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  #1  
Old 10-13-2013, 05:06 AM
pastorted pastorted is offline
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Default Knives

I know there has been lots of discussion about knives on this forum. But here is a slightly different angle. What is your preferred type of knife for opening up walleye? Do you use a traditional filet knife or a larger, stiffer knife like a butcher knife or the infamous "Bubba Knife?"

I've seen all the negative reviews on the "Bubba knife," but I've been thinking using a larger stiffer knife like that for separating the two halves of the fish might work better. What do you guys think?

And I know there are a lot of you who wouldn't use anything but electric. So I don't want to stir that debate up. Just wondering about how many use a bigger knife than a filet knife, and if so what?
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  #2  
Old 10-13-2013, 08:48 AM
chevysgeterdun chevysgeterdun is offline
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I just bought a leech lake fillet knife this year, love it!!
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  #3  
Old 10-13-2013, 09:15 AM
REW REW is offline
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Past,
I am curious with your statemement:

using a larger stiffer knife like that for separating the two halves of the fish might work better

----------------------------------
I am really not understanding your statement about separating the two halves of the fish?

When using a manual knife for filleting, I do it something like this:
1. With the fish laying on one side, take a cut behind the gill plate and cut forward in a perpendicular fashion to get a clean cut at the front of the fillet.
2. This initial cut opens the fish from backbone to belly on one side.
3. Then, I take the point of the fillet knife, stick it into the belly with the sharp edge pointing out and make a slice up the belly to the vent - to open up the bottom of the fish.
4. Then, I fillet out that side of the fish, cutting around the bones. If you don't cut bones, your knife stays sharp many many times longer.
5. When I get to the tail, I don't cut off the fillet, but rather flip the fillet past the tail and let the fillet lay flat on the board - meat side up. Then, using the small attachment point at the tail, use the knife to slice the fillet off the skin.
6. Repeat for the other side.

Using this method, no need to ever use a larger knife.

--------------------------------------------------
However, many many years ago, my wife's grandfather taught me how to "skin" perch.
Here is where I use a regular fillet knife, a butcher knife and a pair of needle nose pliers
to skin and clean a perch in 30 seconds or so.

Method as follows:

1. Have the perch laying on the table.
2. Grab the butcher knife in your knife hand and the perch in your other hand.
3. Use the butcher knife to make a vertical cut all of the way through the fish from the back almost to the belly - just behind the head.
Thus, the head of the perch will be nearly cut off and it is flopping on the board. By using the butcher knife, it is easy to cut through the back bone of the perch without particularly dulling the heavy knife.
4. Then, grab the fine point fillet knife and while holding the perch in your hand with the flopping head toward you, insert the point of the fillet knife under the exposed skin that was just cut at the top of the fish and open the skin up from the head to the tail - just beside the top fin on the fish.
5. Then, using the fine point fillet knife, repeat for the other side of the top of the fish.
6. Lay down the knife and grab the needle nose pliers. Insert the needle nose plier under the skin at the top of the fish and pull forward. This will remove the thin patch of skin on the top of the fish, along with the top fin of the fish.
7. Now with the pliers, grab the skin at the front top of the fish and peel it back and down so you have about the same as a suit jacket getting the fish partially undressed. Repeat with the pliers for the other side of the fish.
8.. Now, lay down the plier. Insert the thumb of your none knife hand into the body cavity of the fish. Grab the dangling head of the fish with your knife hand and peel the head of the fish toward the tail, pulling out all of the entrails and skin off the fish in one clean pull.
9. Then, run your fillet knife up the center of the body cavity to open up the membrane that is left and to remove any kidneys that might be left in the fish.

The writing and reading of this method takes much much longer than the actual cleaning of the fish. Generally speaking, after cleaning a couple hundred perch you will have this cleaning method down to less than 30 seconds per fish.

You now have a perfectly cleaned perch with no skin on the body, but the bones still in the fish.

Just prep and fry the fish as you usually do, but when eating the fish, eat it like a chicken leg. Just eat the fish off the skeleton and you will have 0 bones, and will have 0 loss of meat from the fish. The meat will come cleanly off the bones as you eat.

Many folks prefer the eating of the nice crisp tail on the fish. Sort of like eating bacon cracklings.

If you are a perch fisherman and want to try a different method of cleaning perch, give this method a try for one batch. You might like the final result.

