the boat.  They were perfect for schoolie mahi, snapper, etc, however I need to buy a larger knife for larger mahi and tuna and am debating what brand, size and flex knife to buy.  The Bubba Blade 9" semi flex knife caught my eye (as did Bass Pro's knockoff version), but I'm not one for buying a marketed brand like that, so I pose the question to everyone.... if you were going to buy a single fillet knife for larger/ heavier fish, what would you buy? Size ,flex and brand... go!
Intrepid 370 - "My Favorite"

Replies

  • SuperMutuSuperMutu Posts: 409 Deckhand
    The Dexter traditional is worth a look. 
  • Jack HexterJack Hexter New Port RicheyPosts: 4,644 Moderator
    Dexter or Forschner/Victorionox
  • duckmanJRduckmanJR Posts: 20,162 AG
    The same ones you see on commercial boats and at fish houses... Dexter - Russel 
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  • kellerclkellercl Posts: 4,241 Captain
    I bought a wusthof and couldn't be happier.  The thing is a razor.  
  • PROFINITYPROFINITY Posts: 260 Deckhand
    The Wusthof is a nice filet knife. The Dexter is also a good filet knife.
  • pottydocpottydoc The thriving metropolis of Umatilla Posts: 3,453 Captain
  • GarysmoGarysmo Ft. Pierce, FloridaPosts: 969 Officer
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 3,442 Captain
    The two standards are the Forschner (also called Victiorinox) and the Dexter (also called Dexter Russel).  Choose either the wood or synthetic handles (the synthetic handles if you're planning on using a dishwasher to clean them...).  They're just reasonable quality butcher knives and come in many configurations.  Note that I don't use a traditional "filet knife since I'm working with a variety of species when I'm cutting fish for my customers... Everything from tripletail to snook, speckled trout to grouper... If all I ever cut was trout and mackeral - a Rapala would be all I'd need...

    I keep a "stiff boning blade in about 8" ,a curved "breaking blade" in the 10" size, and a scimeter in 12" to cover all my needs (the scimeter is only used on big fish like grouper or cobia...).  Most anglers will never need much more than something like a Rapala... There are other blades, a bit cheaper (Chicago Cutlery is a favorite of mine)  but the two mentioned first will never let you down.   Although they're "stainless steel" - they'll still rust if neglected.  Clean each blade in freshwater after use - then coat very lightly with any kind of vegetable oil and they'll last forever.... No motor oil on any blade working with food...

    Hope this helps

    (Now if only the Park Service would replace the cutting tables down at Flamingo - it's been more than a year and a half since hurricane Irma....).
    Tight Lines
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    (954) 435-5666
  • th19999th19999 Posts: 162 Deckhand
    I like the victorinox/foreschner knives. Yes they are more expensive than Dexter (i have a few), but I like the additional quality. Like the above poster you need a few knife shapes like a curved boning (both flex and semi-stiff), a few straight knives and a larger cimeter for steaking.

    One thing that I do is that I bring several knives with me fishing and I use separate knives for bait prep. I bring a few knives on boat and typically leave several in a bucket in the truck for filleting back at the dock. It is nice to have several SHARP knives that I will switch out wile filleting. 

    One thing: Get yourself a nice DMD diamond stone or a wetstone and develop a consistent sharpening technique. DMT has a few nice folding diamond that are handy and compact.

    Another tip: Keep your eyes out for knives that are on sale and get several different types and you will eventually have a nice arsenal for filleting, bait prep, steaking, and gutting. 
  • benwah22benwah22 Posts: 183 Deckhand
    I've used both Dexter and Forschner (Victorinox) knives. I prefer the Dexter knives because they hone better than the Forschners, in my opinion.  If you are getting one knife for larger fish, I would recommend the Dexter Sani Safe 8" Wide Fillet knive.  Here is a link to a commercial fish cutter at Wulf's in Boston that uses these knives almost exclusively when commercially processing the fish:

    Watch these videos and let me know if you think you need anything else:  https://www.instagram.com/paivabaracat/?hl=en
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  • evernicevernic Posts: 797 Officer
    The two standards are the Forschner (also called Victiorinox) and the Dexter (also called Dexter Russel).  Choose either the wood or synthetic handles (the synthetic handles if you're planning on using a dishwasher to clean them...).  They're just reasonable quality butcher knives and come in many configurations.  Note that I don't use a traditional "filet knife since I'm working with a variety of species when I'm cutting fish for my customers... Everything from tripletail to snook, speckled trout to grouper... If all I ever cut was trout and mackeral - a Rapala would be all I'd need...

    I keep a "stiff boning blade in about 8" ,a curved "breaking blade" in the 10" size, and a scimeter in 12" to cover all my needs (the scimeter is only used on big fish like grouper or cobia...).  Most anglers will never need much more than something like a Rapala... There are other blades, a bit cheaper (Chicago Cutlery is a favorite of mine)  but the two mentioned first will never let you down.   Although they're "stainless steel" - they'll still rust if neglected.  Clean each blade in freshwater after use - then coat very lightly with any kind of vegetable oil and they'll last forever.... No motor oil on any blade working with food...

