Click here for
Y-Bones from Northern Pike
More Fishing Articles
Keeper of the Keys
Loons on the Lake
An Open Letter
In a Hurry?
Finest of Times
Many years ago, I worked in the restaurant
business. And while I ultimately discovered that the passion I
had for cooking would not be one that would lead to a
permanent future in that particular industry, one thing, quickly
became perfectly clear: a good knife -- or set of knives -- was
absolutely essential to doing my job well. It also reminded me
of something that my father had always told me. He always
reminded me that there was always "the right tool for the right
job." A wrong or inappropriate tool always led to a poor
result at best... and an unfortunate accident at worst.
When I discovered that my love of fishing had
almost matched my passion for food and cooking, I had also already
found that my skill at filleting a fish (walleye at first...) had
finally begun to approach that of a man I have always referred to as
"30-Second Ray". My
teacher/mentor in the restaurant business had demonstrated the same
prowess with a leg of veal as 30-Second Ray did with a walleye. I realized that
in order to get to the necessary level of proficiency when cleaning
fish, I needed the proper tools. A really good knife -- the
best I could find -- was the answer.
Over the years, I have tried numerous brands of
filleting knives (Normark, Rapala, Chicago Cutlery, just to name a few.)
and found them all to be useful; I certainly would not "dis" any of
them, as they all have a place and purpose in my collection. My
passion for cooking however, has led me to purchase a single brand of
knife for a plethora of purposes: Henckels. I have an
8" and two
9" chef knives, a
5.5" boning knife, a
7" fillet knife and a 4" paring
knife. I also have a 12-Inch Honing Steel; my first 9" chef knife
and the steel were purchased in 1975 -- making them 36 years old as of
this writing. They are still like brand new... My point is
this: a good knife is a good investment and, treated well, will last a
As I mentioned, I have tried numerous
brands of knives and found them to work well in various applications.
In fact, I still have -- in addition to my 7" Henckels fillet knife --
three others that I continue to use. I keep a Rapala 6" fillet
knife in my kitchen drawer specifically for removing the skin from the
fillets that I have brought home from fishing trip, or even to
skin from fillets that I have purchased from the local market. I
also keep a Normark Presentation fillet knife in my boat at all times --
along with a no-name back-up -- that I use for shore lunches, cutting
sandwiches or for other chores in the boat.
But my Henckels fillet knife is "top dog"
when it comes to filleting fish; kept in a special place, it is only
brought into the cabin when I go on a week or longer fishing trip.
And never far away is my
steel. A few passes on the steel, both
before and after cleaning fish, ensures that the edge will
always remain razor sharp. And that's important when it comes to
slicing through the bones on a limit of walleye! Whether you
prefer the shorter, 5 1/2 " version or the 7" like I have, I wouldn't
trade my Henckels fillet knife for any other... for any price.
I'll be the first to say that a Henckels
knife is definitely not an inexpensive knife to own.
But there are several reasons that I will pay the asking price.
The first is that Henckels has over 100 years of experience in making
knives -- they know what they are doing. Second is that the
quality of the steel (from Solingen, Germany) used is exceptional,
resulting in a finely ground and polished, high-grade,
corrosion-resistant knife. Third is that Henckels knives have a
full tang (The tang of the knife is that part of the blade extending
into and through the grip that is fastened to it). A full tang
generally means that the grip conforms to the shape and follows the
outline of the tang. Lastly -- and very importantly -- Henckels
steel retains its sharpness and edge better than any other knife I have
ever used. Expensive? Yes! Worth it? Absolutely!!
If someone stole my other fillet knives
or if I dropped them over the side of my boat, of course I'd be upset.
If I lost my Henckels fillet knife, I'd cry for a week... and then
quickly go buy another. If you are serious about cleaning your
catch, get a seriously good knife!
Hope to see you On the Lake!
8-in. Twin Four Star Chef's Knife
Henckels 2-pc. Twin Four Star Fillet Set
Henckels 10-in. Sharpening Steel