1. Welcome to the New & Improved BladeForums. New software info here. Please report problems in Tech Support, and read existing threads before posting! - Spark
  2. I've changed the default forum style to Flat Awesome based on feedback. Don't like it? Click here to change how the forums look Feedback on this is welcome here.

"Yeller" Handles

Discussion in 'Traditional Folders and Fixed Blades' started by jackknife, Jun 16, 2009.

  1. jackknife

    jackknife Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 2, 2004
    I don't know why, but for some reason of late, no knife brings back memories like a yeller handle knife.

    I have many knives in my drawer. Stag handles, red plastic handles with little silver crosses on them, bone handles, alox handles, wood handles, even a black zytel handle. But the yeller handle still is the top pick for going down memory lane. It wasn't the first knife I ever saw. Not by a long shot. My uncles and dad had bone handle pocket knives. I think I saw my first yeller handle when I was still young enough to be a single number age. It was a 'fishin knife'.

    I don't know why, but in the 1950's, it seemed like the lions share of 'fishin knives' were of the yeller handle type. Yes, there were the occasional black jigged plastic, but yeller ruled. The 1950's 'fishin knife' was almost always a toothpick pattern yeller plastic handle knife. If you had the one with the scaler blade and hook sharpener set in the handle, you were in the high cotton of 'fishin knife' pecking order. It was like having a Buick while everybody else had a Chevy.

    I think everyone who had a knife factory made them. But mostly I remember alot of Camillus, Colonial, and some Schrade-Imperial. Lot's of Colonials. It was the cheapest long bladed pocket knife you could buy.

    This of course had a dark side.

    I remember there was this one bar in Wheaton Maryland, where I grew up. We'd pass on by in our adventures around the place, and glance in. It was sort of a low down kind of place, and the police cars with the revolving red light on the roofs were there pretty often. Most of the time it was just a fight between a couple of drunks. One time it wasn't. They carried out a guy on a stretcher, and another guy was taken out in cuffs. One big cop had a bloody knife in his hand, and Dave, Bobby, and myself were standing there watching. I'll remeber the yeller handle 'fishin knife' in the cops hand forever. He was carrying it carefully by the very tip of the rear bolsters, and the blade and yeller handle had some red blotchy smears on them. Some people back then would stick a piece of match stick down in the blade slot, so it made the blade ride a bit higher in the handle. This left a bit of a gap in the tip/handle so it could be snagged real fast on a pants pocket seam and opened by holding the blade and snagging the handle on the pants. Some of those good 'ol boys could open a toothpick nigh as fast as a modern spyderco one hander. Just shows, where there's a will, there'll be a way.

    But mostly when I see a yeller handle 'fishin knife' I think of summer time, a slow moving creek, the taste of warm water out of the surplus store canteen. The taste of a hot dog roasted over a fire by the creek. I wonder if there has ever been a study why a hot dog roasted by a creek, tastes better than one roasted well away from the water. We all had our scout knives, but if we were going anywhere around water, like down by the 'crik', we took a yeller handle 'fishin knife' along. I think it was some sort of unwritten rule among boys in the 1950's; if you're going near water, thou must have a 'fishin knife' on you.

    For sheer nostalgia, for firing up the mental time travel mode, I don't think there is many knives that get it going like a yeller handle toothpick. Makes me think of balloon tire Schwinn bikes, slingshots, dented up aluminum canteens with 1943 stamped on the bottom, and slow moving creeks.

    And the best hot dogs in the world.

    Thanks Moff!:thumbup:
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2009
  2. BJE


    Apr 12, 2006
    I remember having a fishing knife when I was a kid, I think mine was an Imperial but can't recall the handle color. A friend of mine has an older Imperial with yeller scales, hook remover/fish scaler/bottler opener, and hook sharpener.
  3. Getahl


    Dec 22, 2007
    I had a fishing knife when I was a kid. I don't recall the make of the thing, but it had faux Mother of Pearl handles, about a three-inch clip blade, and a scaler/hook remover. I know I never once cleaned a fish with it because I didn't catch my first until about 3 days ago :p
  4. kidwholaughs


    Jan 17, 2004
    I remember that A G Russell mentioned that the toothpick was "the" Southern fighting knife of pre 1950's.
  5. rmfnla


    Mar 4, 2007
    Great post, JK!

    I don't know when this pattern became known as a toothpick; they've always been fishin' knives to me.

    I grew up in Miami (born there, not transplanted down from New Yawk!) and the water was part of our lives.