    Hope this helps

    (Now if only the Park Service would replace the cutting tables down at Flamingo - it's been more than a year and a half since hurricane Irma....).
    You mentioned Chicago cutlery...a favorite of mine for years, where can you find them now...? please
    2802 Trophy WA, 2x225Merc EFI's...sunk unamed storm 12-09looking for boat #10
  • tankardtankard Posts: 7,031 Admiral
    I've been very pleased with my Forschners.. Victorinox, whatever
  • Alex from GAAlex from GA Posts: 1,366 Officer
    You can call me anything you want but I prefer an electric knife to filet with.  Yes I have Forschner and Russell knives and if I only have one fish to filet I'll use the Forschner.  I keep a 12v one in my boat.
  • tankardtankard Posts: 7,031 Admiral

    You will NEVER see an electric knife in a proper fish house.

    Just saying.

  • permit_mepermit_me Posts: 1,041 Officer
    i was given a couple of the Cuda brand knives and really like em. solid, super sharp edge after a few years of tripletail season. If they work well on tripletail they should suit most needs for medium sized fish.
    A keeping a knife sharp is essential. Never bought or tried a bubbba, but know a few who did and not so happy with dinged edges.
  • saltyseniorsaltysenior Posts: 868 Officer
    15%  use oddball brands for  recreational cleaning of fish..
    85%  use Dexter -Russel  for their livelihood
     
  • FlatsMatt96FlatsMatt96 ChuluotaPosts: 1,142 Officer
    I have a dexter and its killer. My dad has an older kershaw and it will cut through scales and bones without blinking. 
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  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 3,442 Captain
    You can pick up almost any Chicago Cutlery blade on E-Bay, used or new...
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • probate-rprobate-r Posts: 340 Deckhand
    Thanks everyone for the tips and comments.  I appreciate the time each of you took to put down your thoughts!
    Intrepid 370 - "My Favorite"
  • ChonggChongg Posts: 709 Officer
    Dexter. It ain't the only knife that will do the job, but it certainly does the job.
  • probate-rprobate-r Posts: 340 Deckhand
    By the way I ended up going with a pair of Dexters... an 8" thick fillet and a 10" curved breaking knife.  Could not beat the price from the local restaurant Supply company.... if they sharpen up as nicely as everyone says, I may get a few more.   For anyone following this thread, these knives can be found online at restaurant supply companies for as little as $7-10 and up.... that is quite a good value for a good knife.
    Intrepid 370 - "My Favorite"
  • IntheslotIntheslot Posts: 336 Deckhand
    Walmart, $4.

    Long and  flexible enough. 

    Bring 3-4 with me. No big deal leaving one at the cleaning table.

    Before everyone  starts hating, please allow me to remind y'all that  it's just more the archer than the arrow. U can see though my fillet jobs.
  • WideSpread25WideSpread25 Posts: 75 Greenhorn
    The GF's dad bought me a 9" Bubba Blade, and I've got to say it has been a solid tool for the past couple of years. 
  • tankardtankard Posts: 7,031 Admiral

    My friend's wife bought him a Bubba Blade and he hates it.

    To each their own I guess...

  • BodineBodine Posts: 2,972 Captain
    If you want to step up your game, get a Japanese Deba knife.
    Drastically different in size, design and weight, it is a wonderful tool.
    Now for a fish house, I'd have multiple cheap filet knives because they tend to grow legs, but for properly butchering a fish, a Deba is the tool.
    F the feds
  • Soda PopinskiSoda Popinski GrovelandPosts: 11,137 AG
    Just got a set of 3 Danco filet knives for my birthday I'll let you know how they do when i catch some fish, so may never find out..
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  • BarrellBarrell Posts: 1,193 Officer
    probate-r said:
    In the past, I have loved the old wood handled Rapala fillet knives... they held a razor edge and were relatively rust resistant when I left them in damp areas on the boat.  They were perfect for schoolie mahi, snapper, etc, however I need to buy a larger knife for larger mahi and tuna and am debating what brand, size and flex knife to buy.  The Bubba Blade 9" semi flex knife caught my eye (as did Bass Pro's knockoff version), but I'm not one for buying a marketed brand like that, so I pose the question to everyone.... if you were going to buy a single fillet knife for larger/ heavier fish, what would you buy? Size ,flex and brand... go!

    I would rather have a crap knife and a great sharpener then a high price knife with a  crappy sharpener.
  • th19999th19999 Posts: 162 Deckhand
    Yes sir to the post above. I could fillet a grouper with a sharp chefs knife if needed!
  • probate-rprobate-r Posts: 340 Deckhand
    Barrell,
    I agree with your point.  For father's day I was given a Wicked Edge sharpening system...  OMG that think puts a razor edge on just abut anything.  Whether some of my knives will hold the edge, thats a different story but between the few Dexter Knives I bought and that sharpener, look out fish..... now I just need time to get out and catch some fish.
    Intrepid 370 - "My Favorite"
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