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Choosing a Fillet Knife

Posted on November 15 2016

Choosing a fillet knife for wild salmon.
Which do you prefer? Photo: Jason Whiting.

At Alaska West, the well being of our fishery is of our utmost concern, and when fishing for fragile species like trout, dolly varden, and king salmon we strive to use the most fish friendly methods as possible in hopes of a safe release.

However, we’re also extremely fortunate to witness staggering numbers of species such as sockeye, chum, and silver salmon each season, all of which make for excellent table fare, but return in healthy enough numbers to sustain regulated harvest from anglers. This affords our guest the opportunity to take fish home from their trip, while still feeling good about the preservation of our fishery.

Therefore, our guides do a lot of filleting over the course of a season, and out of respect of each and every fish we keep, we put a lot of emphasis on making the best fillets possible. That means a quality fillet knife, and today, Alaska West guide, Jason Whiting, gives us the run down on choosing the right fillet knife for you.

Choosing a Fillet Knife

We are very fortunate on the rivers we fish in Alaska that the Silver, Sockeye, and Chum salmon runs are strong enough to allow our guests to take back a portion of their catch to enjoy at home. Consequently, one of the things that seem to intrigue our guests at the end of the day is what brand and type of knives we use to fillet their fish.

Interestingly enough, almost every single one of our guides prefer a different brand of knife with a different style of blade. These days, fillet knives come in many different shapes and styles from large scimitar style blades to very thin blades, and range from completely rigid to extremely flexible.  You would think that there would be one magic blade that works for everyone, but in the end, it all comes down to preference and how comfortable you are with the fillet knife you use. That is why each of our guides can fillet a fish very well, even though they are most likely using different knife than the person next to them. Very frequently they will take the extra time to track down their preferred knife to fillet a fish when there are many others available right in front of them.

So, when it comes down to you finding the perfect knife, select one that feels good in your hand, one you think will work well for the fish you plan to cut, and try to stick with it for some time. Becoming proficient at filleting fish takes practice, and the more comfortable you are with your tool, the better you will become.

And finally, we would like to hear from you! If you spend time on the fillet table, what knife do you prefer and why? Drop us a comment below!

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