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Thread: Filet knife preferance, or maybe where to find some skill.

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    Member Kmagers's Avatar
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    Default Filet knife preferance, or maybe where to find some skill.

    So i am not good at fileting salmon. I gave it my best and could not produce good results after many attempts. I thought it was my skill at first so i watched videos and read online. But then i still couldn't get it so i tried a more flexible knife but it still wasn't very flexible. So any info would be awesome. I gave up and ended up with like 20 hacked up filets and 25 million steaks.

    Should i try a different knife. Should i just tough it out and i will get better. Any nice videos you all know about to show technique better than a redneck on youtube.
    Trying to play enough to make working for the money all worth it.

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    Member AKArcher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kmagers View Post
    So i am not good at fileting salmon. I gave it my best and could not produce good results after many attempts. I thought it was my skill at first so i watched videos and read online. But then i still couldn't get it so i tried a more flexible knife but it still wasn't very flexible. So any info would be awesome. I gave up and ended up with like 20 hacked up filets and 25 million steaks.

    Should i try a different knife. Should i just tough it out and i will get better. Any nice videos you all know about to show technique better than a redneck on youtube.
    Lots of info on this topic in both salt and freshwater forums...

    Filleting fish is like skinning cats, lots of ways to get it done. With that in mind anyone who responds will have the one or two ways that works best for them. How did they find out that it worked best for them? Toughed it out like you said. My first year at Chitna dip-netting had me looking for the trailer on O'Brian Creek to fillet my fish for me. Glad I didn't give up because now I produce some decent fillets.

    I use three knives when I fillet following dip-netting either the Copper or Kenai. I use three knives for a few reasons; it limits the amount of time I spend sharpening them. A dulling knife can be dangerous, especially when filleting a lot of fish at once. I also like stiffness of the two Dexter knives for the purpose of what I am using them for, and the flexibility of the Cut-Co for peeling the ribs off. I only use the Cut-Co knife when I am actually catching the fish.

    First one is "Roast Slicer" made by Dexter. I use it to bust through the ribs as I walk down the back bone of the fish

    Second knife is the Fisherman's Solution by Cut-Co, I use this to take the ribs off the fillet.

    Third knife is a Dexter boning knife. I use this to clean up the fillet of any fins etc left on the fillet from when I removed it from the carcass.

    When all else fails...ask your old-man.


    AKArcher

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Have someone who knows what they're doing show you the ropes, then practice, practice, practice. Dexter makes good filet knives. This is the one I like for salmon: http://www.dexter1818.com/Item_Detai...id=643&line=SS
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    Member chico99645's Avatar
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    I got a Havalon Filet knife last year. I LOVE IT!!! No need for any other IMHO!

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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    I bought a Cuto based on the comments from the forum here. I have not used it yet but the handle does not lock the blade down as firmily as I would want. I think that if I slice through with the blade extended the bladeis going to slide back into the handle.

    Vietnam - June 70 - Feb. 72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daveinthebush View Post
    I bought a Cuto based on the comments from the forum here. I have not used it yet but the handle does not lock the blade down as firmily as I would want. I think that if I slice through with the blade extended the bladeis going to slide back into the handle.
    I've never had the blade move once I lock it down. How did you test this? You may have received a lemon, contact them and see about sending it back if you are concerned about it.
    When all else fails...ask your old-man.


    AKArcher

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    Member Kmagers's Avatar
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    im glad to see constructive comments. I definatly planned on trying a better quality knife this year and giving it a whirl. When i did try fileting i could not keep a fluid movment. It would end up leaving meat on the carcass and cutting up the filet. I have watched a plethera of videos but cant seem to do it. My pride makes me want to blame the equipment. What are the techniques each of you use to filet.
    Trying to play enough to make working for the money all worth it.

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    I use two. The first is a heavy butcher knife and the second is a flexible filet knife. I use the heavy knife to head and gut it. Then I cut both filets off the bqackbone, rib cage and all. The filet knife is used to take the ribs off the filet. I'd be glad to sho that technique to you. IT sounds like the same technique used by archer, great minds thnk alike! A guide up on LAke Creek taught me.

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    Member Kmagers's Avatar
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    so you actually cut everything away from the backbone then use a flexible knife get the this layer of bones off the filet? Thats all you do then seal it?
    Trying to play enough to make working for the money all worth it.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Remember the three most important attributes of a fillet knife:


    1) Wicked sharp
    2) Wicked sharp
    3) Wicked sharp

    If the knife isn't sharp you'll be fighting it the whole time, and making a mess of the fillets. Salmon skin and pin bones will take the edge off the knife, so plan on touching up the blade after 3-4 fish. I've used a variety of fillet knives and prefer a smaller to medium size knife, a large fillet knife is harder to use for me.

    It's much easier to handle the fish with the head on, and if you are filleting the fish soon after catching it, don't bother to gut it. I make three lengthwise cuts per fillet, one from head to tail just below the skin along the back bone, then from the vent aft run the knife lengthwise against the backbone to the tail. One from tail to head from the top of the fish to the spine, then make a cut angling towards the head at the coller, then pulling the fillet to the side one cut from head to tail from spine to belly. Hard to put into words, easy to show.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kmagers View Post
    so you actually cut everything away from the backbone then use a flexible knife get the this layer of bones off the filet? Thats all you do then seal it?
    Pretty much, yes. With a little practice the filets turn out nice, like archers. It doesn't take long to learn and then not long to filet a lot of fish.