    We always had a few fishin' knives around; like you said, some had serrated blades for removing fish scales and alot had hook sharpeners in the handle.

    Yeller grips made it easier to spot in a toolbox or in the mud if you dropped it in a bog.

    Now I don't even own one; I think that's gonna have to change.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2009
  6. Whitedog


    Dec 30, 2005
    OK guys you are are giving your age away with this thread. Yellow handled knives on the counter display at the lumber yard. I remember Case, Kabar and the Schrade line. Not mater what the brand they were all made in the USA. How things have changed.
    We could even carry a knife to school and it was expected that most of the boys would have some kind of knife.
    Back then anykind of knife would do just about any job you wanted it to do. The faster it got patina on the blades the better.

    How things have changed. The nations morals have gone down the tube, the schools are a breeding ground for a bunch of bleeding heart liberals and so on.
    Guess I had better go out and get another yellow handled stockman or a traper. Then put some peanuts in my Pepsi.
  7. Buzzbait

    Buzzbait Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 25, 2001
    My wife insists on using a yeller fishing knife. Hers is a Camillus Yello-Kaket Muskrat. It's cleaning an awful lot of trout.
  8. mnblade


    Feb 7, 2000
    Nice post as always, jackknife. I have to confess, though ..... while I came across a few fishing knives in my youth, I always considered them pretty lousy knives, always turned my nose up at them. :(


    May 30, 2007
    my yeller Camillus Fishermans (L) uck:D :thumbup: funny thing is alot of people think this is particularly scary looking pattern, dunno seems pretty wholesmome to me...
  10. BJE


    Apr 12, 2006
    Don't you mean "goobers";)?
  11. sunnyd


    Jul 17, 2004
    .. many memories have been flooding back to me lately. Old and more recent.. Its good stuff, mostly.

    Yellow plastic scales, sure!. :thumbup: Lots of knives with yellow derlin..

    And then theres Yellow bone.. :) :cool: I don't know what it is about Yellow bone.. Here's a flashback I can actually share if thats OK..



  12. 338375


    Nov 4, 2006
    Great pics brother Anthony....
    Thats a fine lookin fire volcano you got there too.

    The yellow knives always take me back to my younger days. When I was a youngen, I thought that all pocket knives were yellow :D

    I'm feelin the need for an nice vintage yeller large jack
  13. jackknife

    jackknife Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 2, 2004
    Coconut milk with oranges, is that a Florida thing?

    I always thought if I were in the tropics, it was time for rum!:D
  14. A. G. Russell

    A. G. Russell

    Mar 10, 2001
    If it had a serrated back on the blade or a disgourging tool or a hook sharpener then it was a fish knife. In the 1930s and 1940s if it had a regular blade and nothing to make it a fish knife then it was called a Jackknife, and as I said elsewhere, it was the knife of choice for the rural knife fighter.
  15. sgbeskin


    Jun 8, 2005
    My late grandpa told me the same thing about those Yella handled toothpick/fishing knives. He was born in 1914, spent his whole life in southwest Mississippi/southeast Louisiana, said those "fishing" knives were barn dance knives. He said they were to be used just like a Saturday night special. He said one of my great uncles put an old Yella handled Kutmaster toothpick, that I have now, to use on a many a' Saturday night!!!! Crazy pattern.....
  16. Absintheur

    Absintheur Banned by Moderators

    Jan 31, 2008
    This old Ka Bar has seen it's share of 'gills....


    and at a size slightly smaller than a Peanut this yella bone Fight'n Rooster fits nicely in the watch pocket...


    and I am sure I am not the only one who remembers the yella Colonials...

  17. Voltron


    Dec 13, 2008

    A fighting knife? Did they have locks on them? Or were they used exclusively as slicers? I wouldn't use a slippie to stab someone, lest I lose ly fingers as well!
  18. A. G. Russell

    A. G. Russell

    Mar 10, 2001
    scardy cat, I bet you did not play mumbly peg for fear you might get a blade in the toe of your shoes.

    Think about attacking someone with a stright razor, now thast would make me nervous. Locking knives were very expensive, and larger. Folks did not have lots of money for locking knives. You learned how to use slipjoints and rarely stabbed.
  19. Blues

    Blues Lapsed SuperMod / Cattle Knife Rustler Staff Member Super Mod

    Oct 2, 1998
    Let's leave the bloodletting to Practical Tactical...;) :p
  20. Thomason

    Thomason Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 28, 2002
    Great Eastern easy open in yellow bone and 1095, about 3 inches.


Share This Page