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By Ron Mc
#2294240
Been through them all. Bought my first wood-handle Martini-Rapala as a childhood lust buy at Gibson's.
Didn't really put it to use until later with stringers of white bass, and a lot on redfish and specs after that. I learned how to fillet on stringers of 25 white bass in the dark.
Good knife, takes an edge, they wear through and don't last a long time.
Still have a high-mileage example bought in the 90s stashed in a tackle box.

Somewhere around my 20th birthday, my dad gave me a Schrade. I would never take this knife to the salt, but it's been my white bass fillet knife for 40 years now.
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I've been through folding fillet knives because of the ease to transport.
Still have the Rapala folder stashed in a fishing bag, but it's frightening.
Still have the Spyderco fillet stashed in a fishing bag, but it's the wrong shape for a fillet knife.
The best folder I ever tried was Benchmade - it worked wonderfully, but rusted with fish blood, even with total rinse between every cut, and soap when I first got it home. It died on white bass - here my buddy's using it, filleting whatever he wants off my 25-limit stringer - it died and never made it as far as the salt.
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In the 90s, got tired of cussing redfish ribs on the wood-handle Rapala and discovered an electric knife just through redfish ribs was the way to go. As soon as I'm through the ribs, switch back to my good sharp fillet.
A few years ago added the Rapala Li-battery pack fillet and love the thing. It's slow and torque-y, the long blades are the perfect shape and length, and the battery lasts amazingly - charge it up at the beginning of the year, and it's still going at the end of the year. My charger died after first use, and I had to pay a bit to ship the whole thing back to Rapala for the warranty.

And here it is, my hands-down all-time best fillet knife, Knives of Alaska Coho - incredible edge, good enough resistance to salt and fish blood, Perfect shape and great flexibility - stingy fillets come from this knife.
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By SteveRetrieve
#2294253
I’ve been wanting to spoil myself with a nice fillet knife but my Dexter just keeps on keeping on. It doesn’t hold an edge all that well, but the steel is soft and it’s really easy to sharpen.

On a side note, having a high quality chef knife in the kitchen makes cooking much more enjoyable, in my opinion. I got a Kramer about 10 years ago and still use it almost every day. Been eyeing a few Japanese knives lately.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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By Ron Mc
#2294255
In the kitchen, I have a Wusthof block that came with just the steak knives. Every place that would fit, I put a Japanese knife, Al Mar, G. Sakai, Kanetsune damascus, etc.
A good website to get Japan knives is JapaneseKnifeDirect - Japan has a law that individual knives can't be exported, so they're an offshore warehouse of sorts for handmade Seki-City knives.

I can't imagine ever replacing my KOA Coho fillet, but one knife maker that has my attention is Schwartz Tactical.
I bought their kiridashi neck knife for a line-nipper (to save my irreplaceable Matsuda VG-10/Nickel damascus kiridashi from getting dropped in the bay).
Schwartz has developed composite/sandwich knives using titanium, carbon fiber, and tungsten carbide.
You can't cut your finger on this knife, but it nips braid, stretchy copolymer, or abrasion-resistant fluorocarbon perfectly, and is totally salt-proof.
They do it by an embedded edge of microscopic tungsten carbide "shark teeth"
Titan makes a fillet knife using the same technology. What makes these knives self-sharpening is the matrix-composite edge - the titanium wears away, exposing more tungsten carbide micro-teeth.
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Last edited by Ron Mc on Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:24 am, edited 3 times in total.
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By Neumie
#2294260
I started using a Dexter Beef Skinning knife. Had to change up the technique a little for this blade but I really like it for redfish. Need to be a little more delicate for trout with it though.

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By TexasJim
#2294265
Josh: I first saw that skinning knife on a Capt. Vincent Russo youtube video about cleaning redfish. I've been meaning to buy one. That and good fillet knife will do what you need. I found my fillet knife, a Normark Swedish one, in a trash can at a cleaning station! Sharpened it up. It's the best knife I own. Capt. Vincent also has a "fillet holder", a 6" piece of broom handle with a beer bottle cap screwed onto one end, so you can hold a fillet, skinside down at the tail, while you separate the fillet from the skin. Works great; costs nothing. He's a master with that Dexter skinning knife. His videos are an education in fish cleaning. TexasJim
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By JW FunGuy
#2294267
I have always had Knife fetish, I guess like a lot of boys growing up. I have a drawer full of various fillet knives collected through the years, Buck, Russell , one of my take everywhere knives is a Kershaw/Kai Blade Trader that my mother got me for a Christmas present way back when I started becoming a serious “outdoorsman “. It has 6 different blades that lock into the handle, everything from a chef’s knife, fillet to a saw. It’s great to take in the kitchen box. But I’m with Josh and TexasJim on the Dexter Beef Skinner, and I too watched Capt Russo’s video (at least 6 times and took notes! ) got one and it is the hands down go to knife foer Red’s. AND on a side note, when I got the thing and was cleaning the oil etc off for its first use, I sliced the CR...UD out of my finger! Those things are sharp and they hold an edge.
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By Ron Mc
#2294271
I get to add a photo I've got of Neumie using his knife.
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I also have a great photo of my Alaska guide buddy Brandon doing a great job on my king - no idea what knife he's using.
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Last edited by Ron Mc on Wed Oct 09, 2019 6:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
By junkyard chihuahua
#2294272
ah knives...

I've had more than a few...

My latest favorite has been a Wustof commercial filet knife. cheap and sharp and stays sharp better than most.

