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Filet Knife

What is a good brand/length/type of filet knife for your normal inshore species? My last trip to Florida I butchered my attempt at filleting my catches because my knife was a cheapy $8 rapala.

Also what is a good affordable brand/type of knife sharpener to keep the blade in good condition?


  • hossmosshossmoss Posts: 1,313 Officer
    A good Dexter Russell 8 inch should cover virtually any inshore need.


    Keep it sharp with a decent steel.

    I never scale. de-head or gut fish. Just fillet and skin. Fast and very little mess.

    The curved knife he uses at first is a deeply curved fish splitter. Some butcher knives are similar. It's like a scimitar splitter butcher combo. Pretty cool. I wonder who makes it. I use a heavy boning knife for the bigger stuff.

    CHEAP BAIT! Try our NE FL Bait Co-op: http://northeastfloridabaitcoop.com/

    2012 Cape Horn 31T with twin Yamaha F300s

  • FISHHUNTRFISHHUNTR Posts: 1,286 Officer
    X2 on the Dexter Russell, cant beat them for the price, I like the 7" has done everything from snook, snapper tuna and phins. As to the sharpener, this is the absolute best one I have ever used:
    This thing will sharpen knives shaving sharp everytime. Saw a vid the other day they sharpened an ordinary butter knife to shaving sharp in just a few minutes
    "FISHUNTR"- 2012 20' Pathfinder, Yamaha F150, HDS gen 3 9T
  • Lunch Money SurfLunch Money Surf Posts: 1,033 Officer
    What is a good brand/length/type of filet knife for your normal inshore species? My last trip to Florida I butchered my attempt at filleting my catches because my knife was a cheapy $8 rapala.

    Also what is a good affordable brand/type of knife sharpener to keep the blade in good condition?

    Nothing wrong with the 'cheapy' Rapala... have fileted and skinned more fish than I can count with that blade.

    Most knives nowadays will come with a sharpener that is good for tuning the blade. You need to tune the blade every couple of fish in my opinion.

    To get the bevel right the first time around go take it to a pro knife sharpener or buy something from Lansky
  • SHELLFISHSHELLFISH Posts: 106 Deckhand
    I like that first Youtube video and the bottle cap-broomstick holder! Never seen that before!
  • nbseafrognbseafrog Posts: 521 Officer
    That Rapalla blade should be fine as long as you're not trying to clean something too big like an AJ or gaffer dolphin. Their bones may be a bit thick for that thin blade. Do get a decent steel and learn how to use it on youtube. I was amazed at how fast and good a steel will bring that edge back when I finally learned how to use one. I carry a steel with my knife set now every time.

    You don't need to spend big money on blades. Years ago, I got a 3 knife set from Shimano that came in a blue roll up case. A 7" flex, 9" flex/firm and 9" serrated. This has been a great set for me, cleaning everything from trout to triggers to grouper to big almacos and dolphin. That serrated blade really comes in handy on triggers and bigger fish. Did I mention learning how to use the steel?
    Catch 'em up!

  • ontheedge5658ontheedge5658 Posts: 2,667 Captain
    X3 on Dexter Russell
  • Landlocked_Landlocked_ Posts: 590 Officer
    Dexters, for what you pay for a Rapala "Gift set" you have a quality blade, a good steel and knowing how to use it and you're IN. When using a "Steel", optimum angle is 22 1/2 degrees< always going in the same direction, going back and forth is canceling out each swipe. I have a wooden handled Dexter that was my grandmothers, and although I have some newer blades, as worn from "Old School" sharpening as it is< that's my " Go To" blade.
  • rysherrysher Posts: 381 Deckhand
    get a high carbon steel blade and you wont sharpen your knife as often.
  • Critter GitterCritter Gitter Posts: 125 Officer
    I use a Dexter witch I love! I also have one of the bigger bubba blades and that works great too. The grip on the bubba blade is amazing!
  • MOSMOS Posts: 64 Deckhand
    Investing in a good cutlery set is something ive always wanted to do. Working in restaurants for 20+ years ive had my share of good knives. I was too stupid to use any of these for hunting/fishing. My girlfriend (who helps me process everything) decided to upgrade me when we butchered the last deer with a dull paring knife. Took almost two hours. She picked up a victorinox set at bass pro for less than $100 ( about the cost of ONE of my chefs knives) we had the next one done in about 45. Cost isnt as important as a tool that is comfortable and stays sharp. Ive had some great $10 knives. If you fillet or butcher often good knives are indispensable tools and will make the process faster and more enjoyable.
  • MarsupcoMarsupco Posts: 13 Greenhorn
    What is a good brand/length/type of filet knife for your normal inshore species? My last trip to Florida I butchered my attempt at filleting my catches because my knife was a cheapy $8 rapala.

    Also what is a good affordable brand/type of knife sharpener to keep the blade in good condition?

    Dexter-Russell blades are the only way to go. I prefer the V-Lo grip 8 in. It's a bad blade.