-------------------------------
When visiting with my wifes grand parents on Canyon Ferry lake in Montana we would often catch a few hundred perch to feed a big family get together. My wifes grand father and my self could quickly skin all of the perch to feed the mob and it was enjoyed by all.

Be safe

Last edited by REW; 10-13-2013 at 09:25 AM.
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  #4  
Old 10-13-2013, 10:18 AM
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ricorth07 ricorth07 is offline
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Thank you for instructional REW...my fillet skills or lack there of need experience
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  #5  
Old 10-13-2013, 10:55 AM
Papascott Papascott is offline
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For walleye I use a 12" breaking/boning knive. I use this knife as you would an electric. If kept sharp and cared for IMO it is faster than an electric with less hassle, no cord or finding electricity and easier clean up.

It becomes more of a pull and push with your non knife hand holding the fish from under the gills and helping to pull the fish through the blade while pushing the knife through with the other hand at the same time. Its much easier than it sounds.

Stop the slice just short of taking the side off, basically just the last patch of tail skin is all that's left. Flip the fillet to skin side down on the table and use the same motion to take off the skin. Pop the cheek and flip and repeat.

If there are 2 of us cleaning a 6" boning knife to peel the ribs and bag for the 2nd guy. If its just me I just use the 12.

I like to zipper the fish before bagging fillets. I put belly meat in one bag for the in laws, one bag of cheeks for me and the loins in another. Make sure to label bags cheeks, loins and in laws. That way you can tell them they get only the choice cuts.
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  #6  
Old 10-14-2013, 04:19 PM
pastorted pastorted is offline
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Default Separating the Halves

Rew,
I do something like what you describe in the first part of your post. I start behind the fins then insert the knife and cut along the backbone, working my way down over the rib cage, etc.

But we had a guide a few years back who did it the same way you would with an electric knife. He just cut behind the fins then worked his knife flat and cut clear through the fish all the way to the tail - in much the same way Papascott described. Then he went back after taking the filet off the skin and cut out the rib cage.

My question has to do with the best knife for this latter method. I think it is faster, but the usual thin and flexible filet knife doesn't handle it well. The bubba blade got me interested, and I was wondering how many use a wider stiffer knife for this purpose. Papascott your suggestion of a "breaking/boning" knife seems to be what I have in mind.

Thanks guys for the input. Now I'm wondering which method is preferred and why?
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  #7  
Old 10-16-2013, 12:17 AM
Opus Dog Opus Dog is offline
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Greetings, I too have gone back away from the electric to the fixed blade option. My knife of choice is the Steeheader from Knives of Alaska. It is 9 inches, rigid, thin, light and razor sharp. It does everything you need to clean a pike to a walleye. Joe
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  #8  
Old 10-16-2013, 09:54 AM
REW REW is offline
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Past

For years, my fillet knife of preference is a fillet knife that is wider and stiffer than the conventional knife.

As others have pointed out, the wider and stiffer knife allows me to keep the fillet flat.

If you do want to slice through the bones, go ahead and slice through the bones.
The only downside is that you have to sharpen the knife more often.

A good choice for this knife is one of the great Dexter Russell knives. These are inexpensive industrial quality used in kitchens around the world as well as fish factories for cleaning fish and prepping food.

For example:
http://fishboneknives.com/s133-8-dex...-fillet-knife/

Or look at the entire fillet knife selection:
http://fishboneknives.com/8-and-9-fillet-knives/

Dexter Russell knives have been used for years and years in kitchens around the world as well as food processing houses and factories. They come with and hold razor sharp edges and can be rededged as needed.

Also, the general price for any of these knives run $20-$30 each.

Be safe
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  #9  
Old 10-16-2013, 06:46 PM
Papascott Papascott is offline
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If you know anyone in the restaurant business seen if they use a knove service company. I get used knives from them for less than $10 each. All of the knives I've gotten have been well used and resharpened so many times they are basically asking them out of service. There is still plenty of blade left for what I do with them.
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  #10  
Old 10-20-2013, 06:57 PM
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DakotaKayak DakotaKayak is offline
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Ive been using a Wustoff fillet knife 8"? Not sure. Its been a great knife so far and as long as I take time to keep sharp its great.... now... that being said..has anyone personally used or seen anyone using a traditional japanese knife? Ive been doing a little research and the edge is beveled in one direction hence right hand knife vs lefty knife. Just wondering. ..
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