REVIEWED BY CAPT. MIKE SCHOONVELD
I have a new set of filet knives on my boat, thanks to Outdoor Edge. The handy carrying case contains one knife sporting a six-inch blade, a mid-sized, 7.5-incher and the Mac-Daddy has a 9.5 inch blade. The set is called the ReelFlex Pak and includes a simple, ceramic sharpening tool. Individual knives can be purchased separately.
The one I use the most is the 9.5-incher both because I am normally cutting up fairly good sized fish salmon, steelhead and lake trout and I prefer a longer knife rather than shorter. When I’m filleting panfish or smaller fish like walleyes or pike, I do use the smaller knives. If I could only select one I’d opt for the big-boy. I’d rather clean an 8-inch bluegill with a 9-inch knife than face a 20+ salmon with a 6-inch blade.
Reel-Flex knives have a rubber-like TPE handle for a secure grip and as their brand name suggests, the blades on these knives are more flexible than many other brands I’ve been used. How much flex a person needs in a filet knife blade is a combination of personal preference and what the person gets used to using.
Flex in a fillet knife is important. Try butchering a fish with a non-flexible butcher knife sometime and you’ll understand why better than I can describe. The flex helps the fish cleaner guide the knife up, down, in and out along the backbone and around fins – getting the maximum amount of meat off the skeleton. In my hand, the flexible blade really shines when skinning the filets, allowing the knife to slide easily between the meat and skin along the full length of the slab.
Individual knives and/or kits are available at retailers or on-line at http://www.outdooredge.com or amazon.com.