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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    I find a whole fish much easier to fillet than a headed, gutted, or headed and gutted fish.

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    Also does anyone actually remove the smaller set of ribs closer to the spine. seems like that would be tiresome work to remove all those.
    Trying to play enough to make working for the money all worth it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kmagers View Post
    im glad to see constructive comments. I definatly planned on trying a better quality knife this year and giving it a whirl. When i did try fileting i could not keep a fluid movment. It would end up leaving meat on the carcass and cutting up the filet. I have watched a plethera of videos but cant seem to do it. My pride makes me want to blame the equipment. What are the techniques each of you use to filet.
    Wish I had pictures of this but will do my best to describe the details lost without them.

    Always keep the knives sharp, and clean. Dull knives will cause you to "force" the knives to cut and you will start chopping the fillets or worse you.

    Removing the Fillets:

    1. Gut the fish, remove the blood vein
    2. Remove the dorsal, adipose and pelvic fins
    3. I'm right handed, so I lay the fish with the head on the left side, belly towards me and tail to the left
    4. With the Dexter Roast Slicer I cut a line behind the gill plate to the right of the pectoral fin, down the the backbone; be sure to cut through the opened stomach cavity.
    5. Left hand gripping the head/gill plate, I twist the blade towards the tail and slide it down the backbone. I move handle close to the fish so I can maintain of the blade angle and position while breaking the ribs. With the blade sharp it will bust through the ribs with ease. Make sure you keep the blade level with the spine or it will start to cut into it; also be mindful to not cut across the top row of bones/cartilage (not pin bones) coming off the spine. As you move the knife through the fish, be sure to stay above the anal fin. The cut should finish above the tail.
    6. Flip the carcass over and repeat cut right of the gill plate and pectoral fin.
    7. This cut is the hardest cut because of the bend in the spine caused by the first fillet missing. (Sometimes I leave the first fillet attached at the tail to assist with this step.) Run the knife back down the spine, again being mindful of the anal fin, finish the cut down the spine to the tail.

    Removing the Ribs off the fillet:
    ** Take your time at this step**
    1. With a sharp/flexible knife, you want to draw the knife right above the ribs at an angle cutting under them about 1/2". This may take two or three draws depending on the size of the fish.
    2. Once the blade can fit under the ribs, I place my left hand on the ribs, slightly pressing down on them, I then draw the knife towards me while lifting the knife edge up towards the rib bones. This will need to be repeated (3 or 4 times) until the ribs start to "Peel off".
    3. Use the same knife to clean up any of the ribs or fin cartilage that is still on the fillet.
    ** Step 2 of removing the ribs will require the most practice and is where you will gain the most pride in your fillets.**

    Cleaning the Fillets for presentation:
    Using the boning knife listed in my first post I cut any of the extra skin or damaged meat from seal bites out.

    Pin bones are easier to remove after you cook/smoke them.


    Hope this helps!
    When all else fails...ask your old-man.


    AKArcher

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    Member AKArcher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kmagers View Post
    So i am not good at fileting salmon. I gave it my best and could not produce good results after many attempts. I thought it was my skill at first so i watched videos and read online. But then i still couldn't get it so i tried a more flexible knife but it still wasn't very flexible. So any info would be awesome. I gave up and ended up with like 20 hacked up filets and 25 million steaks.

    Should i try a different knife. Should i just tough it out and i will get better. Any nice videos you all know about to show technique better than a redneck on youtube.
    I also wanted to add this....

    Even when you get the fillets you desire, take a teaspoon and scrape the carcass free of all the meat left behind. Makes some perfect salmon cakes, fish quesadillas etc. My kids can usually pull a couple gallon bags of meat off the carcasses once I'm done with 30+ fish
    When all else fails...ask your old-man.


    AKArcher

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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKArcher View Post
    I've never had the blade move once I lock it down. How did you test this? You may have received a lemon, contact them and see about sending it back if you are concerned about it.
    I can slide it with my fingers even when locked.

    Vietnam - June 70 - Feb. 72
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    Member Kmagers's Avatar
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    Thank you for the advice, do you remove the needle bones.
    Trying to play enough to make working for the money all worth it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daveinthebush View Post
    I can slide it with my fingers even when locked.
    Send that one back... Not sure if there is a Cut-Co dealer in Valdez but if you make it to one of the Sport Shows the local dealer should replace it for you.
    When all else fails...ask your old-man.


    AKArcher

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    Member Frostbitten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daveinthebush View Post
    I bought a Cuto based on the comments from the forum here. I have not used it yet but the handle does not lock the blade down as firmily as I would want. I think that if I slice through with the blade extended the bladeis going to slide back into the handle.
    Mine does the same thing, so I just don't use it with the blade extended.

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    Member AKArcher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kmagers View Post
    Thank you for the advice, do you remove the needle bones.
    Yes after you cook/smoke them and before you serve the fish
    When all else fails...ask your old-man.


    AKArcher

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