  • lakemanlakeman Posts: 786 Officer
    If I need a new one Dexter or Chicago(i have both) come to mind but if I needed a new one, I might go to Sam's club and look at some of their knifes and I think they have a filet version. Having said that, I have watched people in the business of cleaning fish, use every thing from good quality butcher knifes, to high priced knifes of all sorts and sizes. Keeping them sharp or how long they stay sharp is the KEY and over all size is not truly important if you know what you are doing, like me I still have a hard time with flounder LOL.
  • fish_stixfish_stix Posts: 1,378 Officer
    There's a good reason most commercial fish houses use Dexter Russell knives. Try them and find out why!! Excellent knives at reasonable prices.
  • CrabmanCrabman Posts: 29 Greenhorn
    Dexter Russell Knives all the way. Besides being easily argued as one of the best knives for use with all seafood from bait to clams and oysters to fillet and boning AND they are made in the United States of America. Anyone with a foreign blade favorite should at least give some consideration to one of the oldest knife making companies in the U.S.
  • RottenRotten Posts: 465 Deckhand
    Dexter Russel Knives are great knives, If you get a wood handled carbon steel DR they will stain very fast if you dont wipe them dry right after cleaning them. Wipe dry and apply some food quality oil on them and they will last for years and years. I have Plastic handled Stainless Dexters as well as the wooden handled carbon steel. You can really get those carbon blades as sharp as a razor, 19 degrees is the angle you want for a filet knife. The stainless blades will stay clean but will lose thier edge faster than a carbon one.

    The two knives on top with the bone handles are Schrade Uncle Henry Filet knives, good knives but a little more $ than the DR's and they dont keep there edge as well as thr DR's. For the money The Wood handled Dexter Russel carbon Steel knives are the way to go!!
    Music is Life, learn to play and Live!!!! I also Love to Fish!!!
  • INTREPID377INTREPID377 Posts: 3,737 Captain
    I'll see your Dexter Russell and raise you a Forschner. The 8" curved "breaking" knife is all you need for 90% of your filet tasks. I've had one for over 15 years. Still in good shape, holds an edge and easy to keep sharp. If you don't lose knifes, spending a few bucks more to get something really good makes sense to me.

  • jriverajrivera Posts: 171 Deckhand
    The fillet knife the guy uses in the video is a dexter russell as well, heard him mention it in one of his other video's looks like a great blade. +2 on the bubba blade 9 in stiffie great knife with an awesome handle and backbone to go thru most fish bones !!
  • buddy dbuddy d Posts: 134 Deckhand
    Another opinion
    I have rapala, fiskers, buck, chefs choice, nor mark, homemade, etc etc
    Youtube search vincent russo
    I went with the dexter stainless and it's the real deal
    I thought I did a good job till I followed his suggestions
    The scimitar edge gives longer service between sharpening
    Stiff enough to cut the tough spots and not chip
    Give it a look
    Both the skinner and scimitar available from amazon
  • TeamTekeTeamTeke Posts: 984 Officer
    I'll see your Dexter Russell and raise you a Forschner.

    Rich- I'm with you on the Forschner knives. I have two large sets for the kitchen and the filet table. Its just like the Ford vs. Chevy thing...most anglers have their favorite.
    Happiness is the journey, not the destination.
  • DUCK-DAWGDUCK-DAWG Posts: 43 Deckhand
    Dexter Russell's are great knives for the money. I picked up the 6" Captain Russo cleaning knife about a year ago to try it out, and it's the best knife I've used on redfish. It's carbon steel so it stains (and rusts) if you don't clean it well, but it's extremely sharp and powers through tough scales and thick bones with ease.
  • draileydrailey Posts: 113 Officer
    May not be the knife........Just saying
  • Baits OutBaits Out Posts: 12,331 AG
    Having owned a wood shop for 20+ years, learning how to keep a keen blade is paramount. A dull tool is a very dangerous tool. If you can't shave with it, it ain't sharp.

    Over the years I bought just about every type of manual and motorized sharpening system there was. Most were junk.

    So far as kitchen type knives go, in my opinion, you must start with something with great steel. I used to think only ferrous metal was the way to go and still have a 12" chef's knife I bought used at a restaurant supply store about 40 years ago. It requires a comparatively good bit of effort to get sharp so I rarely use.

    Have changed my mind since I purchased my high carbon stainless steel, cryogenic tempered Henckels set. In over 10 years of use I have never "sharpened" these knives . . . but religiously run them across the steel a couple times before each use. This re-aligns the micro bevel and keeps them razor sharp.

    The set came with a little 6" filet type knife which I occasionally use. Since reading this post though I shall get that larger Dexter-Russel -- especially since the price seems to be very good.

    Like someone else said, it's nice to still have all ten digits in their original configuration.


    EDIT: Keeping them safely stored away from other tools is also critical. It only takes the slightest bump to ding the micro bevel.

    A southeast Florida laid back beach bum and volunteer bikini assessor who lives on island time. 
  • waldnerrwaldnerr Posts: 1,030 Officer
    Some may be interested in this - a high carbon steel knife designed by American Legacy but made by Dexter. I picked one up but haven't had a chance to use it yet. It is shaving sharp!

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