I was recently given a Japanese blade. It is easily the sharpest thing I have ever held. Its still holding up and is the most beautiful handmade style of Damascus. Truly an amazing piece of work. It came from Rodriguez butcher shop in San Antonio.

http://Homebutcher.com

Mine...

https://homebutcher.com/collections/yam ... tom-handle
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By Neumie
#2294284
TexasJim wrote:Josh: I first saw that skinning knife on a Capt. Vincent Russo youtube video about cleaning redfish. I've been meaning to buy one. That and good fillet knife will do what you need. I found my fillet knife, a Normark Swedish one, in a trash can at a cleaning station! Sharpened it up. It's the best knife I own. Capt. Vincent also has a "fillet holder", a 6" piece of broom handle with a beer bottle cap screwed onto one end, so you can hold a fillet, skinside down at the tail, while you separate the fillet from the skin. Works great; costs nothing. He's a master with that Dexter skinning knife. His videos are an education in fish cleaning. TexasJim

Yeah, that's where I saw the knife. I had left my fillet knives at a rental property and decided to give it a try when I had to replace my old ones. I don't fillet exactly like he does in the video, but I feel like I'm getting more flesh from the fish. Kind of wish I bought the stainless steel version instead of the carbon steel.
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By Ron Mc
#2294290
I know the skin-on fillets you made with it looked great for grilling.
I use a pan made for sauteing veggies on the grill - I prep the pan with spray grapeseed oil.
this is a slot snook from Arroyo I brought home in the ice water - it was pretty good :mrgreen:
The main thing to keep fillets from sticking to the cook surface is to drain the fillets 20 minutes on each side on a stack of paper towels - spice the side that's up, and just the lightest coat of flour to keep them together.
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By karstopo
#2294332
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Been using this Rapala for several years. I like a thin and flexible blade.

Some young guy on another forum put out an instructional video for quick cleaning of trout, redfish and flounder. He used a big, heavy and stiff bladed knife and made what I thought was a mess of the fish for all the world to see. Apparently, he tossed the two lower fillets of the flounder in the trash. A lot of people gave him grief about the video, but to his credit, he was open to suggestions for improvements. I guess if there’s 50 or 100 fish to clean, maybe some corners get cut, but a handful of fish doesn’t necessitate racing through the process and incurring a ton of waste.

I like to think of cleaning a fish or a deer is something that you want to make careful cuts on. The bones and unique anatomy of each species are the guide. Rapala style thin and flexible blades have always been good for delicate cuts and following the contours of the bones. Redfish scales aren’t a problem, you just have to study where to place the knife tip.

It really doesn’t take much longer to not make a mess of the fish. My good friend’s dad was really knew how not to waste anything on a fish. He’d even save the backbones and fry those up even though he didn’t leave much meat on them.
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By Ron Mc
#2294430
spent some interesting google time on the Titan fillet knife - got really tired of reading their beaver teeth analogy.
https://titan-knife.myshopify.com/
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The strange thing to me considering the 10-year production history is the shortage of reviews out there on the internet, though these few linked by the maker
https://titan-knife.myshopify.com/pages/product-reviews

Like the beaver teeth analogy, the overwhelming over-and-over internet bulletin board gripe by people who don't own the knife is the relative hardness of titanium.
The fact that titanium hardness is half that of a good knife-grade stainless steel is actually what makes the knife work.
The cutting edge is a titanium matrix embedded with microscopic tungsten carbide crystals.
Wear of the salt-proof titanium matrix constantly exposes new microscopically sharp tungsten carbide saw-teeth edges.
Also seems like this knife ought to make short work of redfish ribs.

fwiw, as a metallurgist and licensed professional engineer, I initially had the same hardness question on the titanium Schwartz Tactical kiridashi neck knife until I began researching it. When I got the blade with the metal matrix composite edge, found it nips hard braid and stretchy copolymer line like crazy, except it won't cut your finger (I'm sure it would if you tried really hard). https://schwartztactical.com/
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The salt proof part is nothing to ignore. I noticed Benchmade tried one last time by changing the metallurgy of their folding fillet knife to a softer 420J chromium stainless. The harder 13Cr-5Mo-C-V grade they were using before cuts and holds an edge better, but couldn't cut the salt.
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Another way to go is nitrogen-strengthened nickel-stainless (nonmagnetic). That's the H1-steel Spyderco uses in their Salt marine utility knives. I have a Spyderco Salt hooked in my salt reel bag and it's been there for a dozen years of salt trips.
Kinda funny, it rusts on the H1 stamping on the blade - of course the reason is a residual of tool steel that embedded from the stamping tool.
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User avatar
By YakRunabout
#2294442
Here is an old one for you - a Swedish made folding knife from 40's-50's. This was my Dad's fishing knife for as long as I remember!
Knivfabriken Gnosjo -
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By Kalait
#2294450
Along the same line, however a change of subjects, not trying to be rude.

However, What do you use to sharpen your knives? Those great knives you guys are showing must be maintained and occasionally resharpened. I have never really bought anything to sharpen my knives.
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By Ron Mc
#2294451
no worries, very on-topic
Kalait wrote:... What do you use to sharpen your knives? Those great knives you guys are showing must be maintained and occasionally resharpened. I have never really bought anything to sharpen my knives.

At the fillet table, I use the inexpensive Rapala ceramic rod vee "single stage".
I'll give it about 5-8 strokes the full length of the blade between every few fish as needed

(again, the theory on the titanium metal matrix composite edge I discussed above averts the need for this and would be the totally wrong sharpening tool - they make their own sharpening pad and have their own technique for exposing new edge if needed)
Imagea couple of times/year, I'll use a whetstone, because all the deformed metal is cut away from the edge, leaving you nothing but sharp. Every other sharpening technique is inferior, because it leaves a microscopically rough/pulled edge.
With a whetstone, you never want to pull away from the edge, you always want to push into it, as if you're slicing the stone.
You do the opposite with the ceramic-vee rods - you start at the back of the blade and pull it toward you.
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