The Art of Filleting Fish: Using the Best Knife

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Video best saltwater fillet knife

Culinary artists respect their ingredients, including preparing and filleting fish with care. Fish is a delicate protein to handle and therefore proper preparation is key. This not only ensures that we are able to enjoy the fish safely and without risk of illness, but also helps to maintain their quality and freshness.

One of the most important aspects of preparing world-class seafood is making sure you are using the best tool for the job. Fillet knives need to be reliable, high-performance tools that can stand up to the rigors of regular commercial use. With this in mind, we’ll introduce you to a simple tool both freshwater and saltwater anglers swear by: the Dextreme series of outdoor fillet knives.

Dual edge Dextreme fillet knives fillet a fish on a boat.
Use the upper scalloped edge of a Dextreme fillet knife to penetrate scales and tougher surfaces without dulling the fillet blade

Leveraging the Multi-Purpose Functionality of Fillet Knives

Fillet knives are a crucial tool for cleaning and preparing fish. Here are some of the capabilities a high-quality fillet knife brings to the table.

  • The primary use of a fillet knife is to produce a clean, boneless piece of meat. High-quality fillet knives make precise cuts along the spine, ribs, and skin of the fish.
  • Scaling involves scraping off fish scales, which can be done with the back edge of a fillet knife.
  • A fillet knife is handy for gently trimming any remaining bones or skin.
  • Fillet knives are also used to make a cut along the belly of the fish to remove the internal organs.
  • Once the fish is filleted, anglers may use their sharpest fillet knife to slice the fish into smaller pieces or to cut the fish into steaks.

Next, we’ll explain why the best commercial fillet knives are durable, flexible, and ergonomic. We’ll also talk about why Dexter Russell’s Dextreme fillet knives are an excellent choice for both freshwater and saltwater fishing enthusiasts.

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Dextreme by Dexter Outdoors.
Dextreme knives feature a comfortable, soft, non-slip handle that accommodates any hand and finger position for greater control and precision.

Hooked on Perfection: The Art & Science of Commercial Fillet Knives

For those unfamiliar, the Dextreme series offers Dual Edge Flexible Fillet Knives with sizes ranging from six to eight inches. They additionally offer a Dual Edge Stiff Fillet Knives that ranges from eight to ten inches.

Dextreme Dual Edge 8" Flexible Fillet Knife DX8F with sheath included.
Dextreme Dual Edge 8″ Flexible Fillet Knife DX8F with sheath included.

These fillet knives are problem solvers because they are dual-action tools, thereby lessening the number of knives to manage out on a boat or in the back of house. Their scalloped edge penetrates scales and tough surfaces without dulling the blade. Inversely, the lower edge is ideal for precision work and trimming. Both the flexible and stiff version comes with a sheath and are made in the USA.

Dextreme Dual Edge 8" Stiff Fillet Knife DX8S with sheath included.
Dextreme Dual Edge 8″ Stiff Fillet Knife DX8S with sheath included.

Durability Is an Essential Quality for Fillet Knives

To emphasize, saltwater fish preparation requires knives that are durable and able to withstand the wear and tear of daily use. Professional knives must be able to hold up to repeated use without becoming damaged or losing their edge.

Dextreme knives are made from Dex Steel, a proprietary high-carbon, high-alloy American stainless steel that ensures a sharp, long-lasting edge even when used in saltwater environments. This means that these fillet knives will last longer, will require less sharpening, and can resist corrosion, a trait not common in competitive alternatives.

Flexibility in Fillet Knives

Chefs need knives specifically designed processing fish. Prepping fish generally involves a variety of tasks, including filleting, skinning, and trimming. If on a boat, or dock, having a singular knife that does it all is much preferred to carrying their entire collection.

In addition to making short work of a variety of tasks, Dextreme knives are designed with a flexible blade that makes it easy to fillet a variety of fish, from delicate trout to larger saltwater species like tuna and marlin. Incorporating the right amount of flexibility in a fillet knife ensures that the blade glides over bones and enables easy separation while removing the skin.

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Flip the handle of a Dextreme fillet knife and use the lower edge for precision work.
Flip the handle of a Dextreme fillet knife and use the lower edge for precision work.

Ergonomics for Fillet Knives

Lastly, commercial fishermen need knives that are comfortable and safe to use for extended periods of time. Fish processing is a physically demanding job, and people need knives that provide a secure and comfortable grip, even when working with water. Knives that are poorly designed or uncomfortable to use can lead to accidents and injuries, which can be costly and dangerous in a commercial environment.

Dextreme fillet knives have ergonomic handles that provide a secure and comfortable grip, even when the knife is wet or slippery. Their soft, non-slip handles accommodate any hand and finger position for greater control.

Flip the handle of a Dextreme fillet knife and use the lower edge for precision work.
Their high-carbon, high-alloy stainless steel construction ensures a sharp, long-lasting edge.

All the Knife You Need

If you are a seafood enthusiast looking for a reliable, high-performance knife that will stand up to the rigors of regular commercial use, Dextreme fillet knifes are an excellent choice. With their superior corrosion resistance, excellent performance, ergonomic handling, and trusted reputation, using a Dextreme fillet knife is a great way to respect the catch.

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American-made since 1818, Dexter knives have a reputation for reliability and performance. Dexter is driven by the understanding that its customers rely on Dexter knives, all day, every day. Dexter Outdoors honors that commitment.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>