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I just joined this group a couple days ago. I was looking for folks I could talk to about my fillet knife collection. I have tried over the years to get together knives from top makers, if I felt they were worthy of collecting. I have a vast array of great fillet knives and some fighters.  Some of my favorite to use, which I use them all, are rather cheap. I love the Browning 909, Featherweights. It is most likely the finest fillet knife I ever used. I also love the Black Marlin made by Microtech , which is expensive, but worth every dime.  Of course the Cutco Fishermans Solution is on the top of everyone's list, but I have some , made by some great knife makers that no one ever heard of, nor , may never hear. Except here of course. I will put up some pictures of my favorites in terms of the manner in which they were made.  

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This sounds fantastic, Peter.   You are correct that it seems few people collect fillet knives.  Most anglers who collect will collect lures or reels, or something else and most knife collectors are looking for something other than humble fishing knives.  It seems a rare person who collects fillet knives.   I have a few that I will add to your collection.   I think what will become more valuable is the opinions of how good the knives work.

I've seen those Cutco's going for a pretty penny on Ebay.  I wasn't sure if it was because it was by Cutco or if it was because it was a great fillet knife.

In a related note, I collect fixed blade fishing utility knives and bait knives.  I have many more of those than I do fillet knives.  You can read about them at my blog ( http://iknifecollector.com/profiles/blog/list?user=0lga1mx0n7cwp ).  My reviews tened to be too long for discussions groups so I just put them in the blog instead.

It would seem that the most popular fillet knives are the ones by Rapala.  What is your opinion of the Rapala, Peter?

Thanks so much Tobias. Few understand a fillet collection. Sometimes I feel like the ugly sister, yet if you really love knives, some will understand some of the tricks in making a great knife is how you can get the blade to bend and not break, but bend just enough and not too much. lol
My love of meat and fish handling came early working for a meat stall in a local market. Exciting times for this young kids. At 15 we were taught to run fast to the freezer, all enter and pull the door shut so we would not get shot. Why? Because one of our other meat cutters, who was a great meat cutter, was also a bookie who seldom paid off his winners. Hence  (Willie) who looked just like Shaft, was often ran down and shot at. Co-workers were left fending on their own. So our boss Leon Sidmann, would teach us all on the very first day , how much more safe it was to run fast towards the walk in freezers, shut its door and pull the plunger so they could not get in.  No joking around , all true.
So then I became this big time fisherman, who all others loved to watch me work,  my magic upon their large fish.   They failed to admit they were too lazy to do it themselves and hated blood.  However if another did it and washed it off well, that was fine.  Those types are now Obama voters. LOL
Oh, I got my fair share of Rods, Reels, Lures, all kinds of trolling antique items,  but knives I got some of the best ones. Prices are never any requirement for a great knife.  Swiss Army maker manufacturer a great knife, Cutco, is fantastic.. Their Fisherman Solution is one of the best on the market. Great feel, nothing cuts better, they can be honed razor sharp, keep a good edge , easy to clean and are adjustable bladed.  Nothing bad. Do not hone them with their built in sharpening stone. Just to freshen them up is ok.
Cheaper great knife: Queen, Sharp, Rada,  many other German or Japanese are all good, hold nice edges.
Re: Rapala, Piece of crap best to be handled by the boy scout crews.  Cheaply made, holds no edge, just a terrible knife. Their higher end stuff is ok, but not the wooden handled round metal bolsters.
Middle of the road great knives: All Brownings especially the 909 Featherweight, which I rate in my top ten, actually 3rd in overall knives.  They are getting harder to find , were going for about $40, but now going in the $70's on Ebay, NIB would cost you well over $100 most of the time. They have sort of a rubber type handle, with that wooden insert looking thing.  
Lakota Fish Hawk is a good little knife, same as some of the earlier Condor's.  I buy a lot of the middle end off of Ebay and they are great knives.
High end great knife: Microtech Black Marlin, best knife I ever used but will cost between $300-400 range, Jimmy Lile made a great knife in his day not the guys who took it over after his death. One of his would cost about $350-700 depending on condition.  A.C. Warren made a great knife, two different sizes, with micarta handles, which do great on larger fish.  A Canadian named Steven Telford, makes a great overall knife, but I do not like wooden sheaths , which is the only choice I think you have on his knives. His prices are crazy. I see them sometimes for $40 up to $500.  I think a fair price for his is between $85/$160 range depending on its size. 
As I said I have over 300 mostly higher end stuff.  As a result of that collection, I have picked up some great Fighters.  Sometimes people describe their fighter as a fillet. Unless I feel their weight , sometimes you cannot tell from the picture.  I however, just like everyone on this site have that eye for well made stuff.  I pick some of them up cheap, since they are not marked, mostly commissioned and go cheap sometimes.  I love it when I hit a home run.    Besides all of what I mentioned, For the higher end stuff I have little competition on their purchase.  Most guys on Ebay drop when the price goes over $200 unless of course its a well know maker.
Nice talking to you buddy and hope we can keep exchanging thoughts and ideas.
Warm regards,
Peter Creager
PS I have a very hard time navigating through this site. I will eventually get use to it, but this is a hard site to find anything. I could not even find how to reply to your email. lol  

Here is a close up of the tang makers mark. Its kinda nice one for a very nice knife.

Peter said: PS I have a very hard time navigating through this site. I will eventually get use to it, but this is a hard site to find anything. I could not even find how to reply to your email. lol 

Peter, you are correct that there is a learning curve to using the site but it is worth it.  There is a wealth of information buried in the site.

