Help Me Decide(fillet knives)

Feb 8, 1999
Hey guys,

Im looking to purchase a new fillet knife. I want a blade of at least 7". I have narrowed my choices down to Cold Steel,Old Timer, and CRKT fillet knives. The last fillet I had was an Old Timer and It was great, but I somehow managed to lose it. I am mainly considering the CS and CRKT just because I want to try something different. Just wondering if any of you has had any experience with these knives and which one you recommend.
If you're not going to be cleaning the bulk of your fish in the "wild" you might want to try an electric knife.

I've still got the old Rapala fillet knife, and it still works great, but any fish getting cleaned near a socket get the "electric treatment".
If mps doesn't respond in this thread, go to dejanews, hit power search, put in rec.knives for newsgroup, Mike Swaim for author (alternately, try miaim), and try maybe "fillet" as the subject. You need to read his old posts on the fillet knife testing he did.

You mentioned in another thread that you do saltwater fishing. As much as I like high carbon knives, and even though I've had pretty good overall experiences with CS Carbon V (52100-B or whatever they're using this week), I'd be wary of such a knife in a continuous saltwater environment. It's an interesting idea, but blade coating or no, I just can't imagine the edge holding up on a pier cleaning table, or on a fishing boat for all that long. One of the chief drawbacks to carbon steel in kitchen knives is that the edge literally rusts away between uses, and in a marine environment that effect would be accelerated tremendously.

To my way of thinking, a filet knife needs to be comfortable and non slipery in the hand, needs to have a certain amount of hand guard protection against 'stubbing' and needs to be sharp and thin, and _needs_ to be thin stainless. (I'll leave flexible to guys that like that.)

I've tested the Schrade and liked it, but haven't tested the CS or the CRKT. What I have the most exp. with is Victorinox/Forchner commercial grade Fibrox handled, stainless blades and Rapala/Normark plastic handled stainless blades.

The fish house I used to be a slave in used Victorinox and Dexter comercial food grade fish knives almost exclusively. Cheap, easy to maintain, good comfort for hours at a time. .....

Thanks for the info. You may have misread one of my posts(or I could have mis-typed one!), but I dont really do a lot of saltwater fishing. I do occasionally, but the large majority of my fishing is done in fresh water. Given this, do you still advise against the CS carbon V? Maybe Ill just go back to the Old Timer--If it ain't broke, maybe I shouldn't fix it. Thanks again.

Just finished a custom filet knife. Nickel silver guard and pins. Buckeye burl handles. Thin 440C stainless with mirror polish.

If you'd like to see email me and I'll attach a digital photo.

Ben R. Ogletree, Jr.
Just finished a custom filet knife. Nickel silver guard and pins. Buckeye burl handles. Thin 440C stainless with mirror polish.

If you'd like to see email me and I'll attach a digital photo.

Ben R. Ogletree, Jr.
As for electric filet knives, their cool, but I just dont like 'em. I just like the feel you get from a good ol fashioned elbow-grease powered knife
Spoon, get a current issue of shotgun news and in there you' ll probably find various mailorder companies closing out the Fillet knife offered by Pachmayr. Pachmayr has chosen to discontinue several items in their line since Lyman acquired them recently. If they are for sale in their they should be at a bargain price. They are made of 440 C, have finger grooves and uses the same rubber that made their gun grips popular. Hope this helps. happy hunting.


"To earn a million is easy, a real friend is not."
Coming from a long line of professional fishermen (but not one myself), what has always been used heavily around here are simple carbon steel knives for the splitting and filleting of cod. Nothing fancy either like an actual filleting knife but rather they are usually the second stage in the lifetime of a large butchers knife that has been ground so much its only about 1/2" wide. Very stiff almost no flex. Real high tech. stuff.

About the Cold Steel filleting knives, I have only seen one report and the guy made a comment that the edge holding was very lousy compared to the normal cheap $10 knives you get at Canadian tire. This however just tested the CS edge which as with many factory edges is rarely the optimum one.