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NatalieWTruby

Fillet knife for salmon

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The Bubba line of knives are pretty nice (Bet no one ever thought the word Bubba would apply in context with salmon fishing)

I also like and own Dexter/Russell knives

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I've been using Rapala fillet knives for years.   I have ones with 4 inch blades now, but they do come in 6 inch and I believe 8 inch blades.   I've used 6 inch blades to fillet,  walleye, bluefish, flounder, bonita and small tuna.  A 6 inch blade should be good for salmon.

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Fillet knives, in my opinion, are one of the few knives that aren't "brand" specific or better.  They need to be flexible, which means they can't hold an edge as well as stiffer knives.   As long as you can keep put a good edge on to begin with, any fillet knife will slice through a dozen or two fish before it needs to be stropped/sharpened again.

As Philly stated, the Rapala knives available from Walmart or Amazon for less than $25.00 will do well for several years.

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9 hours ago, mikechell said:

Fillet knives, in my opinion, are one of the few knives that aren't "brand" specific or better.  They need to be flexible, which means they can't hold an edge as well as stiffer knives.   As long as you can keep put a good edge on to begin with, any fillet knife will slice through a dozen or two fish before it needs to be stropped/sharpened again.

As Philly stated, the Rapala knives available from Walmart or Amazon for less than $25.00 will do well for several years.

Flexiblity is a function of thinness (needs to be thin) not hardness or softness. The steel needs to be hard to flex, and hold an edge. If not hard enough, it will neither hold an edge nor flex (It will bend and not flex back if not hard enough). When I make knives, I aim for 59-60 Hardness on the Rockwell "C" scale.

And, you are right, a fillet knife needs to be flexible. Rapala or Normark are both fine makes.

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11 hours ago, The Mad Duck said:

The Bubba line of knives are pretty nice (Bet no one ever thought the word Bubba would apply in context with salmon fishing)

I also like and own Dexter/Russell knives

Both are fine.

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On 8/9/2022 at 10:45 PM, NatalieWTruby said:

What is the best fillet knife for salmon?

Choosing a good or great fillet knife for salmon involves more, what kind of salmon you want to fillet, than what brand to buy. The best fillet knife for Kings (Chinook Salmon) is seldom the best one for any other kind of salmon.

I have made a little less than a hundred fillet knives (many more of all other styles) and the question I ask first is what kind of fish one wants to fillet, or more correctly, what size. Many manufacturers make knives in sizes suitable for all kinds of salmon except Kings. Very few manufacturers make them large enough for kings, Bubba is the most notable for king sized knives.

For pinks I'd choose about a six or seven incher, for Chum, Coho, Sockeye, and Atlantic salmon I'd get something around 8 to 10 inches and for Chinooks you should get one about 12 inches long.

Wielding a blade longer or shorter than you need is really a nuisance and it's easy to do a poor job with one.

It should be long, narrow and thin, flexible and stainless, with a good grippy handle (some kind of plastic is best for a working knife).

Many brands are fine for the 5 smaller species of salmon. The ones already mentioned and some others. Rapala makes salmon size knives, up to about ten inches. Fiskers are good, Cutco, and a few others are good. I have an Orvis that's really pretty good. Forschner and Wusthof knives are both great. Forschner are less expensive than Wusthof.

I would stay away from Stanley and Chicago fillet knives. They both make good stuff but not fillet knives IMHO.

Just a side note, I just had the pleasure of helping Steve Ross, Bob Ross's son and his business partner make two fillet knives in my shop. It was a real blast, or, as we say at The Cutting Edge, "Never a dull moment"

Hope this helps, MK

 

 

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14 hours ago, Mark Knapp said:

The Cutting Edge, "Never a dull moment"

Excellent info, Mark ... but 🙄 on the pun.  😃

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a few friends swear by the electric fillet knives   and that is for crappie and walleye.i think it would work better on bigger salmon.. should have battery powered ones

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On 8/11/2022 at 6:12 PM, richmce said:

a few friends swear by the electric fillet knives   and that is for crappie and walleye.i think it would work better on bigger salmon.. should have battery powered ones

I see people using electric knives for salmon, sunfish and bass, all species really, but I just can't get my head around it. A manual knife always works (if it's sharp).

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On 8/11/2022 at 2:35 PM, mikechell said:

Excellent info, Mark ... but 🙄 on the pun.  😃

One of my wife's favorite slogans.

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I've been using Rapala and Russels, but honestly, as long as you keep the edge sharp, any fillet knife should work just fine. It's a question of how long those gonna keep edge compared to alternatives

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I don't know a thing about cutting salmon - but have done a bunch of fish cutting years ago when at times the boats I worked on generated 100 to 300llbs of fish that needed  to be processed (fileted mostly but occasionally steaked out or gutted, scaled and kept whole).  My choice all those years ago was always Forschner stainless butcher knives - and I still have a pair of them today when I'm only occasionally cutting and packaging enough for a meal for my anglers...  i very carefully never keep my fish cutting blades on my skiff - they reside in my truck and only come out as needed.  When I go into shops that carry Russell and/or Forschner (they're comparable in my eyes...) I'm startled by how much they go for now... My fish cutting blades are both curved (scimitar style), the small one is 10" the large one 12" (and it also doubles as a chopping blade since it's heavy enough - I also have a generous sized cleaver but haven't used it in years... I guess my world is a bit different than most who fish freshwaters since occasionally I'm cutting fish that might go 20 or all the way up to 80lbs...

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