Strangely, I've not gone far from the Rapala fillet knives as they have served me well.   Problem is, I'm mostly a catch and release angler so I don't do a lot of filleting and when I do fillet, I'm mostly filleting pan fish such as perch, bluegill and the occasional rainbow trout.  I think this is why a four or six inch Rapala, that, admittedly will dull pretty quickly, is "good enough."  

My other fillet knives are a made by Buck, Ontario, and Chicago Cutlery.  The Chicago Cutlery, has has been a real good user but edge retention is less than desirable..  I've not used the Ontario on fish yet.

(Below,  Chicago Cutlery, 66S, Rapala 4 inch Fillet, and the Old Hickory #417.  -- All have their champions as well as their critics.)

Peter said:  As I said I have over 300 mostly higher end stuff.  As a result of that collection, I have picked up some great Fighters.  Sometimes people describe their fighter as a fillet. Unless I feel their weight , sometimes you cannot tell from the picture.

Peter, I'm confused by what you mean by fighter compared to a  fillet.  Do you mean knives used for fighting as in personal defense?   A fillet knife would make a lousy personal defense or fighting knife.

Answering first last if you do not mind.  Re: the fillet vs the fighter.  Both have distinct similarities to each other sometimes. Fighters are across the board in terms of designs, but one portion of their designs is very much similar to fillet styles. Example being that very one I put up called the Lucky Star. It is more a fighter then fillet, but also could be used as a fillet. Well that statement is weird but true. Most of the time, I can tell as soon as I pick it up. A fighter style fillet is much much heavier then a true fillet. Much more heavy duty blade, so it becomes easy to say ooops , that's a fighter. However and on Ebay it is impossible to get the seller to weigh a knife so I end up with out of like 30 purchases, one is a fighter. Hence about 10 knives I own now are fighters not fillets.  All of those knives were made by a custom maker or some one doing a private commission knife.  The ebay sellers have no idea what they have, so if it looks like a fillet , its a fillet. lol I love both since the fighters I have look like my fillet knives.  I will put one picture on here of a knife that when you look at it looks very much like a fillet, but once you pick it up , its ten times the weight of any fillet.  I will send another response to your other email.  Regards, Peter



Tobias Gibson said:

Peter said: PS I have a very hard time navigating through this site. I will eventually get use to it, but this is a hard site to find anything. I could not even find how to reply to your email. lol 

Peter, you are correct that there is a learning curve to using the site but it is worth it.  There is a wealth of information buried in the site.

Strangely, I've not gone far from the Rapala fillet knives as they have served me well.   Problem is, I'm mostly a catch and release angler so I don't do a lot of filleting and when I do fillet, I'm mostly filleting pan fish such as perch, bluegill and the occasional rainbow trout.  I think this is why a four or six inch Rapala, that, admittedly will dull pretty quickly, is "good enough."  

My other fillet knives are a made by Buck, Ontario, and Chicago Cutlery.  The Chicago Cutlery, has has been a real good user but edge retention is less than desirable..  I've not used the Ontario on fish yet.

(Below,  Chicago Cutlery, 66S, Rapala 4 inch Fillet, and the Old Hickory #417.  -- All have their champions as well as their critics.)

Hi Peter,  It would appear that the knives you refer to as fighters are knives with long heavy blades lacking any flex.  The one pictured reminds me of a large carving knife.

Peter Creager said:


Answering first last if you do not mind.  Re: the fillet vs the fighter.  Both have distinct similarities to each other sometimes. Fighters are across the board in terms of designs, but one portion of their designs is very much similar to fillet styles. Example being that very one I put up called the Lucky Star.

Old Hickory good knife, Chicago Cutlery, has most of the butcher shops sowed up , they make a decent knife, nothing to write home to mom about, heavy in carbon, needs constant honing.  Dexter is much better and for the same results.  Dexter might of taken the lead in the meat cutting profession.  They make a great blade.  I am more into a really nicely made, quality steel, outstanding craftsmanship, instead of pure performance.  I want knives to last forever, not to be used , abused, thrown away.

I love high quality, great craftsmanship, fantastic materials, as the reasons I buy a knife. If it fillets great then all the better.

Regards,

Peter 

I should mention that while I have about a half dozen fixed blade fillet knives, all users, I've started collecting folding fillet knives.  This started after recently picking up a Chicago Cutlery "Traveler".    I  also have a couple older fillet knives from well known companies that are mint and will probably remain that way.   I'll need to get some pictures of them.

Here is the P-25 Traveler.  With case in near mint condition.  (The last photo is the Traveler as compared to Chicago Cutlery's  6 inch boning knife, 7 inch fillet, and 4 inch steak knife.  The steak knife is an excellent utility knife for the tackle box!

I will place some pictures of my middle of the road stuff with a couple exceptions. I have a Alex J Collins , which is a real treasure, a couple A. C. Warrens, which I will die holding. Many I now own are from world renounced knife artisans, who , and if they are in my collect , they are either over the top made or they are very good fillet knives. I do own quite a bit of bird and trout types, even some fighters or hunting. With few exceptions I would be willing to part with many but that being said, I would need my eye on a great fillet to let any of the others go. These are just a few examples of my favorites, not real costly ones but favorites.  

Tobias Gibson said:

I should mention that while I have about a half dozen fixed blade fillet knives, all users, I've started collecting folding fillet knives.  This started after recently picking up a Chicago Cutlery "Traveler".    I  also have a couple older fillet knives from well known companies that are mint and will probably remain that way.   I'll need to get some pictures of them.

Here is the P-25 Traveler.  With case in near mint condition.  (The last photo is the Traveler as compared to Chicago Cutlery's  6 inch boning knife, 7 inch fillet, and 4 inch steak knife.  The steak knife is an excellent utility knife for the tackle box!

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